Far as I'm concerned, there's never been a bad Squeeze record. Sure, some are better than others -- that five-record run from the eponymous debut to Sweets From a Stranger is almost unparalleled in modern pop. But Babylon and On did provide The Big Hit ("Hourglass"), while Play has some lovely moments. Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook weren't the Lennon and McCartney (or Davies) of new wave for nothing. No "worst"; just some "less great."
They were, he said fondly, among the first bands I ever saw live -- at the Bronco Bowl on July 9, 1982, a "Hot Klub Presents" show featuring Flock of Seagulls, Joe "King" Carrasco and the Crowns, and The Producers. Matter of fact, that's my framed cardboard keepsake you see here. Saw them again three years later -- same venue, not quite the same line-up, so what. Difford and Tilbrook were there, that's all that mattered. (Jools too?) Three years later they came back again -- same venue, not quite the same line-up, just like broken clockwork.
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This afternoon, completely by accident, I found a rather nicely preserved copy of that show: February 14, 1988, at the Bronco Bowl, for which you'll need this to open. (Heads up: Don't unpack without both parts. When I unpacked, it said it was corrupted or broken or some such; naw, it was plenty perfect.) All the hits and then some, from "Take Me I'm Yours" to "Goodbye Girl" to "Pulling Mussels (From a Shell)" to "Tempted" to "Is That Love?," presently at the top of my personal pops. A perfect summer's night listening. To pilfer from one Nick Lowe, pure pop for now people, even now.