Welcome to this weeks newsletter! Firstly, welcome to all the new subscribers to the email! We are thrilled that you enjoy keeping up with the latest Squire news and reflections on past history. The last couple of weeks have looked back at the period before the release of My Mind Goes Round In Circles to contextualise the progression of the band from first steps to hopeful recording artists! This latest newsletter considers the influence of soul and R&B on Squire’s musical output.
From 1979 ‘My Girl’ to the 1999 Mods Mayday ‘Motortown Review’ live performance, Squire has always referenced the spirit of 1960s American dance music in their live repertoire. Songs such as B-A-B-Y Baby Love, Make Love To You and I Don’t Get Satisfaction on the Hits From 3000 Years Ago LP, Stop That Girl and You Don’t See Me on Get Smart! and Has Our Love Gone Bad, etc. have always been stage favourites in the Squire catalogue, but how did we originally connect to this style of music?
The early days of Squire found a band performing an amalgam of covers such as ‘My Girl’ and ‘Back In My Arms Again’, contrasting with the bombast of Shel Talmy inspired numbers, such as ‘The Youth Of Today Are Gonna Make It’ and ‘Live Without Her Love’. This review of Squire at Bishops Stortford on May 31 1979, remarks on ‘My Girl as the most successful soul ballad of the evening!
Beyond the metro punk scenes or music represented in Melody Maker, NME or Sounds, soul and disco was still the sound of the 1970s suburban discotheques such as Michaels in Woking or Barbarallas in Guildford, and various local school and youth club dances etc. Set alongside parents or older siblings mid 60s record collections, the genre created an obvious influence on the emerging local bands musical taste.
The original Squire live set was assembled as a mix of original songs and a few covers, chosen especially for the bands upcoming gig supporting The Jam on July 31 1978, at Guildford Civic Hall, in Surrey, a hometown gig for both bands. We were familiar with The Jam’s early repertoire played in the clubs in the Woking area, and it had included a number of soul and Motown covers such as 'In The Midnight Hour', 'Slow Down', and Heatwave which still survived in their set, and songs since dropped from their set such as 'Back In My Arms Again'. Squire chose to play some of these discarded songs, understanding that the support performance would be a perfect opportunity to reference The Jam’s old set and make it a great night!
There is a precedent in 1960s British pop groups covering American songs. The two largest 60s groups, The Beatles covered 'Mr. Postman', 'You Really Got A Hold On Me', and 'Money' (complimented by the many Motown acts that later covered Beatles tunes), and The Rolling Stones with 'Can I Get A Witness' and 'Ain’t Too Proud To Beg', and mid 60s mod bands exemplified by The Action’s version of I’ll Keep On Holding On - live repertoire that also served as a background for social dancing. Squire imagined the same, hoping to create a mod hybrid set of soul and bombast borrowed from 1960s music that communicated an aspirational optimism, contrasting to the still fashionable angry pessimism of punk, which by 1979 was spent as a musical and cultural force. Indeed it was the inherent rhythms of Motown that separated mod from the anarchic noise of punk, inviting the new cohort of teenagers to rediscover the pleasures of dance and carelessness.
At the 1979 Bridge House Mods Mayday concert bands like Secret Affair and Merton Parkas also referenced soul and Motown, both covered Going To A Go Go, and while bands like The Chords, Purple Hearts and Lambrettas underscored the uniqueness of mod in not framing one style of music as they delivered various styles of music from punk pop hybrids to ska pop sounds. It is the dance pop sounds, encompassing Mod, Northern Soul and Two Tone that set the mod revival era apart from the preceding punk style, and still connects everything together under the wide umbrella of mod lifestyle.
Twenty years later Squire able to reprise the early set at the 1999 20th Anniversary of the Mods Mayday, this time adding horns, keyboard piano and organ, and go-go dancers on podiums to create our version of the 1964 Motortown Review style performance!
Here is a direct link to Squire performing My Girl at The Electric Ballroom in 1979 and I Don’t Get Satisfaction at The Forum in 1999!
Subscribe to the channel to get future updates and hear of more special uploads from the Squire vaults!