Tempted (Squeeze song)

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Squeeze tempted cover.jpg
Artwork for original UK vinyl single
Single by Squeeze
from the album East Side Story
Released10 July 1981 (UK)
Format7" vinyl
GenrePop rock, blue eyed soul, new wave
Length4:04 (album version)
3:53 (US single edit)
4:07 (Tempted '94)
Songwriter(s)Glenn Tilbrook, Chris Difford
Producer(s)Roger Bechirian & Elvis Costello
Squeeze singles chronology
"Is That Love"
"Labelled With Love"

"Tempted" was the second single released from Squeeze's fourth album, East Side Story. Over the years it has become one of Squeeze's best-known songs, despite failing to crack the Top 40 in any country in which it was released (UK No. 41,[1] Canada No. 45, US No. 49, Australia No. 90); Stewart Mason of AllMusic remarked, "Although its increasing ubiquity on '80s hits radio and on television (it was used in a successful clothing commercial in 2003) would suggest otherwise, Squeeze's "Tempted" was not actually a hit single."[2] The song later became ingrained in public consciousness due to its use in commercials by Burger King and Heineken,[3] film soundtracks like that of Reality Bites (which featured a 1994 rerecording), and the video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (on the in-game radio station Emotion 98.3, and subsequently on the real-world CD, vol. 3, of the game soundtrack), and Rock Band. To this day, "Tempted" still gets moderate airplay from classic hits, classic rock and adult alternative-formatted radio stations.

Unlike other Squeeze songs, which are usually sung by guitarist/songwriter Glenn Tilbrook or less often by guitarist/lyricist Chris Difford, the song's lead vocal is sung by keyboardist Paul Carrack, though Tilbrook and producer Elvis Costello also trade a few lines in the second verse (in the video and during live performances Difford sings the Costello parts; since Carrack's departure, Tilbrook has sung the lead vocal as well as his own original lines when live). The song was written by Difford and Tilbrook.


Singer/guitarist Chris Difford wrote the song's lyrics while the band was taking a taxi to Heathrow Airport. The descriptions of the city and airport sights are interspersed with the narrator's ruminations on a relationship that is failing, or has failed, due to his own infidelities.

Tilbrook considers this one of his favourite songs: "It was our first song. It was when we grew up, really, as a band. When we finished it I couldn't quite believe it was us."[3]

"Tempted" has been covered numerous times, including versions by Sting, OK Go, H Factor[4], Richard Thompson, Joe Cocker, Mickey Thomas, The Georgetown Chimes, Rockapella, Rita Coolidge and Jenny Morris. Jools Holland also covered this song on his album Lift The Lid, which was a nod to Jools' history with the band.

In 1993, Squeeze remixed and overdubbed the original recording to create a 'new' version of the song for the soundtrack to the film Reality Bites. This version received some radio airplay and was dubbed "Tempted '94."

In 2010, the song appeared in re-recorded form on Spot the Difference, a retrospective of Squeeze hits performed by the 2010 edition of the band. Though Carrack was no longer a member of Squeeze at this point, he sat in as a guest and sang lead vocals on this re-recorded track.

In 2019, the song has been re-recorded by Erykah Badu.

Track listing[edit]


  1. "Tempted" (4:04)
  2. "Yap Yap Yap" (4:13)

7" (US release)[edit]

  1. "Tempted" (3:53)
  2. "Trust" (1:45)


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 522/3. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ Mason, Stewart. "Tempted" review. AllMusic. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b Tempted by Squeeze. Songfacts. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  4. ^ http://www.irscorner.tk/h/hfac.html