The Stranglers in session to kick off he week. Their second session for John Peel, recorded on September 13, 1977. FYI: I ran the first session a couple years ago, so you might want to dig around for that.
The Stranglers are an English rock band who emerged via the punk rock scene. Scoring some 23 UK top 40 singles and 17 UK top 40 albums to date in a career spanning four decades, the Stranglers are one of the longest-surviving and most “continuously successful” bands to have originated in the UK punk scene.
Formed as the Guildford Stranglers on 11 September 1974 in Guildford, Surrey, they originally built a following within the mid-1970s pub rock scene. While their aggressive, no-compromise attitude identified them as one of the instigators of the UK punk rock scene that followed, their idiosyncratic approach rarely followed any single musical genre and the group went on to explore a variety of musical styles, from new wave, art rock and gothic rock through the sophisticated pop of some of their 1980s output.
From 1976 the Stranglers became associated with the burgeoning punk rock movement, due in part to their opening for the first British tours of American punks the Ramones and Patti Smith. Notwithstanding this association, some of the movement’s champions in the British musical press viewed the band with suspicion on account of their age and musical virtuosity and the intellectual bent of some of their lyrics. However, Burnel was quoted saying, “I thought of myself as part of punk at the time because we were inhabiting the same flora and fauna … I would like to think the Stranglers were more punk plus and then some.”
The band’s early albums, Rattus Norvegicus, No More Heroes and Black and White, all released within a period of 13 months, were highly successful with the record-buying public and singles such as “Peaches”, “Something Better Change” and “No More Heroes” became instant punk classics. Meanwhile, the band received a mixed reception from some critics because of their apparent sexist and racist innuendo. However, critic Dave Thompson argued that such criticism was oblivious to the satire and irony in the band’s music, writing: “the Stranglers themselves revelled in an almost Monty Python-esque grasp of absurdity (and, in particular, the absurdities of modern ‘men’s talk’).” These albums went on to build a strong fan-following, but the group’s confrontational attitude towards the press was increasingly problematic and triggered a severe backlash when Burnel, a martial arts enthusiast, punched music journalist Jon Savage during a promotional event.
So not without some controversy and scandal, as it is with all bands worth their musical and social salt. In case you missed them during their formative years, here is a taste of what you might have missed or perhaps forgotten about, from their September 13, 1977 sessions for the legendary John Peel.
Crank it up and enjoy.