VIDEO: Squeeze head to Plymouth for Pop Up Shop tour at Pavilions
LOVE lyrics? You'll want to shut up shop when three song-writing greats roll up.
Squeeze's Pop Up Shop tour is bringing the talents of Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford and co to Plymouth Pavilions on Tuesday.
And there's more to enjoy: the support is from a third top song-and-tunesmith – Paul Heaton of Housemartins/ Beautiful South fame.
Hailed as the Lennon and McCartney song-writing partnership of their era, of course, it was the combination of Tilbrook's skilfully crafted pop music and Difford's eloquent observational kitchen-sink poetry that set these guys apart from much of their new wave peers of the late Seventies/early Eighties.
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Today they are rightly revered as song-writing greats and their ever-growing list of accolades includes a recent Ivor Novello for Outstanding Contribution to British Music plus Mojo Magazine's Icon Award as well as a PRS Music Heritage Plaque, which notes the site of their first gig.
However, theirs was an unusual working relationship which started when Tilbrook replied to an ad in a shop window for a potential lyricist, promising a non-existent tour and record contract:
"Yes it was lies all lies, and it was like that for years to come," jokes Tilbrook, "I was more pop orientated, though I loved Hendrix, Chris was heavily into Lou Reed and Velvet Underground."
Hence their moniker, Squeeze – the title of a Velvet Underground album.
"Before we started working together, both of us had written lyrics and music, but when we joined forces Chris would just come up with lyrics and hand me them a bit of paper and then I would go off and work out a tune.
"We never discussed it, never talked about it and it always worked for us."
It certainly did, the result being some of the most sublime and timeless Brit pop ever produced in the form of Cool for Cats, Up the Junction, Labelled with Love, Another Nail in My Heart and Pulling Mussels from a Shell.
"I'm still very proud of what we did back then," says Tilbrook, "but what I'm most happy about is the fact that although that stuff is very much of its time, it doesn't seem dated even now. Only on the odd occasion when we used the technology of the day, do we get something that sounds a bit old fashioned."
Sadly, of course, the writing partnership did not last and internal reshuffles and squabbles lead to the infamous, acrimonious break-up.
However, in 2007 Squeeze reformed and have been performing gigs and festival dates ever since. The line up, as well as Tilbrook and Difford, currently includes Squeeze veteran John Bentley, plus members of Tilbrook's own band Fluffers, Stephen Large and Simon Hanson.
So what prompted the reconciliation?
"It was around the time that Jim Drury wrote a book on us and interviewed us both," says Difford. "I guess both Chris and I were very honest and it opened up the way for us to start talking again.
"We are very different people and always have been. We would come together only to work and never lived in each other's pockets and that partly defined the chemistry of the band.
"Nowadays it is just as much of a challenge to take things forward."
For tickets call 0845 146 1460 or book online at www.plymouthpavilions.com