At the heart of the Brit pop group Squeeze was the songwriting duo of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook. Together, they formed a partnership in 1974 having connected through an ad. Soon enough, they had lured Jools Holland and Paul Gunn into the Squeeze fold.
After a couple of years of gigging, bassist Harry Kakoulli signed on, drummer Gilson Lavis replaced Gunn, and the band landed a deal with Miles Copeland's company. Their debut single, 1977's "Take Me I'm Yours," anchored their Packet of Three EP which got them a record deal with A&M in the wake of Copeland's label folding.
Producer John Cale, who helmed the EP, stayed on board for the full album, '78's Squeeze, led by "Take Me I'm Yours." The album's successor, 1979's Cool for Cats, yielded two hit singles in “Up the Junction” and the title track. After booting Kakoulli in favor of John Bentley, the group followed that up with another EP later that year -- 6 Squeeze Songs Crammed into One Ten-Inch Record.
With 1980's Argybargy, Squeeze pushed out another string of moderate hits with "Another Nail In My Heart," "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)," and "If I Didn't Love You." College radio embraced the band just as Holland took his leave with Paul Carrack taking over keyboards.
Trying to live up to the hype of Difford and Tilbrook as the new Lennon and McCartney, Squeeze issued a concept piece with East Side Story in 1981. Solid reviews and two decent hits (“Tempted” and "Labeled with Love") resulted. Still, it wasn't enough to keep Carrack around. He left and Don Snow came.
By this point, five years of consistent work began to take a toll and Sweets from a Stranger was all the worse for it. The only single that did any business was "Black Coffee in Bed" which topped out at number 51. When all was said and done, Difford and Tilbrook called it a day, dropping the platinum-selling Singles 45's and Under as the Squeeze swan song.
With Squeeze by the wayside, Difford and Tilbrook continued as collaborators, churning out tunes for other artists and a musical (Labelled with Love). After a duo album in 1984, Squeeze got together for a benefit performance which led to a full-fledged reunion of Difford, Tilbrook, Holland, and Lavis with Keith Wilkinson joining on bass.
Late 1985 saw the release of Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti with Babylon and On dropping two years later. Surprisingly, the "Hourglass" single got a boost from MTV and climbed up to number 15 on the singles chart – their highest U.S. placement to date. "853-5937" also made the Top 40.
Squeeze's next outing, Frank, flopped in late '89 and they were dropped by A&M. Some roster fall-out – and the live A Round & a Bout – ensued. The, in 1991, a new deal with Reprise Records came and Play was released. As Reprise didn't seem that into them, Squeeze went back to A&M for 1993's Some Fantastic Place and 1995's Ridiculous.
The following year saw two compilations – Piccadilly Collection in the U.S. and Excess Moderation in the UK – with a box set, Six of One..., also dropping in the UK. Yet another label change landed Squeeze at Quixotic Records for Domino in 1998. They toured with a whole new line-up then went on another hiatus.
Difford and Tilbrook went about their own business, trying to keep the Squeeze legacy alive in projects like Jim Drury's book, Squeeze: Song by Song and a couple of reissues. Then, a new line-up went on the road, releasing Five Live: On Tour in America as a document of the tour. It worked well enough to keep Squeeze touring consistently.
In 2010, while Difford and Tilbrook worked on new material, Squeeze re-worked their hits on Spot the Difference.