“Nuclear Device”

THE STRANGLERS – “Nuclear Device (The Wizard Of Aus)” / “Yellowcake UF 6” (United Artists BP 318) October 1979

The Stranglers ‘Nuclear Device’ – This song was written about the political shenanigans of the then Premier of Queensland, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, which the band observed during their first visit to Australia.

“We were there for about six weeks, bassist JJ Burnel recalled to Toro Magazine. “This man, Joh Bjelke-Peterson, he was basically a criminal who gained power through gerrymandering.

We became rather critical of him, wondered how this guy who got only 20% of the popular vote had done that.

He threw aboriginal people of their land, sold uranium mines to groups who performed nuclear explosions off the coast of Australia. He was racist and corrupt. At one point he brought people in to storm our concerts.

We had to flee over the state line. But a wonderful inspiration for the song.” (Songfacts)

After the almost tuneful “Duchess”, this is the old Stranglers that you all know and either love or hate. A tale of dark deeds in Australian politics, it’s fairly interesting if unlikely to be much of a hit.

Personally, I think Jean Jacques Burnel’s “distinctive” bass style is getting to be a bit of a bore. The Stranglers could do to take a few more risks. (Smash Hits)

from Patches magazine, January 1980

As usual I haven’t the faintest idea what they’re rattling away about, and if I had I’d probably find this quite sinister. As it is, here’s another action packed Stranglers single. Less poppy than ‘Duchess’ but equally beaty, with ‘ol Hugh positively scowling vocally on the chorus. (Record Mirror, 20/10/79)

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