Chris Difford is a rare breed. As a member of one of London’s best-loved bands, the Squeeze co-founder has made a lasting contribution to English music with hits such as ‘Cool For Cats’, ‘Up The Junction’, ‘Labelled With Love’, ‘Hourglass’ and ‘Tempted’.
Despite the fact that Chris has helped soundtrack so many fans’ lives since his first release in 1977, the passion for innovation and love of playing still drives him to carry on writing rather than sit back and admire his handywork. Chris recently celebrated his 60th birthday and for 41 of those years he has been writing with Glenn Tilbrook, very much the Odd Couple. When Squeeze take a break from the road, Glenn and Chris have been touring their ‘At Odds Couple Tour’.
Chris and Glenn are working on a new Squeeze album based on the life of Danny Baker, which will be the soundtrack for a new BBC2 production airing sometime in Autumn 2015. All original music, it is the first Squeeze record in 15 years. No pressure. ‘From The Cradle To The Grave’ is a very exciting project that will also see Squeeze back out on the road in September 2015.
Over the course of a 13 album career with Squeeze, it was clear from the very beginning that Chris Difford has few peers when it comes to smart, pithy lyricism. His ‘kitchen sink-drama’ style has drawn plaudits from fans on both sides of the Atlantic, while his influence is keenly felt today. The likes of Lily Allen, Mark Ronson, Kasabian, Razorlight and The Feeling have all recognised the debt they owe to Squeeze’s music and to Difford’s way with words, while journalists were moved by his winning combination with Glenn Tilbrook to dub the pair ‘The New Lennon and McCartney’.
Chris first learned to stand on his own when he wrote the lyrics for the fictional band Strange Fruit in the 1998 British comedy film ‘Still Crazy’, for which he won his first Ivor Novello award. Since then he has written and contributed lyrics for the likes of Elton John, Wet Wet Wet, Lisa Stansfield and Bryan Ferry. Chris has somehow found time during all this to release three solo albums to date – 2003’s ‘I Didn’t Get Where I Am’ and ‘The Last Temptation Of Chris’ in 2008. ‘Cashmere If You Can’ was released in 2010.
In 2008, super fan Mark Ronson presented Glenn and Chris with the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, while Lily Allen called them the Robert De Niro of music when they received the Nordoff-Robbins Icon Award. The lineup has been winning fans all over again with gigs and festival appearances at the likes of V, Oxygen, T in The Park and Latitude, reminding us all of the outstanding back catalogue that Squeeze possess.
Chris has curated ‘Songs In The Key Of London’ event at the Barbican, bringing together musicians old and new such as Glenn Tilbrook, Suggs, Jools Holland, Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets) and James Hunter, as well as students from the local community. A second event took place in Greenwich Park in 2011 with Gary Kemp, Chris Wood, UB40 and others. In 2014 ‘Songs In The Key Of London’ took place in Regents park with Gregory Porter, The Strypes, Guy Barker Ed Harcourt and Sophie Ellis Baxter.
Chris also hosts songwriter workshops and has done for over 20 years. In 2014 he formed a partnership with ‘The Buddy Holly Foundation’ to run a week of writing at Glastonbury. In 2016 the event moves to Nashville and Lubbock, Texas. Other writing events include Guardian Master Classes held in London. Chris is currently completing his book, a biography called ‘I Never Thought It Would Happen’ which should be on the bookshelves by the middle of 2016.