The above picture of Squire was taken during their interview with the New Musical Express in September 1979. The building behind is the rear entrance of the‘Black Cat Building’ in Mornington Crescent, Camden Town, London where the band met with journalist Paul Du Noyer to discuss ‘King’s Road’ and the exploding mod scene. Although Squire shared the same street angst and ambition as the other bands that emerged from the Mod Revival, we also mixed the pop sound with a softer side. This was evident when it came to choose the B-side of the follow up song to ‘Walking Down The Kings Road’.
The second I-Spy Records single ‘The Face Of Youth Today’, with its signature handclaps, guitar through Leslie tremolo and Beatlesque final chord, had already been recorded during the previous sessions, and the label had faith that it remained the perfect follow up single and unusually, the next recording session was booked specifically to record a flip side. So rather than auditioning new songs for a potential new A-side, and there were many, we looked for a song to compliment the previously recorded song.
This opened the door to mimic The Beatles mid-60s repertoire where B-sides often showed a contasting or softer character, and were never throwaway efforts. The song ‘I Know A Girl’ fitted perfectly into this role. Already played live and a stage favoutite, it’s simplicity, lyric and close harmony suggested a more reflective mood, and mimicked The Beatles early songs - and it even ended on a Beatlesque 6th chord!
The band recorded and mixed the track at Nova Sound studios near Marble Arch, London in October 1979. The recording studio was actually owned by Tommy Steele, who had been a pioneer of early 60s British ‘rock ‘n’ roll’. The studio was particularly famous in the early 70s for its dryer sound and had previously produced recordings such as Carl Douglas ‘Kung Foo Fighting’ and Cockney Rebel ‘Psychomodo’ album amongst others. The recording session was again attended by Secret Affair’s Ian Page and Dave Cairns, with Simon Humphrey as engineer and mixer.
Dave Cairns paid particular attention in getting the throaty Rickenbacker sound of the opening guitar riff. Anthony was playing his Rickenbacker 330, bought from Steve Brookes’ (the original guitarist in The Jam) shop in Woking, through the Fender Twin amp that he used live, and the amp was set at 10 across all the dials, twice as loud as the on stage volume! So the sound in the room was loud, which bought out a spirited performance on an otherwise acoustic ballad, and evoked Squire’s on stage sound in the room.
The single was released on 30th November 1979 to coincide the Secret Affair / Squire ‘Dancing In The Streets’ UK tour. Almost chosen again for Radio 1 ‘Record Of The Week’, it missed out to ‘Its Different For Girls’ by Joe Jackson, an exceptional song that no one could have beaten! The song would be the last release for I-Spy Records before the band moved on to set up their own label.
The accompanying playlist highlights Squire’s softer side, a pastoral selection of tracks in the style of ‘I Know A Girl’ that connected the band beyond their mod styling to pop, baroque and folk influences. We will be updating and adding new playlists to support the newsletters, so please follow Squire on Spotify, if you don't do so already, so you can listen to everything - and also be automatically informed of new releases as they appear!
All the best from Squire.