The Stranglers – History, Members, Songs & Fun Facts





OriginGuildford, Surrey, England
GenresPub rock, punk rock, new wave, post-punk
Years active1974-present
LabelsA&M, Castle Communications, EMI, Epic, Liberty, Stiff Records, United Artists
MembersJean-Jacques Burnel
Baz Warne
Jim Macaulay
Toby Hounsham
Past MembersHugh Cornwell
Jet Black
Dave Greenfield
John Ellis
Paul Roberts
Hans Wärmling
InfluencesBeatles, Velvet Underground, The Doors, Love, Music Machine, Cream, Jimi Hendrix

The Stranglers: Biography

The Stranglers are an English punk rock band who formed in Guildford, Surrey, in 1974. The band originally consisted of bassist/vocalist Jean-Jacques Burnel, keyboardist Dave Greenfield, drummer Jet Black, and guitarist/vocalist Hugh Cornwell. The Stranglers are one of the longest-surviving and most successful bands to have originated in the UK punk rock and pub rock scenes.

The Stranglers’ early sound was a mix of pub rock, punk and new wave, with influences ranging from 1960’s psychedelic rock, R&B, and the blues. Their early lyrics were often political and literate, with themes ranging from the war in Vietnam to nuclear proliferation. The band’s later material was more pop-oriented, with elements of reggae and funk mixed in.

The Stranglers released their debut album, Rattus Norvegicus in 1977. The album was a commercial and critical success, and spawned several hit singles, including “Peaches” and “(Get a) Grip [on Yourself].” The band’s next three albums, No More Heroes (1977), Black and White (1978), and The Raven (1979) were even more successful. All of The Stranglers’ first 5 albums reached the top 10 in the UK charts, establishing the band as one of the top punk/new wave acts in music history.

Throughout the 1980s, the Stranglers released a series of successful albums, including La Folie (1981), Feline (1983), and Aural Sculpture (1984). They also released two critically-acclaimed, yet somewhat less commercially successful albums in the second half of the 1980s – Dreamtime (1986) and 10 (1990).

In 1990, Hugh Cornwell left the band and was replaced by John Ellis. The Stranglers continued to tour and release new material throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s. Despite lineup changes and the passing of founding members Dave Greenfield and Jet Black, the Stranglers remain a popular and influential band, with a devoted fan base and a lasting legacy in the history of punk and new wave music.

The Stranglers: FAQs

How old are The Stranglers?

The Stranglers first registered as a business on 11 September 1974 by drummer Jet Black, though the group started earlier that year as The Guildford Stranglers. Around this time, members of the The Stranglers lived together in Jet Black’s off-license business in Guildford, named “The Jackpot”.

What was The Stranglers’ first single?

The Stranglers first single - (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) & London Lady

Released on 28 January 1977 on the United Artists label, The Stranglers first single was “(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)”, with “London Lady” as the b-side. Both songs appeared on their debut album, Rattus Norvegicus, also in 1977. It peaked at #44 on the U.K. Singles Chart.

When did The Stranglers form?

The Stranglers officially formed on 11 September 1974. Earlier that same year they had been known as The Guildford Stranglers, before deciding to shorten their name.

Where are The Stranglers from?

The Stranglers are originally from Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom, where they formed on 11 September 1974.

Which members of The Stranglers have died?

Dave Greenfield, keyboardist, backup vocalist, and founding member of The Stranglers died on Sunday, May 3rd 2020 at the age of 71 due to complications from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Jet Black, drummer and founding member of The Stranglers died at the age of 84 on December 6th, 2022 after “years of ill health”.

Who is The Stranglers drummer?

jet black stranglers drummer

Jet Black was the drummer for The Stranglers. He was born on 23rd August 1938 as Brian John Duffy. As of 2015, he ceased touring with the band, due to age and health-related concerns. On December 6th, 2022 Jet Black died after years of struggling with health issues. He was 84 years old.

Who manages The Stranglers?

The Stranglers are currently managed by Sil Wilcox, who has been close to the band since the 1980’s, starting out as a keyboard tech and part of their road crew before stepping into his current management role with the band.

Who wrote The Stranglers’ songs?

The Stranglers were unusual in that they had three primary songwriters: Hugh Cornwell, Jean-Jacques Burnel, and Dave Greenfield, with most tracks credited to the entire band. The majority of their hits, such as “Golden Brown”, “Strange Little Girl”, and “Skin Deep” were written by Hugh Cornwell.

What was The Stranglers original lineup?

Formed in early 1974 as The Guildford Stranglers, the band’s original lineup consisted of singer/guitarist Hugh Cornwell, singer/bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel, singer/keyboardist Dave Greenfield, and drummer Jet Black.

Who was lead singer of The Stranglers?

The Stranglers have had several lead singers since their start in 1974. In chronological order they are: Hugh Cornwell (1974-1990), Paul Roberts (1990-2006), and current singer Baz Warne (guitar and backing vocals 2000-present, guitar and lead vocals 2006-present).

Why did Hugh Cornwell leave The Stranglers?

According to Hugh Cornwell, “The reason I left The Stranglers was that I didn’t want to be doing the songs by rote, exactly the same with the same people,” he said. “That’s exactly what the band are doing now, with all due respect.”

What genre are The Stranglers?

While The Stranglers started to gain widespread notoriety in the U.K. by being lumped into the then fledgling punk rock scene, they’re now widely considered to be more a New Wave/Post-Punk band.

How many records have The Stranglers sold?

According to J.J. Burnel, as of 2013 The Stranglers had sold roughly 40 million records.

Are The Stranglers punk?

While the band did come to prominence in the late 1970’s U.K. alongside first-wave punk bands like the Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks, their sound and style is more accurately described as a mix of New Wave and Post-Punk. Like The Police, Stranglers were better musicians than the punk bands of the time.

What is The Stranglers song “Golden Brown” about?

According to Hugh Cornwell, “‘Golden Brown’ works on two levels. It’s about heroin and also about a girl. Essentially the lyrics describe how both provided me with pleasurable times.”

What is The Stranglers song “Skin Deep” about?

Skin Deep, from The Stranglers’ 1984 album, Aural Sculpture, is a song about superficial people who appear on the surface to be trustworthy friends, but who in reality are not. The song warns us to watch out for when they inevitably reveal their true nature.

The Stranglers Trivia


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