Friday, 9 December 2022

Whatever Happened To The Heroes?

Celebrating Jet Black aka Brian Duffy of The Stranglers, 26th August 1938 to 6th December 2022.
When I first started buying vinyl (mostly second hand) in the mid-Eighties, The Collection 1977-1982 was an essential purchase for me, as was the Always The Sun 12" single. In the Nineties and a shift to shiny discs, All Twelve Inches was another must have. Little has changed over the years: I've not bought any of The Stranglers' albums, whether the years with Hugh Cornwell or subsequently with Paul Roberts and Baz Warne.
I still keep coming back to those compilations though and I've picked up a few more singles in later years. Jet Black's drumming underpins The Stranglers' sound and it's hard to imagine the band without him (yes, I'm aware that ill health forced him to stop touring in 2015 and officially retire from the band in 2018, whilst The Stranglers continue to this day). It sounds incredible but in 1974 Jet left behind his successful business and a fleet of ice cream vans to return to music full-time with The (Guildford) Stranglers. That's commitment for you. There's a great tribute to Jet on The Stranglers' official website.
Today's selection is nowhere near a best of The Stranglers but it does include some personal favourites and several from the aforementioned compilations, including Waltzinblack, which gained greater notoriety as the theme from "gastronaut" and bon viveur Keith Floyd's TV show in the Eighties.
Take it easy, Jet. 

1) Always The Sun (Hot Mix) (1986)
2) Shah Shah A Go Go (12" Version) (1980)
3) 5 Minutes (1978)
4) (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) (Single Version) (1977)
5) Let Me Down Easy (Extended Version) (1985)
6) Nice 'n' Sleazy (1978)
7) Waltzinblack (1981)
8) Midnight Summer Dream (Special 12" Mix By Tony Visconti) (1982)
9) No More Heroes (Edit) (1977)

1977: (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) EP: 4
1978: 5 Minutes EP: 3
1978: Black And White: 6
1980: Bear Cage EP: 2
1981: The Gospel According To The Meninblack: 7
1982: Midnight Summer Dream EP: 8
1982: The Collection 1977-1982: 9
1985: Let Me Down Easy EP: 5
1986: Always The Sun EP: 1
Whatever Happened To The Heroes? (44:59) (Box) (Mega)


  1. Excellent tribute. The collection 77-82 was my introduction and then I started to buy random albums.
    Rattus. The Raven. Black and White. 3 great albums. I also enjoy La Folie and the live albums but come back to those 3 time and time again.

    1. I think I was always a fan of the singles, less so of their B-sides, so maybe that's what put me off diving into the albums. I remember wishing they'd included 5 Minutes or Bear Cage on The Collection 1977-1982 and La Folie being the one that I was most likely to lift the needle on, though I grew to appreciate it.

      I enjoyed the later singles: Midnight Summer Dream, European Female, Skin Deep, Always The Sun but I was losing interest by the time The Stranglers were releasing one cover version after the next as singles in the late Eighties.

      I'll start off with your recommendations, thanks, Mike.

  2. RIP, Jet. Wonder what happened to those ice cream vans...

  3. I think they found a good cone to go to... Oh dear, sorry Rol, I don't know what came over me.

  4. Lovely tribute. My views on The Stranglers are very akin to yours. Every single seemed to be a must, but the couple of albums that I had didn't do it for the extent that they were given away decades ago to a friend in exchange for a Bauhaus album that he'd grown bored with!

    1. Ah, the albums I've swapped or traded in for credit at a local record shop to buy more. I've very occasionally regretted some of the decisions! Good call on the Bauhaus swap, though