No More Heroes

Cover art for No More Heroes by The Stranglers
ArtistThe Stranglers
Released23 September 1977
RYM Rating3.64 / 5.0 from 1,784 ratings
Ranked#186 for 1977, #7,334 overall
GenresPunk RockPost-Punk
New Wave
Descriptorssarcastic, vulgar, energetic, rhythmic, angry, male vocals, raw, anxious, melodic, rebellious, dark

Track listing

  • A1I Feel Like a Wog3:16
  • A2Bitching4:23
  • A3Dead Ringer2:46
  • A4Dagenham Dave3:18
  • A5Bring on the Nubiles2:15
  • A6Something Better Change3:36
  • B1No More Heroes3:27
  • B2Peasant in the Big Shitty3:30
  • B3Burning Up Time2:25
  • B4English Towns2:13
  • B5School Mam6:52

lelandJan 10 20064.00 starsIn their second release, the Stranglers are really mad. I mean, reallyreallyreally mad. You would think they couldn’t get any madder after Rattus Norvegicus IV, that pulsating infected blister of a debut, but they could, uh-huh, and here’s the proof that on RN IV (by the way, the IV in the title of their debut was not the Roman numeral 4 as is commonly believed, rather it is a warning that you will need a plasma transplant when the band is through pummeling you) they were simply getting warmed up. Or overheated. Or ready to explode.

On that one, they were mostly mad at women. Here, they’re mad at prudish women („School Mam“), virgin girls („Bring on the Nubiles“), South Asian immigrants and social displacement („I feel like a wog“), the urban poor („Peasant in the Big Shitty“), revolutionaries („No More Heroes“), the status quo („Something Better Change“), those who complain excessively („Bitching“) and more. Hugh Cornwell sounds like he’s never met a human being he could tolerate for a seckunt. The simplistic thumping backbeat makes it sound as if the band is beating up pedestrians, while the twirlyswirly synthesizer suggests a carnival at which the barker has gone off a bit, and is loading his weapon to let an unsuspecting public know about it.

While I agree with the common perception that the Stranglers’ inclusion in the punk pantheon of their day is a misnomer—more classification convenience than archival accuracy—it’s hard on the surface not to equate their merciless vulgarity with that of their safety-pinned peers. Still, while the Sex Pistols launched a million bands with a virtually identical sonic thumbprint—many of which easily eclipsed the Pistols’ meager innovations—I don’t think any band sounded like the early Stranglers.

Strange, but they were never nearly this mad again. Guess they successfully vented on NMH and got it out of their system, because on their many subsequent albums they became a pretty mellow bunch of older lads (kind’ve a more pensive Soft Cell, or a more cigar-and-bathrobe-ish Human League), seeking approval from the masses and the respect of their peers, having herein successfully de-constructed Pet Sounds.

WarthurSep 26 20124.00 starsNo More Heroes is a somewhat more inconsistent affair than the Stranglers’ debut, and in retrospect was probably recorded a little too soon – it feels a bit too much like a collection of tracks which didn’t quite make it onto Rattus Norvegicus, not least because three of the songs here are actually rejects from those sessions. Still, even at its worst the album is still fun and at its best it’s outright brilliant. The title track is, of course, a classic, Bring On the Nubiles is one of the most uninhibitedly filthy songs to come out of the UK punk scene of 1977, and the foreboding closing nunber School Mam is actually a bit more interesting as a concluding epic than Down In the Sewer was.

troyscholesSep 27 20084.00 starsThis was the first album the Stranglers released that congealed me to the group indefinitely. It was the winter of 1978 when i popped on my birthday present on an old Phillips record player and listened. I was awestruck with these tracks along with the amazing sleeve of a wreath of flowers i could not say what species those flowers are to this day. They could be poppy’s in full bloom! An the inside cover Rattus Norvegicus (the brown rat) is caught up in the once to be decaying wreath of plant life. Which brings us to the opening track.

I Feel Like A Wog

A song about alienation a fast drum beat and an asking simple keyboard style opens a quite anxious melody. Most politically incorrect in the 21st century a song about racial subversion flavoured with sinister music describes how it feels to be downtrodden. The moral is colour is only skin deep and even deeper down the evidence is absolute that our human species is all the same. It all ends so suddenly with a few licks of Hugh’s guitar.


A great opening sound of all instruments complimenting each to the song. JJ sang this one. A good old moan or standing up defiantly to authority may be the key to the lyrics of Bitching. Could be references to the fracas the band experienced in Toulouse. Lovely guitar solo at the bridge of the song. You can hear Hugh and Dave in the chorus repeating bar bitching this could be a hidden reference to the barbiturate drug or simply aggressive arguments in pub rock circa 1977 in drinking holes like the Red Cow where the Stranglers first played these tunes live.

Dead Ringer

A song that Dave Greenfield sings the vocals with a familiar base line a tad faster but similar at the beginning to the song Peaches. As the title suggests the song is about people familiar to oneself but somehow they are different when you speak to them then realize the error of your ways. People can be alike and everyone has been confused by dead ringers of someone they think they know but don’t. Again there is a malicious atmosphere here perhaps about a character with many faces who would be a powerful person that throws all his material wealth away. Budd ah and enlightenment comes to mind.

Dagenham Dave

This man was one of the original followers of the group and later got caught up in violent confrontation with new admirers the Finchley Boys. A great swirling keyboard opener with Hugh and JJ sharing vocals on the chorus. Dagenham Dave was drugged up and fell into the River Thames maybe his death was misadventure maybe suicide. Only he knows and the death certificate can reveal. Apparently Dagenham Dave was very bright and did not have much time for woman. A good spoken narrative about his state of mind accompanies the song.

Bring On the Nubiles

A sinister exposition of girls ready for marriage, the men take sexual advantage “ i kiss your zone errogenous there is plenty to explore“, suggesting definately that a man has his carnal desires. Controversial lyrics “ i want to love you like your dad“ is an incestuous remark. A song full of sexual innuendo and depravity. This song is complimented by the music, a general theme of No More Heroes, in an atmosphere of anxiety and horror be very scared.

Something Better Change

A stomper with JJ shouting ugh to start a classy punk/pop classic. The Stranglers anthem about the 1976 revolution of change in the contemporary music scene. Or to be more accurate a critical statement about the boring mid 70s super groups with there endless guitar solo’s and vocals that make no sense at all. Groups like ELP and Yes with confused,endless, charmless,nonsensical progressive rock.

No More Heroes

Another classic follows as JJs Bass fret board is worked down to up. Great keyboard signature -melodic just a fabulous sound accompanied by Hugh’s urgent singing about simply where are the great beings that walked this Earth. They have lived and they have died an there is no one to replace them. Examples such as Leon Trotsky the permanent communist revolutionary and founder of the Red Army is subject to a violent death in Mexico. This song has a guitar plus a following keyboard solo at the bridge of No More Heroes.

Peasent in the Big Shitty

Another vocal by Dave Greenfield a sombre affair and a persuasive voice but i dont really understand what this song is about. It is obviously somekind of horror that a peasent is going through probably a sprit of an evil vampire entering his mind. „Your not real oh no your not“ is reference to that thought. The bass drives and the keyboards are sinister and a nice pleasant guitar is played to relieve the horror. But at the end the song returns to what reminds me of a wicked witch up to know good at all.

Burning Up Time

This ditty is a more upbeat song about fantasy; a girl the Brighton Belle that JJ wants to meet to have a relationship. It was probably wrote after the end of one of the bands realtionships with a woman came to a crushing end. At the end of the song Hugh comes in with lyrics that suggest this stranger is a child kidnapper and is tempting the child with a sweet. In these xenophobic days this kind of lyric would not go down too well at all with the music press or with societies views of such subject. One of the punkier songs on the album.

English Towns

The upbeat continues in English Towns with a familiar continuation of the subject of the fairer sex. That all the woman he has been out with and with all the bitter ends of many relationships he has no more love to give. „No love in a 1000 girls“ Hugh declares. That woman are only after material well being off the man that tends to earn more money. Which is probably the case in annual earnings of men in 1977. I have always liked the positive keyboard feel to English Towns.

School Mam

An epic closer to a good all round album. About life at school as if the whole experience is one that is shrouded in black. How hard is must be to educate a load of rowdy kids. As the song continues the lyrics become horrific with the teacher dying in front of the kids in the classroom. It is funny Hugh sings 32+32 = 64 thats OAP land Hugh cant be far off that age himself now. Moreover, the song ends with the sound of children playing in the playground. The school has become a scene of horror which has a negative reality which is quite scary.

As said this was the first album that i heard by the Stranglers on hearing it now it has not dated in my opinion. The songs are strong and compose of the material they first wrote along with the songs that made up Rattus Norvegicus. I dont think it has quite the overall strength of their debut but a good follow up that kept the fans happy. I remember playing it many times on my record player along with songs like Homicide by 999 and Automatic Lover by the Vibrators.

GrampusJul 15 20074.00 starsQuickly cashing in on the success of their debut Rattus Novegicus, The Stranglers released No More Heroes. The alacrity was mainly due to the fact the material had been recorded at the same session. Based on that, it’s understandable this lacks some of the punch and quality of its predecessor. The title track is a thumping song with a seminal synth run later ripped off by Elastica. „Something Better Change“ has the memorable „Huh!“ introduction by Hugh Cornwell and revisits the aggressive, anarchic themes of punk’s roots. „English Towns“, „Bring On The Nubiles“, „Dead Ringer“, „Burning Up Time“ and „Dagenham Dave“ all reveal a growing tendency to mix the belligerence of the genre with more melodic pop – and I just love the backing vocals to „Bitching“. These are the songs where I realised how great a band The Stranglers were: Burnel’s a fabulously brutal bass player and Greenfield is mesmerising on the keyboards. Cornwell is full of aggression and Jet Black just beats the shit out of those skins.

Sounds good so far, yes?, but I’ve never been one for shock, abuse or insult just for the sake of it so, whilst „Peasant In The Big Shitty“ does have something to say about society, I’ve never been able to see past the racial implication of the title „I Feel Like A Wog“ even though the song is attempting to highlight the plight of minorities.

For me, No More Heroes while inferior to Rattus Norvegicus, is the album that first revealed The Stranglers’ staying power. Punk, by definition, always seemed a disposable genre but suddenly The Stranglers were proclaiming their intention of staying around for the long haul – and I was definitely along for the ride.

Turkey_BeardMay 05 20195.00 starsPitched between grimy decadence and soaring power, No More Heroes represents the apogee of this band’s arcane ability to epitomise the primordial and the progressive in equal measure. Jet Black maintains a tight discipline behind the drum kit as Hugh Cornwell’s guitar stabs at the ears, vying for attention with Dave Greenfield’s magician-like conjurations on the keyboard and JJ Burnel’s bass that sounds like a fucking steamroller. Together they narrate the perverted people and places of The Big Shitty in three distinct voices – Cornwell’s authoritative sophisticated croon, Greenfield’s suitably Vampiric trilling and Burnel’s punk thug grunt. The musicianship is staggering, the lyrics are brilliantly entertaining in the manner of a pornographic picture postcard, and the songs are simply anthemic. An album that demands to be played from start to finish, and in that runtime is one of the finest musical experiences that this writer has ever encountered.

ZephosFeb 07 20164.00 starsThe second Stranglers record (browse on for the debut) and more proof that they’re an interesting little duck in the early Punk seas, and man I’m increasingly down for those. Part of me wants to call them the Television of England in how much different they sound from most of the other blokes, and how they seem more consciously stuck into the 70’s rather than future tide of the rest. No More Heroes catches them though already interested in pushing ahead with things, and you start maybe seeing how some users have patched „Post-Punk“ and „New Wave“ onto their descriptions around this place. Proto is always a useful word in these contexts because it helps us point to groups that exist before a culture/scene rose up, and it points to their difference in sound. This goes double for those closer to the foundation of those scenes. As a sophomore I would have maybe guessed that these guys would do what other seminal Protos did who were too close to the explosion, that they would react awkwardly to being bypassed by younger differing flavors and quickly fade. That or I would expect them to at least straight adapt to the times, become a more purist Punk outfit. This one after all would have been recorded during 77′ itself and the guys would have been quite aware of what was going on. But neither of these occurs! Instead they seem to be fixating on a pure version of themselves and in the process oddly ending up Proto again, this time with various aspects of yes…Post-Punk and New Wave. The songs have become largely uninterested with worshipping straight aggression, and instead they let their natural shambolic thing speak for itself. The musical focus becomes more melodic, and a strong constant undercurrent of electronic keyboarding emerges, often guiding songs into melody that might otherwise have been more basic Punk in sound. I think mostly of the title track as an example. Few others were doing anything like this in 77′, Ultravox is about the only one I can think of and they weren’t as traditionally Punk anyway. The fusion is all the more jarring when the band in question still sounds like rough blokes who’d beat you up at a pub. The path from this to Magazine’s debut sure seems pretty short, and hell even the path to Elvis Costello’s second record to some extent. This is a big pile of good no doubt, fusing disparate related trends of the time. Gotta love it. But all that praise aside they also seem to have lost some of the perks on the debut, a record I would have described as more diverse and daring at it’s points. The main difference between them basically can be summed up as Heroes establishing a „Stranglers sound“, where all the songs seem clearly related. This is it’s own sort of good thing, especially when this sound is unique as it is. But yeah the more inventive random energy of the debut produced slightly greater strength I feel, and was certainly more interesting at the end of the day. I was kind of hoping for a more standardized electronic laced sound from them, but careful for what you wish for I guess. But man this still is great great stuff. A wonder these guys aren’t more commonly mentioned!

Rating: 4
Highlights: I Feel Like a Wog, Bitching, No More Heroes, English Towns

jshopaFeb 12 20133.50 starsThe Stranglers are one of those bands that get frequently name-dropped as the progenitors of punk rock, being on the scene prior to Sex Pistols and The Damned both (although The Damned beat them to releasing anything). The thing about The Stranglers, however, was that they rarely sounded all that much like a punk band, even at this early stage. They were pub-rockers through and through, they just had a uniquely punk attitude and in that sense they were very anarchic. Their iconoclasm is obviously directly evident in the title track (which is also, it must be said, a bona fide classic) with its closing mantra of ‘No more heroes anymore,’ and a list of the downfall of legends and the very societies in which they thrived. The song buzzes along cheerfully on that analog synthesizer tune and it becomes clear that we are not mourning those departed icons, we’re stringing them up on the battlements as a warning to any and all who might consider following in their footsteps – see the album’s back photo of Hugh Cornwell lounging sullenly on Trotsky’s gravestone. It doesn’t get much more punk than that.

Of course, that’s only really the tip of the iceberg as far as their unforgiving and viciously satirical sensibilities go. Opener „I Feel Like a Wog“ seems to be a raging diatribe against the burgeoning skinhead movement as they claim a sort of weird solidarity with the neglected and looked-down-upon foreigners who have to similarly occupy shitty jobs and the lower rungs of society. „Dead Ringer“ is an acid jab at those who trumpet a lot of fake ideals. „English Towns“ is the clearest suggestion of the grim irony with which the whole affair is being carried out, with a great line forecasting the wave of miserablism about to hit, ‘We build towers of saddened ivory in our English towns.’ The finale, „School Mam“ is a lengthy, bizarre comic monologue about an elderly spinster quite literally dying of arousal after walking in on a teacher getting it on with a student, and the song trails off in a recitation of multiplication tables as they result to ages of sexual activity.

Sure, the album is inconsistent and overuses some silly production tricks where a more raw sound may have served the songs better, but they have an infectious sound and their aggressively satirical approach to songwriting is still quite striking. Later reissues also include „Five Minutes“ which is an essential non-album single about bloody vengeance.

schicken46Sep 07 20124.50 starsI used to think there was only one true British New Wave band: The Police. (Well, and Elvis Costello. But Costello is labeled New Wave primarily due to laziness; too punk to be Pub Rock and too classicist to be Punk, people didn’t know what else to call him.) The Police were the only band I was aware of that managed to combine the energy and attitude of punk with music that was definitely not punk. Well, I know this is labeled punk, but it’s hard for me to accept that it is punk.
The Stranglers are too damn weird to be punk. The keyboards are the first clue but most of the songs go well beyond the British Invasion/Garage Rock basis of so much British punk in 1977. Yes, there’s lots and lots of attitude here and there’s an aesthetic that is also very punk, but there is something else arty going on here that is not present in The Clash, The Damned, The Jam and The Pistols. These guys feel like those bands weird, older brother who gets along with others even less well than they do. (For example, I hear a Can influence on at least one song.)
This album is a revelation in many ways but perhaps the most prominent for me would be one of the singers’ eerie resemblance to Mark E. Smith. One is tempted to believe that Mark E. Smith copped his (infamous) singing stye (i.e. speak singing) from this band. I guess you could make a case that this was „post punk“ before PiL supposedly invented that genre.
Great stuff.

Babe_N_CoFeb 18 20104.00 starsFrom De Sade to Marx
Listening to No More Heroes I couldn’t dismiss an illusion that the Stranglers mock The Animals although in reality the semblance is very conditional. The Stranglers fruitfully satirize all the possible aspects of modern life: “Dave had read De Sade to Marx, more read than you and me” and they go the same way: “I’ll kiss your zone erogenous – there’s plenty to explore, I’ve got to lick your little puss and nail it to the floor” – well, that’s Marquise De Sade for you and these: “Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky? He got an ice pick that made his ears burn” are deeds of Carlo Marx’s apt pupils. The album is no less than excellent. “Whatever happened to all the heroes? All the Shakespearoes?” All heroes are reduced to freaks now.

daddythosemeMay 18 20065.00 starsAs part of my quest to rehabilitate The Stranglers from Punk band to Prog band, I ask you , the jury, to play Peasant in The Great Big Shitty, and then play Sheep by the Strawbs.

I rest my case.

I loved this album so much as a young man, that when I played rugby for the old school, and passed the ball to a chap called Hugh, I shouted out at the top of my voice, as a sort of obscure tribute, ‘yeah take it Hugh’ and was promptly penalised for ungentlemanly conduct.
I think the ref was a ted.

moogdroogFeb 10 20054.50 starsThe Stranglers second album of 1977, _No More Heroes_ is surprisingly on par with their debut release. This is due to the fact that a lot of the songs were written and recorded at the same time as those on the debut, although its quite clear that the two albums are their own seperate beasts and its hard to imagine putting a track from _No More Heroes_ on _Rattus Norvegicus_ and likewise.

The thing that astounds me the most about this album is the fact that for probably the first and last time on a Stranglers album, all three of the singing band members had prominent lead vocal duties. Hugh Cornwell gets five, Dave Greenfield gets a staggering TWO (compared to zero on _Rattus Norvegicus_ and only the odd one or two tracks afterwards!) and moody bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel gets the rest.

The material is exceptionally strong here and contains the hit singles „No More Heroes“ and „Something Better Change“, although Dave Greenfield’s acid-fried 9/4-time „Peasant In The Big Shitty“ and the more riffing „Bitching“ are other definite highlights. In short, if you liked the debut you’ll love this too.

astradyne2Nov 09 20044.00 starsThe second LP pales in comparison only to the first, due to a couple of dull tracks, especially the lengthy closer „School Mam.“ It is vastly inferior to the seven minute closer on the debut. And „Dead Ringer“ uses a chant that seems borrowed from the Ramones („hey ho, let’s go…), but that might just be a tribute or thank you to them.

Still, No More Heroes contains two of the best rock and roll songs 90% of rock fans will never know – „Bitchin'“ and „Something Better Change.“ Other decent cuts are „Dagenham Dave“ and the title track, although the latter has an extended keyboard solo that is unnecessary, and was left out of some versions. The x-rated „Bring on the Nubiles“ brought them a lot of controversy, and made the album one of the first with a warning sticker.

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