Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)

“I wrote it in New York. It’s a story about going on holiday with my friend’s parents to Dymchurch and staying in a caravan. It’s the imagery from that and being a young kid. I do remember a band paying in the social club that I think, hope, was the Small Faces.”Chris Difford (407)
“That song was influenced really by The Small Faces. I used to adore the way they would write about English situations. Very British picture postcard situations really. I wanted to write about the experience that a lot of working class English people do of going to the seaside and what a day out for them would be. And then taking it a step further by talking of old people, young people, and family people at the seaside. So you’d have a cross-section in each verse, virtually, of how I saw seaside villages. So you have the old people looking round the shops, and then in the chorus you have the young people who are trying to have sex with strangers behind the chalet on the beach. A lot of working class people in Britain go on holiday in England. That’s as far as they ever go, you know.”Chris Difford (842)

Labelled With Love

“The images came from a Cartier-Bresson photographic book called Paris. I was flicking through it and that inspired that song. I’ve got a lot of photographic books and sometimes they’re very useful for imagery.”Chris Difford (408)

Last Time Forever

“I remember reading about an airline pilot who had murdered his wife and dropped her into a lake with concrete round her neck so she wouldn’t come up. They discovered her 5 years after and the rug she was wrapped in had a tag on it from a dry-cleaners. The detective traced it back to the shop and eventually got to the husband who was still using the dry-cleaners. That’s a great story to put in a song, but I couldn’t elaborate more on it because there just wasn’t room within that song, musically speaking.”Chris Difford (409)


“Was written on the back of a Woodbine box, travelling from Blackheath to Heathrow Airport. It was a list of all the passing images out of the window.”Chris Difford (410)

Some Fantastic Place

“When I advertised for band members in 1973, Glenn was the only guy to respond and his girlfriend at the time, Maxine, had encouraged him to respond. Maxine died of cancer in the early 90s. This song was really written from the heart. She was our best friend and was the lady that brought Glenn and I together. To remember her I sat down and channelled some thoughts about her and put pen to paper and didn’t stop til I’d finished. I know it came the same from him. The really cool thing about that song is the really intricate solo and middle eight. Glenn lifted that from a very early song while Maxine was still alive.”Chris Difford (411)

The Truth

“Chris: Glenn had this great ambition for us to live together in LA and write songs in the canyon. Glenn: What I didn’t realise was that Chris wasn’t in a state to do that. Chris: I was there one night and I said, “I want to be on my own”, so I rented a place 20 miles away so I could be on my own and drink and take drugs. I had to reach out for help and the only way of doing that for me in those days was to write it down in a lyric. That was how I communicated not just to the world outside but to the people close by. Glenn: This lyric when I got it from Chris, well he was obviously not a happy chappy. Chris: The Truth says everything about what was going on in those days for me and the way that Glenn put the lyrics to the music is exactly what it should be – a fantastically powerful song. Glenn: It’s about being deceitful, about the truth and is something I can identify with and Chris felt – how hard it is to tell the truth sometimes. I think he was getting ready to fess up and throw the towel in on his drinking and that. Chris: I just couldn’t take it anymore and I put my hands in the air and a good friend of mine lifted me up and took me to rehab.”Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook (412)
“Yes. it’s very autobiographical. For a long time I had a lot of trouble with the truth. I think most men do. It’s very easy to paint yourself into a corner sometimes and the only way out of it is to lie. It’s an awful sin, but everybody does it. I was very clever for a long time juggling the truth with lies. And then I got to a point where I didn’t know which was real. So this song is about me turning round to all the men in the world and saying, ‘Face up to it. We’re all liars. This is the truth.’ Lots of men come up to me and say, ‘I understand ‘The Truth.’ It makes perfect sense.’ It’s the most masculine of lyrics on the album.”Chris Difford (842)

Take Me I’m Yours

“I was staying at my manager’s house (Miles Copeland) and his mother was or is an archaeologist. And she’d worked a lot in Egypt where Miles went to school. She had pictures and matching ornaments from that part of the world, and it inspired that kind of lyric. But it changed into a very different song over the years.”Chris Difford (413)

Walk A Straight Line

“It was a story about somebody who is crippled by alcohol and the kind of abuses that come with that. It’s really about a character trying to find some reformation in himself. Looking for a reason to believe, I suppose. Tony Berg, our producer, brought up a good point. He thought the two characters were trying to get sober, to walk a straight line together to get married in a church. So they could walk a straight line to the altar to get married. I think that’s really a good observation.”Chris Difford (842)

Annie Get Your Gun

“Annie was not a real person. It was a jumble of ideas, really. Kind of a melting pot of images more than anything else. I had written, a lot earlier in my life, songs about Annie Oakley. I don’t know whether that had anything to do with that, but it probably did.”Chris Difford (842)

I’ve Returned

“For the most part, that whole album, Sweets From A Stranger, was sort of soaked in alcohol. There are a lot of alcoholic images in the context of that album, that song being one of them. A drunken character returning…abruptly…onto the scene, as it were. The way alcoholics do.”Chris Difford (842)


“It was basically about a couple that used to drink in a pub where I used to work in London and I just happened to be observing them one night. They seemed to have reached a pinnacle in their relationship at the bar. And they’d been out somewhere, to the theater or something. They looked as if they didn’t have anywhere to go, as if their evening had ended. And I took their situation a step further and put them back at her house, where her mother was, and she wasn’t supposed to spend the night, the age old situation. I’ve been through it myself when I was younger. You go back to their house and they say, ‘You can’t really stay, but if you’re quiet, we can sneak up to my room.’ You’ve spent all evening trying to impress upon this girl what a great guy you are by taking her to the theater and taking her for an Indian meal. And then you get found out.”Chris Difford (842)

I Think I’m Go Go

“Now that was influenced by touring. I felt like I was going go-go last night after doing two shows. I felt like this is murder. The lyrics speak about different continents. And the middle verse that I sing is obviously about America. It’s about a state of mind one can get in as a young musician on the road for the first time. Abusing one’s self to the nth degree.”Chris Difford (842)

If I Didn’t Love You

“Again it came from one particular line: “Singles remind me of kisses, albums remind me of plans.” that line I wrote first because I was going out with a Swedish girl at the time and I was finding it very difficult to make love with her. I found it very hard going, if you’ll excuse the pun. So I put on a Todd Rundgren album, Something/Anything?, that had a very long side to it, 28 minutes I think it is. I used to play that because I knew I had 28 minutes to get it on with this girl. And that led me to write that line. And the rest of it followed on from there.”Chris Difford (842)