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Music / The Stranglers

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The classic lineup. Foreground: Jean-Jacques Burnel. Background, left to right: Jet Black, Dave Greenfield, Hugh Cornwell.

"Whatever happened to all the heroes?
No more heroes anymore."

The Stranglers are an English Punk Rock band, best known as one of the first wave of British Punk bands in The '70s.

The band began several years before the Punk explosion in Britain, originating from prepunk Blues, Jazz and Psychedelic Rock backgrounds; their sound was much more technically skilled and literate than their contemporaries, and they were one of the few Punk bands to make liberal use of keyboards. They also had what one music critic described as a Monty Python-esque sense of absurdity, which appeared to everyone else as abject sexism and racism. Regardless, they managed a loyal following and plenty of chart-success, while having a shaky relationship with the music press.

Their sound changed over the years, becoming more experimental, then more pop accessible, and right back to a classic-era revival. Their classic lineup included Hugh Cornwell on guitar, Jean-Jacques Burnel on bass, Dave Greenfield on keyboards, and Jet Black on drums. Cornwell was the main singer, though Burnel takes the lead vocals on many of their songs. Cornwell left the band in 1990, being briefly replaced by John Ellis from The Vibrators before current guitarist Baz Warne settled in during 2000.

In 2020, Dave Greenfield sadly died of COVID-19, and in response to this the band announced they would be releasing the final album they had been working on with Greenfield and go on a final tour in late 2020 before splitting up.

Studio Discography:

  • Stranglers IV (Rattus Norvegicus) (1977)
  • No More Heroes (1977)
  • Black and White (1978)
  • The Raven (1979)
  • The Gospel According To The Meninblack (1980)
  • La Folie (1981)
  • Feline (1982)
  • Aural Sculpture (1984)
  • Dreamtime (1986)
  • 10 (1990)
  • In the Night (1992)
  • About Time (1995)
  • Written in Red (1997)
  • Coup de Grace (1998)
  • Norfolk Coast (2004)
  • Suite XVI (2006)
  • Giants (2012)

No More Tropes Anymore:

  • Bile Fascination: invoked From "Ugly":
    "I'd like to see a passionate film between the two ugliest people in the world. When I say 'ugly', I don't mean rough looking; I mean hideous!"
  • Concept Album: The Gospel According to the Meninblack, about alien visitation, the titular Men in Black, and their connection to Biblical narratives.
  • Death Song: "Dagenham Dave", about a late friend of the band.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: From "Ugly":
    "I guess I shouldn't have strangled her to death but
    I had to go to work and she had laced my coffee with acid
    Normally I wouldn't have minded, but I'm allergic to sulfuric acid
    Besides, she had acne
    And if you got acne, well, I apologize for disliking you intensely"
  • The '80s
  • Girl Watching: "Peaches"
  • Gratuitous French: "La Folie"
  • Guttural Growler: JJ Burnel.
  • Intercourse with You: "Bring on the Nubiles"
  • Lead Bassist: Burnel takes lead about as often as Cornwell in the early days. Even more so since Cornwell left.
  • New Wave Music: One of the pioneers with their more melodic, keyboard-heavy take on Punk Rock.
  • Post-Punk
  • Psychedelic Rock: A key part of their sound. One piece of promotional material described them as "Angry Psychedelia".
  • Punk Rock: Part of the first wave of British Punk Rock.
  • The '70s
  • Shout-Out:
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Keyboardist Dave Greenfield sings "Peasant in the Big Shitty", "Dead Ringer", "Do You Wanna", "Genetix", and "Four Horsemen".
  • Uncommon Time: "Peasant in the Big Shitty" is in 9/4, and part of "Golden Brown" is in 13/4.
  • Visual Pun: The cover art for Aural Sculpture is a sculpture of an ear.