Pulling Mussels (from the Shell)
|"Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)"|
|Single by Squeeze|
|from the album Argybargy|
|Genre||Rock, New Wave|
|Writer(s)||Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook|
|Producer(s)||John Wood, Squeeze|
|Squeeze singles chronology|
"Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)" is a New Wave song by the band Squeeze. First released on the 1980 album Argybargy, it received positive critical reviews, peaked at #44 on the UK Singles Chart, and became one of Squeeze's most popular songs. The song is about one of the band members' experiences at a holiday camp.
The song "Pulling Mussels" was written by band members Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook. According to critic Chris Woodstra, it is an "observation of the British working class" and "offers a series of detailed snapshots of the different walks of life on a seaside holiday."
The lyrics are based on Difford's own experiences. Rob Sachs interviewed Difford and wrote that the song "is about a memory he has from his time spent at a British holiday camp, a budget resort type of place that includes basic accommodations, entertainment, and other facilities."
The lines "They do it down on Camber Sands / They do it at Waikiki" refer to a sand dune system in East Sussex, England, and the Honolulu, Hawaii beach, respectively. The phrase "pulling mussels" is British slang for sexual intercourse. The song features piano playing by keyboardist Jools Holland.
"Pulling Mussels" was released as the first track on Squeeze's album Argybargy in February 1980. The 7" single was released in April 1980 with the b-side "What the Butler Saw".
The song has also been included on several of Squeeze's compilation albums, such as Singles – 45's and Under, Greatest Hits, and The Big Squeeze - The Very Best of Squeeze. It was re-recorded for the 2010 album Spot the Difference. A live version was included on A Round and a Bout.
"Pulling Mussels" received positive reviews from music critics. It has been variously described as "a timeless cult classic", "a brilliant slice of pop genius", "a pop classic of the new wave era", and "a piece of pop mastery". In 2007, Anna Borg wrote, "The build up before the chorus always gets me, even 25 years later." Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine described the song as "a vivid portrait of a seaside vacation where Difford's vignettes are made all the more vivid by Tilbrook's bright, invigorating pop." It is regarded as one of Squeeze's catchiest songs.
The single debuted on the UK chart at #52 on 10 May 1980. It stayed on the chart for six weeks, peaking at #44 on 24 May.
Though the song did not chart in the United States, it became a hit on the country's college radio stations and in new wave clubs.
"Pulling Mussels" is a "crowd favorite" at Squeeze concerts. The band performed the song on Saturday Night Live on 20 November 1982. They played the song at concerts during the 1980s and early 1990s. In 2001, it was the finale of a Glenn Tilbrook show in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Squeeze played "Pulling Mussels" last during concerts in 2010.
- "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)"
- "What The Butler Saw"
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