the stranglers

The Stranglers. L-R: Hugh Cornwell, Jean-Jacques Burnel, Jet Black, Dave Greenfield. Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns.

The Stranglers emerged from the UK punk rock scene in the mid-70s, scoring a staggering 23 UK top 40 singles and 17 UK top 40 albums in a career that now spans more than four decades – making them one of the most enduring and „continuously successful“ bands to originate from the UK punk scene.

Their aggressive, no-compromise attitude meant that their idiosyncratic approach rarely followed any single musical genre. In time, the group went on to explore a variety of musical styles, from new wave, art rock and gothic rock, through to the sophisti-pop styling of their 1980s output – a testament to the notion that punk is more about attitude than a specific sound.

Get pumped for their Aussie tour, which kicked off this week, with five of the best from the steadfast new wave punk-rockers who have been many things – but never boring!

1. “Get A Grip On Yourself” [1977]

“Get A Grip On Yourself” was the first single from the Stranglers’ debut album, Rattus Norvegicus, released in April of 1977.  The angular, combative sounding guitars and the sneering, strut of the attitude-driven lyrics landed them squarely in the safety-pin set. But the satirical vocal delivery definitely betrays an appreciation for straight-up rock singers like the Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger, and perhaps an influence on upcoming New Wave singers like Morrissey. 

2. “No More Heroes”

„No More Heroes“ – a single from their album of the same name – is one of the group’s most successful singles. The song’s lyrics draw on numerous historical figures, from Elmyr de Leon Trotsky and Lenny Bruce to William Shakespeare and fictional character Sancho Panza; affirming that they were as intelligent, and they were musically capable.

Here they are performing the track ‘live’ on Top Of The Pops in 1977:

3. “Golden Brown”

Unlike many of their punk peers, the Stranglers didn’t just survive into the 80’s (and beyond), they thrived with an anything-goes approach that yielded baroque psychedelic ballads like “Golden Brown” – second single from the band’s 1981 album, La folie.

4. “Skin Deep”

…and dance-floor-pop-anthems like “Skin Deep” – lead single from 1984 album, Aural Sculpture is a textbook minimalist, new wave-romantic jam that breaks into euphoric, melodic, shimmering harmonies when you least expect it. Sublime.

5. “Always The Sun”

„Always The Sun“ – second single from 1986’s Dreamtime – takes some giant leaps to the pop end of New Wave, while retaining the sardonic the themes, lyrically ruminating on the unpredictable and oftentimes unfavourable reality of life with ironic cheer. 

Stranglers fans are spoiled! Each year we either get the band, featuring original bass player Jean-Jacques Burnel and keyboardist Dave Greenfield (a good thing, seeing as how the band’s sound is so bass and keyboard-heavy), or original singer/guitarist Hugh Cornwell. This year it’s the whole band – and they’re here now! Details HERE.

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