THE STRANGLERS – ‘(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)’/’London Lady’ (United Artists UP 36211) February 1977

The Stranglers ‘(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)’ – looked and sounded very nasty indeed. Just take a look at the picture sleeve showing the group in all of their unkempt glory. They all look like they haven’t slept or been washed for days.

True story: Back in 1979 (it had to be then cos I was in the 3rd year at Comp taking in a boring French lesson…I dropped the subject a year later cos I was so shit at it) But, a lad in my class called Andrew Mole was a big Stranglers fan and had all of their records.

I asked him what he thought of the new Stranglers single at the time and he replied that he didn’t like The Stranglers any more cos he was more into Jethro Tull.

Jethro fucking Tull. The prog group fronted by a hippie standing on one leg playing a flute! What the frig happened to his taste in music. I’ve remembered this for decades.

I’m not quite sure of the name of the magazine this Stranglers image was published in. It’s one of those very rare pictures that hasn’t either been photographed by myself from an archived piece of ephemera or scanned. I believe it’s origins are from a German publication. (EXPO67)

They certainly looked nasty enough on the cover, like they hadn’t washed (or slept) in years. Together since ’74 The (Guildford) Stranglers were comparative journeymen by the time punk hit.

They famously had a run-in with The Damned at the 100 Club in December ’76 but their competence got a deal with UA.

‘Grip’ became the second major label punk single after ‘Anarchy’.

Dave Greenfield’s keyboards, and even a textural sax line behind Hugh Cornwell’s vocal, debunked punk’s back-to-basics methodology but, despite the fact that producer Martin Rushent was best known for his work with Shirley Bassey, ‘Grip’ forged a black-eyed basement sound for countless subsequent bands to copy. (Mojo)

capped-tooth smoothie

The Phil McNeill Fan Club make their recording debut with a stunning double-sided single of distinctive, intelligent, contemporary rock ‘n’ roll that sounds like Roxy Music would have if that old capped-tooth smoothie Ferry had been influenced by The Doors (as opposed to Humphrey Bogart at the start of the male menopause).

The B-side, ‘London Lady’, is perhaps more like the noise you would have expected from a squad of elder punksters.

Hugh Cornwell’s slashed-out riffing more upfront on this two minute 25 song than on the A, where the main feature is Dave Greenfield’s swirling keyboards backing up the hook-line chorus (which is maybe strong enough to get them some “chart action”) (NME)

Julia’s father, The Honourable Major Blessington, rushed through the door. “I will not have punk rock in this house,” he explained. “Ere, hang abhat, that’s not bad. I’ll play it to the lads down at the mess. Sounds a bit like Roxy Music to me.” (Record Mirror)

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