Friday, August 31, 2007

Squeezing Out Sparks!

Today is the birthday of Glenn Tilbrook, born this day in 1957 in South East London.

I fell in love with Glenn's band Squeeze when I saw them open for their A&M labelmates The Tubes in 1979 at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, PA. The band had recently released their second LP Cool for Cats, but the audience was there to see the main act and they were having nothing of this group of new wave Brits. Each song they performed ended with a Rowan and Martin-style smattering of applause. They were dying out there.

Finally, at the end of their set, Glenn announced that this would be their last song which prompted the hardiest cheer of the evening. As the group began the song he tried valiantly to get the crowd clapping, but it was no go. Then, he hit upon a brilliant idea. He said something like "I know you don't like us, so those of you in the audience who don't, stand up and punch your fist like this!" He proceeded to demonstrate, punching his fist above his head into his other hand. Soon, he had the entire audience on their feet following his lead. By the end of the song, he had won over the crowd and the band left the stage to a nice ovation. It remains to this day one of the funniest stage moves I have ever seen.

Besides Glenn's stage antics, it goes without saying that the music was pretty great too. Here's the band performing the wonderful Another Nail For My Heart on Top of the Pops in 1980. Geez, has it been that long?

Happy Birthday Glenn! Cheers Mate!


refinnej said...

God, I love this band :)

dave™© said...

I saw Squeeze in '81 opening for Elvis Costello.

A much different reception!

steve simels said...

This song gets as close to sublime as it gets...on a zillion levels.


Thanks for posting this. It never occured to me the songwriting partnership might have personal issues until now...

TMink said...

Dave, I saw the same tour. Great concert, two of my favorite bands without a doubt.

Dude can write songs and play guitar, they could do weird Brit wave grunge and amazing power pop.


Cleveland Bob said...

Yes, I too saw that tour at the ice hockey rink in Toledo. The lineup was Squeeze (billed as U.K. Squeeze at the time), April Wine as the second act and then the Tubes.

The crowd threw stuff at Jools Holland, he mooned them and they left the stage after about 7 songs. I screamed at everyone that they were idiots and that they didn't even deserve to be in the same room as the Tubes if they didn't "get" Squeeze. Then they threw stuff at me.

They, of course, loved April Wine.

The tubes were great as usual, but I was too bothered by the sheeple around me to really enjoy the show.

Anonymous said...

Cleveland bob,

I totally forgot that April Wine was on the bill!

At that show they did one of the most forced encores I have ever seen!