Happy Anniversary: The Stranglers, Black and White
38 years ago today, The Stranglers released their third studio album, an effort which took them back into the top five of the UK Albums chart for the third consecutive time.
Not that there’s necessarily a correlation between the album’s producer and its subsequent success, but it’s perhaps at least worth a mention that Black and White, like Rattus Norvegicus and No More Heroes before it, was produced by Martin Rushent, whose knob-twiddling skills were wide and varied enough to find him working with folks from Shirley Bassey to the Buzzcocks. Looking back, it’s still somewhat startling that an album featuring such non-traditional song structures and time signatures should make its way so high into the charts, but you can likely attribute at least part of its sales to “Nice ‘n’ Sleazy,” the hit single from the album, which climbed to #18 in the UK.
The album’s original release also included a bonus 7” single featuring three tracks: two originals – “Mean to Me” and “Tits” – and the Stranglers’ classic cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Walk on By,” made famous by Dionne Warwick. Remarkably, the cover also turned into a hit single in the UK, hitting #21.
Black and White would prove to be the last time the Stranglers had one of their studio albums climb so high, but don’t cry for them: every studio album they released through 1995 made it into the top 40 of the UK Albums chart, and that ain’t half bad.