South London legends SQUEEZE will perform in Dorset on Monday (16) ahead of their new album being released. GLENN TILBROOK and CHRIS DIFFORD tell THE GUIDE about their career so far and why they think their new record is the best yet.

AS a member of Squeeze, Glenn Tilbrook soared to the top of the charts in the ‘70s powered by his songwriting partnership with Chris Difford. They were so successful that they were even compared to Lennon and McCartney.

But by 1997, Squeeze were out of the charts and their career, like the title of one of their best-loved hits, was well and truly Up The Junction.

Now they’re back on the road and their first single, Innocence In Paradise, from their new album, The Knowledge, is released today.

Talking ahead of the tour which includes a date at Bournemouth Pavilion on Monday, October 16, Glenn explains why he feels it is their best record ever.

“When you are young and you’re writing music, you have a natural vigour for what you do, but now we are more diligent when it comes to the writing and recording now than we ever were. It was all recorded live but it just sounds so polished.”

Chris Difford set his whole life into motion without realising it when he stole 50p from his mum's purse to put an advert in a sweet shop window near his home.

The songwriter was looking for a guitarist to form a band and a teenage Glenn Tilbrook was the only one to get back to him.

That was 1973 but 43 years later the pair are still musical collaborators and lifelong friends, who were hailed as the successors to Lennon and McCartney during their peak of popularity in the early 1980s.

Chris said: "Glenn was the only one to answer the ad and Squeeze grew from there. Incredible really.

"It was one of those moments in life. I think everybody in life gets a handful of serendipity – it’s what you do with it.

"Meeting Glenn has paved the way for where I am today."

By 1977 the new wave duo had made their recording debut and enjoyed a string of hits which lasted until 1982. They included Cool For Cats and Up The Junction, which both reached number two in the charts.

The original line-up was completed by drummer Paul Gunn and keyboardist Jools Holland, who famously went on to become a composer, bandleader and TV presenter.

Squeeze's early days saw them on the same music circuit as Dire Straits and Alternative TV when they signed to Miles Copeland III's BTM Records.

The label has had hits with the likes of The Buzzcocks, Fine Young Cannibals and R.E.M.

Over the years Squeeze has gone through line-up changes, solo careers and occasional separations, most noticeably between 1999 and 2007 when Chris and Glenn went their separate ways for eight years.

But something kept bringing the pair back together and in 2015 they released Cradle To The Grave, their first collection of new tracks in 17 years.

Chris, who has also written lyrics for Jools Holland, Elton John, Wet Wet Wet and Marti Pellow, added: "I never thought music lasted beyond the age of 25 so to still be doing this at 63 is amazing.

"It's quite incredible to be in a position where I can look back at it all.

"I never really thought further than the end of my nose so I had no aspirations for it to last as long as this but it has – one day at a time.

"I had no focus in terms of where I was going to be or what I was going to do. I was just on this journey with four other kids and that’s what happens when you join a band.

"But what is unusual is to be in that same band and on that same journey throughout your whole life. Most bands deteriorate. We seem to have clung on. We are Barnacle Bill I think."

In typical Squeeze style, Cradle to the Grave is an nostalgic collection of songs about growing up in London in 60s and 70s.

Some of the songs, including the title track, can be heard on BBC2's sitcom of the same name starring Peter Kay.

It is based on broadcaster Danny Baker’s autobiography, Going to Sea in a Sieve, and Squeeze even make a cameo appearance in the second episode.

Chris, who went to the same school as Danny, said: "We were going to make a new Squeeze record and around that same time we were approached by Danny Baker and Jeff Pope to write the music for a TV show with Peter Kay.

"So it dovetailed together rather neatly without any planning – which is normally what happens with Squeeze.

"It was amazing. It was really great fun and Peter is an amazing cockney. He wouldn’t say it himself but he is."

What may come as more of a surprise though is that the key influence for Squeeze's new song is Stormzy, the English grime and hip hop artist.

Glenn said: “My 14-year-old son Liam sat me down and said you’ve got to listen to Stormzy, you’re going to get it - I know you will.

“I was so blown away with what I heard - the passion and intensity of it and I think we’ve done that on this record. It’s the thing I’m most proud of.”

Squeeze are no stranger to Bournemouth. The band’s first visit was in 1977 when they supported Blondie’s very first show in the UK.

“The last time we played in Bournemouth I went for an extremely beautiful bike ride. I really explored and got to know the place in a way I hadn’t before so it will be nice to reacquaint myself with the place again.”

But although Glenn still enjoys being on the road, he admits he doesn’t like being away from his family for too long. He has two older sons aged 27 and 25, and two younger boys, 14 and 11.

He adds: “It’s been an incredible life though. I started out with nothing, and I’ve ended up with a bit more than that.

"But I’m still enjoying doing the thing I’ve wanted to do ever since I was five years old. Not many people can say that sadly.”

*Squeeze play Bournemouth Pavilion on Monday October 16. Call the box office for tickets.