Black and White (The Stranglers album)

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Black and White
Studio album by
Released12 May 1978
RecordedFebruary–March 1978
("In the Shadows", July 1977)[1][2]
StudioT.W. Studios, Fulham, London
LabelUnited Artists (UK)
A&M (US)
ProducerMartin Rushent
The Stranglers chronology
No More Heroes
Black and White
The Raven
Singles from Black and White
  1. "Nice 'n' Sleazy"
    Released: April 1978
  2. "Walk On By"
    Released: July 1978[3]

Black and White is the third studio album by English new wave band the Stranglers. It was released on 12 May 1978, through record label United Artists in most of the world and A&M in America.


As with the Stranglers' first two albums, Black and White was produced by Martin Rushent. The album sees the Stranglers adopting a more experimental approach to song structures and time signatures (for example, "Curfew" features 7/4 time).[4]

The band recorded a version of "Sweden" sung in Swedish, called "Sverige", and released it in Sweden. The song was partly inspired by Cornwell's PhD placement at Lund University in the mid-1970s. In an anecdote related in the Swedish online magazine Blaskan, it is stated that the song was inspired by a disastrous visit to Sweden during a European tour, when a gig was violently interrupted by a gang of "raggare" (greasers).[5]

The song title "Death and Night and Blood" is taken from a line from Yukio Mishima's novel Confessions of a Mask.

The song "In the Shadows" had previously been released as the B-side to the band's 1977 single "No More Heroes".


Black and White was released on 12 May 1978. The album peaked at No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart, spending eighteen weeks on the chart.[6]

The first 75,000 LPs came with a free white vinyl 7" composed of three tracks: "Walk On By" (a cover of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song written for and originally recorded by Dionne Warwick), "Mean to Me" and "Tits".

The US version of the album, on the A&M label, was pressed on black and white marbled vinyl, but came without the three-track single.

Singles released from the album were "Nice 'n' Sleazy", b/w "Shut Up", and "Walk On By", b/w "Tank" and "Old Codger". "Old Codger" featured a guest vocal from jazz singer George Melly. An edited version of "Walk On By" with "Tank" was also pressed as a double A-side radio-play single.

Most of these tracks were included in the remastered 2001 CD re-issue of the album.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[8]
The Great Rock Discography7/10[9]
Record Collector[10]
Record Mirror[11]

Reviews of the album were positive. NME called the 'A' side "by far the best work they've ever done", Tim Lott of Record Mirror said the album "belies my expectations of The Stranglers as a spent force" and Melody Maker stated the album, while not as good as their debut, showed that the band could "enlarge their ideas and still come up with good tunes".[13]

Some retrospective critics view Black and White in a lesser light to the band's previous albums. AllMusic called it "arguably the weakest" of the Stranglers' first three albums, "yet it still has some absolutely stunning moments."[7] Trouser Press wrote, "Black and White lacks only good songs. Except for "Nice 'n' Sleazy", most of the tracks are merely inferior rehashes of earlier work, making the LP easily forgettable."[14]

Conversely, David Quantick writing for BBC Music said "The Stranglers turned everything round on their third album", stating that the album was both "essential" and "extraordinary" and "displayed clear influences on the work of Gang of Four and Joy Division.".[15] Record Collector's Tim Peacock said Black and White "served notice that the Stranglers had already outstripped punk", calling it "stark, compelling and every inch as necessary as contemporaneous envelope-pushers including PiL's First Issue and Wire's Chairs Missing."[16]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by the Stranglers (Hugh Cornwell, Jean-Jacques Burnel, Dave Greenfield and Jet Black), except as noted. All CD releases (except the 2018 reissue) have a slightly different running order, with "Hey! (Rise of the Robots)" appearing after "Outside Tokyo" and "In the Shadows" coming after "Threatened"[17]

White side
2."Nice 'n' Sleazy"3:11
3."Outside Tokyo"2:06
4."Mean to Me" (original cassette release only[18])1:55
5."Sweden (All Quiet on the Eastern Front)"2:47
6."Hey! (Rise of the Robots)"2:13
7."Toiler on the Sea"5:23
Black side
9."Do You Wanna"2:38
10."Death and Night and Blood (Yukio)"2:50
11."In the Shadows"4:15
12."Enough Time"4:16
Total length:39:50
Bonus 7"
1."Walk On By"Burt Bacharach, Hal David6:22
2."Mean to Me" 1:55
3."Tits" (live at the Hope and Anchor Front Row Festival, London, 22 November 1977) 5:25
Total length:13:42
2001 CD reissue bonus tracks
13."Mean to Me" Cassette album track; Black and White bonus single1:55
14."Walk On By"Bacharach, DavidNon-album single, 1978; Black and White bonus single6:22
15."Shut Up" B-side of "Nice 'n' Sleazy"1:07
16."Sverige" Non-album single, 19782:49
17."Old Codger" B-side of "Walk On By"2:49
18."Tits" (live) Black and White bonus single5:25
Total length:60:13
2016 expanded vinyl edition

Self-released by the Stranglers, Black and White received a deluxe vinyl reissue in 2016, limited to 1000 numbered copies. The original 12-track album is coupled with a bonus 7-track album, which includes various associated tracks from the period and the previously unreleased "Social Secs/Wasting Time".[19]

  • Side one and two as per original vinyl edition
Side three
1."Walk On By"Bacharach, DavidNon-album single6:21
2."Mean to Me" Cassette album track; Black and White bonus single1:55
3."Sverige (Jag Är Insnöad På Östfronten)" Non-album single2:49
4."Shut Up" B-side of "Nice 'n' Sleazy"1:06
Side four
5."Social Secs/Wasting Time"Previously unreleased3:54
6."Old Codger"B-side of "Walk On By"2:53
7."Tits" (live)Black and White bonus single5:25
Total length:24:23
2018 CD reissue bonus tracks (Parlophone)
(Associated recordings)
13."Shut Up"B-side of "Nice 'n' Sleazy"1:06
14."Walk On By"Non-album single6:21
15."Mean to Me"Cassette album track; Black and White bonus single1:55
16."Tits" (live)Black and White bonus single5:26
17."Old Codger"B-side of "Walk On By"2:51
18."Sverige (Jag Är Insnöad På Östfronten)"Non-album single2:51
19."Walk On By" (single edit)Promo single4:25
Total length:64:55


The Stranglers
Additional personnel
  • Martin Rushent – production
  • Alan Winstanleyengineering; co-production ("Old Codger")[20]
  • Kevin Sparrow – sleeve design
  • Ruan O'Lochlainn – cover photography
  • The Stranglers – co-production ("Old Codger")[20]
  • Andy Pearce – remastering (2016 vinyl reissue)
  • Pete Mew – remastering (2018 CD reissue)


  1. ^ "History: 40th anniversary of 1977 - part 2". 3 January 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b "JJ Burnel: Black and White - track by track". The Stranglers Ratter. 18 May 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  3. ^ "The Stranglers - Discography (UK)". 45cat. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  4. ^ Cornwell, Hugh; Drury, Jim (2001). The Stranglers: Song by Song. Sanctuary Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-86074-362-5.
  5. ^ "I huvudet på en gammal punkare". Blaskan. 2006. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Stranglers". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  7. ^ a b Ogg, Alex. "Black and White – The Stranglers". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Stranglers". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  9. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2002). The Great Rock Discography (6th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 1012. ISBN 1-84195-312-1.
  10. ^ Peacock, Tim (April 2018). "The Stranglers – Rattus Norvegicus, No More Heroes, Black And White, Live (X Cert), The Raven, The Gospel According To The Meninblack, La Folie". Record Collector. No. 478. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  11. ^ Lott, Tim (13 May 1978). "Ugly but Nice". Record Mirror. p. 20.
  12. ^ McAllister, Donna (13 May 1978). "Lewd lullabies". Sounds. p. 45.
  13. ^ Twomey, Chris (1992). The Stranglers - The Men They Love To Hate. EMI Records Ltd. pp. 51–52.
  14. ^ Robbins, Ira. "Stranglers". Trouser Press. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  15. ^ Quantick, David (2012). "The Stranglers Black And White Review". BBC Music. BBC. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  16. ^ Peacock, Tim. "Rattus Norvegicus - The Stranglers". Record Collector. Diamond Publishing. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Black and White - Versions". Discogs. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  18. ^ "Black and White - Cassette release". Discogs. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  19. ^ "Black And White vinyl reissue". Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  20. ^ a b "The Stranglers - Walk On By / Old Codger / Tank". Discogs. Retrieved 3 February 2022.

External links[edit]