The Who – Squeeze Box

You go and see Pete Townshend to watch him windmill his guitar and jump about. Not on this song…you hear Pete happily playing on a banjo…and that is a great thing. He also slips in the accordion for good measure. This is not The Who’s best song but it’s happy and catchy. It’s also the first Who song I remember hearing without knowing much about them. My sister surprisingly had this single…a bright spot among the many bad ones she owned.

This song was on the album The Who By Numbers released in 1975 and peaked at #8. Squeeze Box made it to #16 in the Billboard 100 in 1976.

Townshend wrote all of the songs and they were deeply personal. He had just turned 30 and he was beginning to question his place in Rock and Roll. A question he would wrestle with a few more years.

Squeeze Box was originally intended for a Who television special planned in 1974. In the planned performance of the song, the members of the band were to be surrounded by 100 topless women playing accordions

Pete Townsend: “It’s not about a woman’s breasts, vaginal walls, or anything else of the ilk.”

Roger Daltrey: “What’s great about ‘Squeeze Box’ is that it’s so refreshingly simple, an incredible catchy song. A good jolly. I’ve never had a problem with that song because it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is and I love it for that. Live audiences love it. Nothing wrong with a bit of ‘in-and-out’, mate!”  

From Songfacts

Squeeze Box” is a slang term for an accordion, but it is also slang for the vagina. The band just wanted to see if they could get away with singing about the joys of explicit sex. 

In the liner notes to Pete Townshend’s compilation album Scoop, he wrote that he recorded the song for fun one day when he had bought himself an accordion. The accordion gave the song a polka-esque rhythm and the lyrics were “intended as a poorly aimed dirty joke.” Townshend had no thought of it ever becoming a hit.

The song is about an accordion (sort of), but there is hardly any of the instrument in the song. You can hear some in the section about 90 seconds in that goes, “squeeze me, come on and squeeze me,” but the subsequent instrumental section is mostly banjo. Pete Townshend played both instruments.

 

Squeeze Box

Mama’s got a squeeze box
She wears on her chest
And when daddy comes home
He never gets no rest
‘Cause she’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

Well the kids don’t eat
And the dog can’t sleep
There’s no escape from the music
In the whole damn street
‘Cause she’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

She goes in and out and in
And out and in and out and in and out
She’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

She goes, squeeze me, come on and squeeze me
Come on and tease me like you do
I’m so in love with you
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

She goes in and out and in and out
And in and out and in and out
‘Cause she’s playing all night
And the music’s all right
Mama’s got a squeeze box
Daddy never sleeps at night

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

25 thoughts on “The Who – Squeeze Box”

  1. Probably the first song I remember hearing by them too… always liked it; probably took about five years after it came out for me to be old enough to catch on to the “secondary” type meaning of it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I didn’t have a clue….I was happily singing along with it…the big question to me is…how did my sister get something good among the bad songs she had.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always liked it. Yes you are right…Who fans down this one but I’ve always liked it. Is it another Baba O’Riley? No but it’s a fun song.

      Liked by 1 person

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