Happy Anniversary: The Stranglers, Live (X Cert)
35 years ago today, the Stranglers released the first live album of their career, and while it would in no way, shape or form be their last (we’re not even going to tell you how many they’ve racked up over the years, but even for a band that’s been around since 1974, there’s have been a lot of ‘em), it’s definitely the one that perfectly captures a moment in time in their career.
Well, technically it’s three moments, given that the material on the original release of Live (X Cert) is actually culled from two performances at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm – one in June 1977, the other in November – and a gig at Battersea Park in September 1978. While they’re relatively far apart from a chronological standpoint, both are still excellent representations of the Stranglers’ sound during the punk era of their career, as opposed to the more artsy stuff that would follow…which in turn was set aside in favor of a more commercial sound, but that’s a post for another occasion.
It’s also notable – not to mention a very, very punk move – that the album doesn’t include one of the band’s biggest chart hits of the era, “No More Heroes.” (Perhaps that’s why the band selected the song to kick off their next live album, 1988’s All Live and All of the Night.) Oh, if you noted the use of the phrase “on the original release” in the preceding paragraph, that’s because the album’s reissue features an additional seven tracks taken from shows at the Nashville in 1976 and the Hope and Anchor, Islington in 1977.
The Stranglers are often left out of the list of prominent punk bands of the ‘70s, possibly because their sound evolved so much over the years that there was precious little trace of punk left to it, but listening to Live (X Cert) reveals the rough and tumble rockers they used to be.