My Stranglers collection starts and ends with a badly scratched copy of the 1990 compilation Greatest Hits: 1977-1990, which I borrowed from a friend. I should point out that my friends were not in the habit of lending me damaged CDs, and that it was actually in pretty good condition when I took charge of it. Luckily, by the time I’d gathered the courage to hand the album back and confess my atypically careless treatment of the goods, my friend, perhaps having forgotten that he’d ever owned this decent fifteen track summary of the band’s first decade and a bit, waved aside my attempts at handing it back.
I should point out that I still feel a little bit guilty today; it’s a sorry way to treat borrowed goods. On the plus side, no-one ever found out, so yay me!
I’m not the only person who’s got lucky with borrowed Stranglers, however. Last time Elastica‘s Justine Frischmann was in these pages, she could be found hastily shredding documents marked “How I made a new song out of Three Girl Rhumba”. An out of court settlement was agreed after obvious similarities were spotted between a song of that name by The Wire and her own band’s song “Connection”. Well, Justine had clearly been listening to other bands as well, and when the Elastica song “Waking Up” was released, the clear debt it owed to “No More Heroes” prompted a second settlement. Still, if you’re going to steal, steal big, and steal well: “No More Heroes” is a fine example of The Stranglers’ knack for a tune that set them apart from some of their peers, with its distinctive keyboard melody and lyric:
Whatever happened to the heroes?
“No More Heroes” reached number eight in the UK singles chart on its release in September 1977. The album it was taken from was the second album released by The Stranglers in 1977 after Rattus Norvegicus. Both were among the top selling albums of that year.