THE STRANGLERS – WALK ON BY

THE STRANGLERS – WALK ON BY

RIP DAVE GREENFIELD

On this date in 1978, THE STRANGLERS released their third studio album, BLACK AND WHITE issued with a free white vinyl 45 WALK ON BY plus two other tracks (May 12th, 1978).

In 1978, The Stranglers recorded a version of WALK ON BY, the classic Burt Bacharach/Hal David tune. It had been part of the band’s set for a few years and during that time it had gradually evolved. By ’78 it was a much refined thing, far removed from the band’s ritual torture and assassination of the original. Astoundingly different, it was no less elegant than the one made famous by Dionne Warwick and countless other great singers.

There have been many cover versions over the years, including Isaac Hayes expansively orchestrated cover, but where Hayes’ version drifted off into cool repetitive riffing, The Stranglers took it to new heights. Hugh Cornwall’s guttural tonality atop Dave Greenfield’s experimental keyboard frenzy.

Back in May, the band had given away 75,000 copies of the song on a free EP with the first BLACK & WHITE albums. Two months later, the demand for the EP was so strong that UNITED ARTISTS reissued ‘Walk on by’ as an official single.

The 45 was flipped with the energetic, heavy artillery TANK and a new number featuring jazz singer, author and raconteur GEORGE MELLY singing a previously unrecorded Stranglers song, the harmonica-blues blast of OLD CODGER. Fair play to a legend like Melly agreeing to perform on the song.

The single peaked at #21 on the UK Singles Chart and was dressed in one of the day’s best pieces of punk art. Same as the LP jacket, we had Dionne Warwick’s head superimposed on Hugh Cornwall’s body – perfectly disturbing.

The video here is the Top Of The Pops performance extended to the full 6 minutes of the song.

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Thank you and best wishes, Paul

Thank you to everyone who has joined DECADE. As many of you know the page is just me, Paul. I write and research the articles, and edit the videos, often reinventing them entirely. THE CRUNCH. It now takes almost an entire day of unpaid work to put together content for the page. If you could see fit to make a small donation then I would be eternally grateful.

Thank you and best wishes, Paul

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