My second favorite 1981 album is East Side Story, the fourth (and best) album by the UK band Squeeze. Produced almost entirely by Elvis Costello, this ia a New Wave classic that weaves in elements of country, rockabilly and psychedelia. Best known for the single ‘Tempted,’ East Side Story is stellar from start to finish.
Through some cosmic coincidence, that debut episode aired exactly 28 years ago today, on Halloween of 1989. I’d love to say I planned it this way, but alas, it was fate.
David Bowie made his Round One appearance and, at least by my vote, bested his first Montauk Madness opponent. Now it’s time for another musical legend who died in 2016 to try his luck, as Prince faces off against the British New Wave band Squeeze.
This is a more difficult decision than it might seem. While I acknowledge Prince’s unique genius and his contribution to rock and R&B music, I don’t own many of his albums. But neither do I own many Squeeze albums.
So many of the albums I write about in these year-by-year series elicit in me the same response: I really need to listen to this one. Such is the case yet again with today’s selection, Squeeze’s third album, Argybargy.
Considering how much I love Squeeze’s 1981 classic East Side Story, along with the greatest hits collection I wore out in college, it’s a mystery why I haven’t listened to any of the dozen or so other albums they’ve released. Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford are one of the great pop songwriting duos, a pair dubbed the next Lennon and McCartney by some of their English countrymen.
Surprisingly, this is only my third Squeeze song since I started the Song of the Day series more than six years ago. I would have expected better representation from a band for which I hold a great deal of affection.
The reason, I’m sure, is that I have only one Squeeze album in my iTunes library — 1981’s excellent East Side Story. I have enjoyed other Squeeze albums over the years, including the underrated Play and a greatest hits collection that my principles prevented me from purchasing, but East Side Story has always provided my Squeeze fix.