Mention Glenn Tilbrook and most people may immediately think of Squeeze. After all, with his writing partner Chris Difford, Tilbrook was responsible for Top Ten hits all around the world such as “Tempted”, “Hourglass”, “Cool For Cats” and “Up The Junction”. Ever since their first EP in 1977, Squeeze has delighted audiences with their brand of honky-tonk new wave and pithy lyricism, while their stock in the music world has seen the likes of Jools Holland, Paul Carrack and Elvis Costello all contribute to their work.
However, since an acrimonious split in 1998, Squeeze has been on the backburner. Although you might forgive him for resting on his laurels after 13 albums and countless tours all over the world, Tilbrook has continued to write and perform with the same enthusiasm that he brought to Squeeze’s earliest recordings. With his two solo albums, “The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook” and “Transatlantic Ping-Pong”, he proved he’s lost none of the joie-de-vivre that became Squeeze’s trademark. For 2009’s album “Pandemonium Ensues”, he injected some fresh faces by recruiting new band The Fluffers and some prestigious guests in the shape of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis. This has been complemented by a conversational live show that is delightfully shambling in its approach – Tilbrook loves blurring the boundary between crowd and performer by performing requests and even taking his audience for walkabouts to set up impromptu gigs!
Although a Squeeze reunion had always looked unlikely, Tilbrook and Difford’s paths slowly began to cross with more frequency, leading to a series of low-key gigs together in 2007. In 2008, super fan Mark Ronson presented them with the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, while Lily Allen called them the Robert De Niro of music when they received the Nordoff-Robbins Icon Award. With the addition of former Squeeze bassist John Bentley, and Fluffers pair Stephen Large and Simon Hanson, this lineup won fans all over again with gigs and festival appearances at the likes of V, Oxegen, Guilfest, T in The Park and Latitude, reminding us all of the outstanding back catalogue that Squeeze possess.
In 2010, Squeeze took hold of their own catalogue when they re-recorded 14 of their best-loved hits and released them under the name of ‘Spot The Difference’. An extensive and highly acclaimed UK tour followed capping an exhilarating year in which Squeeze performed at a number of festivals including a headline slot as part of the Greenwich Summer Sessions and an appearance at V Festival. The band also took part in the Concerts for Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall. Accompanied by a 30 piece orchestra the band took to the stage with an exclusive set of instruments customised by Damien Hirst. Following the concert, the instruments were auctioned at Christie’s and were the first guitar and drum kit to be sold in Christie’s April auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art. This special sale raised money for Teenage Cancer Trust and Love Hope Strength Foundation, two music focused cancer charities.