- SQUEEZE No Place Like Home (A&M)
- Week Ending 21st September 1985
- 2 Weeks At #1
Success on the Official UK Top 40 had ceased to be an issue for me by this point, and the #1 entry on my chart for Squeeze’s second single from Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti demonstrated just how far I had veered off into my own little world.
Like most people, I knew the Squeeze of Cool For Cats and Up The Junction, their back-to-back #2 classics from 1979. Not even an 8-year old with only a passing interest in the pop charts could avoid those. I had been less aware of their subsequent releases, minor hits like Another Nail In My Heart, Tempted, Pulling Mussels From A Shell and Is That Love. As for Labelled With Love (their only other foray into the UK Top 5), it was so unlike typical Squeeze that until I belatedly sought out their Singles 45s & Under compilation in 1986, I didn’t realise it was actually by them and not some random Country & Western act.
So, to the summer of 1985. Following a three-year hiatus – which included the main songwriters in the band, Difford & Tilbrook, branching out with a self-titled effort in June 1984 – Squeeze were back with the marvellously-titled Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti. In another example of how my listening habits and musical discoveries were being influenced in new and different ways, the marathon Saturday afternoon slot on Radio 1 (which took in the US Charts) would feature host Richard Skinner (and later Johnnie Walker) featuring a new album at some length, interviewing the artists and playing several songs from said record.
Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti was probably my first purchase to be inspired directly by the programme, and marked the point at which albums really began to be more important to me than singles. The LP’s lead 45, Last Time Forever, had been and gone a couple of months earlier; I must have heard it perhaps once on Radio 1’s Round Table show and not really taken much notice. There had been some excitement in Record Mirror magazine about the band’s return, but again it hadn’t registered with me.
The album’s artwork had piqued my interest, though. I’ve always been very visually-oriented, be it paintings, buildings, traffic signs or record sleeves. I had seen the Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti cover in Our Price and wondered what sort of music must be inside. Thanks to Richard Skinner and co., I would soon find out.
Produced by Laurie Latham, fresh from helming the first two Paul Young albums, his signature sound was all over the album (rather too much so for messrs Difford & Tilbrook’s liking, in retrospect). The upshot of this for me was a familiarity with the fussy, bass-heavy production recognisable from his work with Young, which I happened to find very appealing.
There wasn’t much to differentiate Cosi… tracks such as Big Beng or I Learned How To Pray to Tomb Of Memories or Bite The Hand That Feeds from the latter’s Secret Of Association album. Last Time Forever, heard in the context of the album, was clearly a highlight and I would belatedly enter it on my own chart, whereupon it reached #10. Yet it was No Place Like Home, with its rolling rhythm and chiming synths, which grabbed me the most.
It boasted the most kitchen-sink production on the whole LP, replete with stuttering vocal samples on the final “L-l-l-l-like home” and the sound of household objects being destroyed in the background as the track fades out (as per the song’s theme of a domestic barney). Difford & Tilbrook may not be entirely happy with the Latham imprint on Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti, and they would make a conscious move away from such lush, stylised music from then on, but the material was usually strong enough to withstand the production techniques, and Tilbrook especially was frequently at his best on the album.
I was now a fully signed-up Squeeze fan, and although the next two singles Heartbreaking World and King George Street only peaked at #12 and #13 respectively on my chart, the reality was I’d become infatuated with their earlier work via that Singles 45s & Under retrospective originally released in 1982.