East Side Story (Squeeze album)

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East Side Story
East side story album.jpg
Studio album by
Released15 May 1981
StudioEden Studios, Chiswick, London
GenreNew wave
ProducerRoger Bechirian
Elvis Costello
Squeeze chronology
East Side Story
Sweets from a Stranger
Singles from East Side Story
  1. "Is That Love"
    Released: 1 May 1981
  2. "Tempted"
    Released: 10 July 1981
  3. "Labelled with Love"
    Released: 25 September 1981
  4. "Messed Around"
    Released: 1981 (US only)

East Side Story is the fourth studio album by new wave group Squeeze. The album peaked at number 19 in the UK Albums Chart, spending 26 weeks in the listing.[1]

The album was a definite break with Squeeze's "New Wave" sound, as it contained songs influenced by rockabilly, R&B, blue-eyed soul, Merseybeat, and psychedelia among other genres. It also contained Squeeze's last top 10 UK single, "Labelled with Love".[1] It was the first album to feature new keyboardist Paul Carrack, replacing Jools Holland who had departed in early 1981. He sang lead on the track "Tempted", which became Squeeze's first U.S. chart hit. Shortly after the release of this album, Carrack left the band for a solo career, but he returned to Squeeze for a time in the early 1990s, playing and singing on the Some Fantastic Place album.

In the UK, East Side Story was reissued on CD in 1997 with two album outtakes, as part of the band's Six of One... box set. The set included the band's first six studio albums, all digitally remastered. A year later, each separate CD (including the expanded East Side Story) was made available for individual purchase. In 2007, the album was digitally remastered and released in Japan. It contained two extra bonus tracks, both taken from B-sides from the album's singles; Trust, and Yap, Yap, Yap.


The initial concept for the album, proposed by manager Jake Riviera, was for Squeeze to record a double album with one side produced by Elvis Costello, another by Dave Edmunds, a third by Nick Lowe and the fourth by Paul McCartney.[2] Although all producers were willing, the logistical difficulty of assembling the four producers ultimately made the plan impossible. In the end, the album was narrowed down to a single disc and was largely produced by Costello and Roger Bechirian, though Dave Edmunds produced the opening track, "In Quintessence".[2]

In the studio, Costello, in the line of his longtime producer Nick Lowe, served more as a creative advisor while Bechirian handled the technical aspect of production. Bechirian explained, "Elvis sat there and pontificated a lot about this, that, and the other and I got on with getting the stuff down and rallying the band. I mean, Elvis did have an influence to some extent, but it wasn't that great".[2] Chris Difford spoke glowingly of Costello's influence, saying, "I was in complete awe of working with him. It was a great challenge to come in every day with a lyric that would be better than the one he might come up with. ... I could tell which were the weak ones just by looking at his face".[3]

The album was halfway completed when John Lennon was assassinated on 8 December 1980.[4] The band were in the studio at the time; Difford recalled, "We went into the studio and a dozen or so musicians just dropped in. We cracked some beers and just played John Lennon songs the whole day. It was highly emotional".[4]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[8]
The Village VoiceB+[9]

In 1989, the Toronto Star music critics took to look over the albums they had reviewed in the past four years to include in a list based on "commercial impact to social import, to strictly musical merit."[10] East Side Story was placed at number 2 on the list, only being beaten by Thriller by Michael Jackson.[10] The Toronto Star went on to note that "songwriters Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook hit their creative peak in 1981, grafting Motown rhythms, country melodies and close harmonies onto a nervy New Wave soundtrack. At once ironic and sentimental, East Side Story is a masterpiece of kitchen-sink drama, from the shattered war bride in "Labelled With Love" to the harried housewife of "Woman's World"."[10] The New York Times praised the album as an "exceptionally satisfying pop record".[11]

Bechirian later said of the album, "I think the sound they got was amazing on that record. I'm really, really pleased with it. I think it's one of the best works that I've been involved with".[4] Difford named the LP one of the two great albums that Squeeze ever made.[4]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook except where noted.

Side A

  1. "In Quintessence" – 2:55 (Produced by Dave Edmunds, assisted by Neil King)
  2. "Someone Else's Heart" – 3:00
  3. "Tempted" – 4:02
  4. "Piccadilly" – 3:26
  5. "There's No Tomorrow" – 3:27
  6. "Heaven" – 3:49
  7. "Woman's World" – 3:42

Side B

  1. "Is That Love" – 2:31
  2. "F-Hole" – 4:41
  3. "Labelled With Love" – 4:44
  4. "Someone Else's Bell" – 3:08
  5. "Mumbo Jumbo" – 3:13
  6. "Vanity Fair" – 3:09
  7. "Messed Around" – 2:42

Bonus tracks (1997 reissue)[edit]

  1. "The Axe Has Now Fallen" – 3:51
  2. "Lookin' for a Love" (James Alexander, Zelda Samuels) – 3:00 (Produced by Nick Lowe)

Bonus tracks (2007 Japanese Remaster)[edit]

  1. "Trust" - 1:46
  2. "Yap Yap Yap" - 4:14



Additional personnel[edit]


Weekly charts[edit]

Year Chart Peak
1981 Billboard Pop Albums (US) 44
1981 Official Albums Chart (UK) 19


Year Single Chart Peak
1981 "In Quintessence" Billboard Mainstream Rock 39
1981 "Tempted" Billboard Mainstream Rock 8



  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 522/3. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ a b c Thomson 2006, p. 165.
  3. ^ Thomson 2006, pp. 165-166.
  4. ^ a b c d Thomson 2006, p. 166.
  5. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "East Side Story – Squeeze". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  7. ^ Fricke, David (17 September 1981). "Squeeze: East Side Story". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  8. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "Squeeze". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 773–74. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert (29 June 1981). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  10. ^ a b c MacInnis, Craig (5 August 1989). "The Top 100 Albums of the '80s". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont.: Torstar Syndication Services, a Division of Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. p. G1. ISSN 0319-0781.
  11. ^ Palmer, Robert. "Difford and Tilbrook - Top Songwriters". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 November 2019.


  • Thomson, Graeme (2006). Complicated Shadows: The Life and Music of Elvis Costello. Canongate U.S. ISBN 978-1841957968.

Other sources[edit]

  • A&M Records AMLH64854 (UK)
  • A&M Records SP 4854 (US)
  • A&M Records CD 3253 (US)
  • East Side Story at Discogs.com