CHRIS DIFFORD –
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. 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 tour their ‘At Odds Couple Tour’ both in the UK and the US.
Chris and Glenn wrote a new Squeeze album based on the life of Danny Baker, it was the soundtrack for a BBC2 production called ‘Cradle To Grave’ staring Peter Kay. All original music, it became the first Squeeze record in 15 years.
Over the course of a 13 album career with Squeeze, when it comes to smart, pithy lyricism Chris Difford has few peers. His ‘kitchen sink-drama’ style has drawn plaudits from fans on both sides of the Atlantic, while his influence is keenly felt today. 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.
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, Jools Holland, Paul Carrack, Lisa Stansfield and Bryan Ferry. Chris has also found time 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. Lily Allen dubbed them the Robert De Niro of music when they received the Knordoff-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, showing 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.
For 25 years Chris has hosted songwriter workshops. 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 leading a Guardian Master Class held in London. A new album with writer Boo Hewerdine is due out in August 2016, ‘Fancy Pants’ is a collection of songs released on Pledge Music to promote a Radio Play of the same name.
Squeeze remains his main focus with a 2016 summer of festival and a US tour planned for October 2016 with another new Squeeze album for 2017 and a tour in the Autumn of 2017.