Up The Junction (3:10)

Cover of Greatest Hits

From Greatest Hits and 83 other releases

“Up the Junction” was the third single released from Squeeze’s second album, Cool for Cats. Written by band members Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, it remains one of the band’s most popular and well-remembered songs (especially in the UK); it reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart. It is quite notable for not having a chorus.

Speaking with Songfacts about this song in an interview, Glenn Tilbrook explained : “The lyric was a story that had no obvious repeats, and I thought it read perfectly well as it was. I was thinking of something like Positively 4th Street as a template when I wrote the music.”

A blink and you miss it intro, a punched drum fill and you’re in. The desire for economy is taken to extremes: no time wasting chorus and definitely no soloing, even the birth takes only half an hour. The arrangement is simple and breathtakingly subtle: the bridge being the verse’s melody over different backing and the final heartbreaking passage sung over a pared down band with a simple string arrangement.
The focus rests almost entirely on the words. Lyrically it’s probably the most unpretentiously detailed song since She’s Leaving Home, from the opening line “I never thought it would happen…”, through the job with Stanley and the bunch of flowers we hang on every word. Until in the end, as we always knew, there is tragedy.
It seems to have been quietly forgotten, but this very English kitchen sink drama shines as brightly today as any of it’s more celebrated contemporaries and on a par with the greats.
Highlights abound, I suppose we all have our favourites, but the line that gets me? “I’d beg for some forgiveness, but begging’s not my business.”

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