[20] Squeeze, ‘Cool For Cats’

Ah, 1979. I started paying attention to Top Of The Pops, Arsenal, all life’s sweetest joys. Moved to Hertfordshire in January and stayed there for 17 years (minus a dozen terms in Bristol). Pop baffled me, but that may have been down to assuming that everything Terry Wogan played was current. In that world, the Supremes were going strong and Cliff Richard was still a chart-topper. Hmmm.

Marrying new wave and pub rock, Squeeze had a boisterous appeal that worked well in the playground; to seven-year-olds a band to file alongside The Specials, The Jam and the rising Madness – stuff it was ok to like and bowl along to as if you were something else, something a stretch more streetwise than a kid with a fringe and grey shorts. If it was cool for cats, we wanted a bit of it. In essence, the single isn’t typical Squeeze, more a part within a part for Chris Difford to play, but he sounds smart and the band bounce in broad-shouldered style. The drifting middle eight’s useless though.

For all I know, Junior’s already at the age when she wants to impress her peers, and she’s got all the moves to do so. A jerky dance matched the sproinging bass and she gave an airing to this week’s trick – humming along to the tune. At the end she asked whether Junior 2 (Juniest? Minima?) liked the song now there’s scope for a blog within a blog – and then requested the next track on the Best Of. Give it a week or so, missy.

[9] Diana Ross & The Supremes, ‘Someday We’ll Be Together’

Heart-stopping, heart-rending and band-rending, the final single from Diana Ross & The Supremes doesn’t even feature The Supremes. Motown boss Berry Gordy had it pegged as Ross’s first solo single, first nabbing it from under the noses of Junior Walker & The All-Stars, then using the track that original writer Johnny Bristol had patched together with a couple of session singers to underpin Ross’s seductive vocal. Who was going to argue?

It’s a sensitive, swinging arrangement that has Junior swaying. Our girl has a distinct sense of rhythm, and is starting to respond to records in conspicuously different ways. Her hips click into the rising, plucked guitar signature and she glides with the embracing strings.

‘Someday…’ has no conventional chorus, only a release as Ross bursts to tell what she believes. It can be taken as a promise that the band will reunite one day, but she sure as hell had no intention of that. The Queen of Motown didn’t want any baggage weighing her down.