In modern pop songwriting, one of the most illustrious and popular teams was that of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook of the London band Squeeze. They cut 13 albums and penned scores, probably hundreds, of pop gems, some that will stand for decades to come, like the catalog of the Kinks, the Beatles, and the Beach Boys. "Tempted," "Black Coffee In Bed," "Another Nail For My Heart," "Hourglass," "Bang Bang," just listing the first five that come to mind brings a smile to a fan's face...
Popsters Tilbrook and Difford survived the onslaught of punk (in fact, were stylistically encamped on its perimeter and well-positioned for the "New Wave" movement to follow), the inevitable comparisons to Lennon & McCartney that have been lethal to others, and their own growing pains and differences over a 25 year cowriting relationship.
Glenn Tilbrook has been on his own for some years, and has made the leap to becoming both lyricist and melodist for his burgeoning solo career. He's also sought out other great lyricists like Aimee Mann and Ron Sexsmith. His first solo release, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook, is loaded with pretty Squeeze-y tunes as well as numbers that bear the imprint of both his newfound collaborators and the freedom that being solo brings. A week ago I caught his act at an R&B club in Nashville called 3rd & Lindsley, and he floored everybody in attendance.
Think about it: when was the last time you saw anybody playing pop music solo, convincingly, especially on acoustic guitar? But Tilbrook played mightily and sung flawlessly, and was truly funny between and during the songs. The cat was working it every nano-second, a real entertainment tutorial for the many songwriters present. Even more impressive was the glimmering body of work that the man has amassed in his career, an infectious and inspiring catalog of tune after great tune that was so clever, so musical, so much fun to listen to. He is RV-touring this and other countries relentlessly, and will be appearing somewhere near you very soon. Don't miss it!
to chase his ass around for days to get this interview. (And thanks to
Karyn Soroka for all her help!) His cell phone kept cutting out the first
day, out of range the next. The day after that he was pulling into Nashville,
but was searching for a sports bar that might be willing to televise his
beloved Charlton team. (English football in Nashville on Sunday? Surely
you jest...) But we met at the show, the following day finished up, and
here you have it. He is the quintessential nice guy, inspired and motivated,
and one of my new heroes.