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Friday, 15 April 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 106 - Rattus Norvegicus

On this day in 1977 The Stranglers released their debut album on United Artists.

I've said elsewhere on this blog that this is one of my favourite Debut Albums and I guess one of the reasons for that is because it is loaded with interesting songs. Although they were linked to the Punk/New Wave scene The Stranglers were way superior musically to many of their Punk/New Wave counterparts and the sound of the debut album clearly showed that they had already moved passed the revolution of Punk.

From 1976 The Stranglers had become 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 of course had a wealth of musical experience stretching back many years and brought together they crafted a really great sound. The epic 7minutes and 30seconds of Down In The Sewer (a song that contained four sections (Falling/Down In The Sewer/Trying To Get Out Again/Rat's Rally) showed clearly how gifted they were.

I always thought they had a bit of a sound like The Doors thanks to the excellent keyboards of Dave Greenfield. The Bass of Jean-Jacques Burnel at times is like a lead guitar, he takes the lead vocal as well on three tracks, though he brings a more sensitive vocal on the excellent Princess of the Streets compared to the more gruff sounding London Lady and Ugly.

The Hugh Cornwall sung Peaches, which was released as the second single, ended up being banned by the BBC due to the dark sexual overtones of the song and it was Go Buddy Go that got the bulk of the airplay (a clean version of Peaches did exist where the offending words were removed). On Top of the Pops Go Buddy Go was the song that the band performed.

The first 10,000 copies of the album included a free 7" single (Double A-Sided just like their first two singles) of Peasant in the Big Shitty (recorded live at The Nashville on the 10th December 1976) and a studio version of Choosey Susie. Both songs and Go Buddy Go were included on the 2001 CD release.

Reaching #4 on the UK Album Charts was a big surprise and it spent 34 weeks on the charts.

In The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, by the New Musical Express, Rattus Norvegicus was at #196.

Rattus Norvegicus - The Stranglers
United Artists
Produced by Martin Rushent
Released 15th April 1977
UK Chart #4


Side One
01 Sometimes
02 Goodbye Toulouse
03 London Lady
04 Princess of the Streets
05 Hanging Around

Side Two
06 Peaches
07 (Get A) Girp (On Yourself)
08 Ugly
09 Down in the Sewer

The Stranglers
    Hugh Cornwell – guitars, lead (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9) and backing vocals
    Jean-Jacques Burnel – bass guitar, lead (3, 4, 8) and backing vocals
    Dave Greenfield – Keyboards (Hammond L100 Organ, Hohner Cembalet electric piano, Minimoog synthesizer)
    Jet Black – Percussion

Additional musician
    Eric Clarke – Guest tenor saxophone (track 7)

Singles From Rattus Norvegicus

A-Side: Grip / AA-Side: London Lady
28th January 1977
UK Chart #44

(Dutch Picture Sleeve)
A-Side: Peaches / AA-Side: Go Buddy Go
21st May 1977
UK Chart #8

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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