Rattus Norvegicus (album)

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Rattus Norvegicus
Stranglers - Rattus Norvegicus album cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released15 April 1977 (1977-04-15)
Recorded20 December 1976 – 28 January 1977
StudioTW Studios, Fulham, Olympic Studios, Barnes, London, England
Genre
Length40:05
LabelUnited Artists
ProducerMartin Rushent
The Stranglers chronology
Rattus Norvegicus
(1977)
No More Heroes
(1977)
Singles from Rattus Norvegicus
  1. "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)"
    Released: 28 January 1977
  2. "Peaches"
    Released: 21 May 1977

Rattus Norvegicus (alternative title The Stranglers IV) is the debut studio album by the Stranglers, released on 15 April 1977.

It was one of the highest-selling albums of the punk era in Britain, eventually achieving platinum record sales. Two of its tracks, "Peaches" and "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)", were released as 7" singles in the UK.

Background[edit]

The album was originally going to be titled Dead on Arrival but it was changed at the last minute.[2] The released title is the taxonomic name for the common brown rat. The album was produced in one week by Martin Rushent and was a snapshot of the band's live set at the time.

The first 10,000 copies of the original vinyl release included a free 7" single, containing "Peasant in the Big Shitty (live)" and "Choosey Susie".

A remastered version of the album was reissued on CD in 2001 and included these three additional tracks. The album launch party was held in the Water Rat pub on the King's Road, in the World's End district of Chelsea.

Lyrics[edit]

According to the book The Stranglers-Song by Song, "Sometimes" describes a violent argument with a girlfriend.[3] The same girlfriend is the subject of "Strange Little Girl" which was written earlier by Cornwell and Hans Wärmling.[4] "Goodbye Toulouse" describes the destruction of Toulouse predicted by Nostradamus.[5]

"London Lady" is loosely based on a contemporary female journalist[6], and "Hanging Around" describes the characters found in the London pubs that the band played live at.[7] In 1981, it was covered by Hazel O'Connor on her third album, Cover Plus, and released by her as a single that same year.

"(Get a) Grip (On Yourself)" is based on the band's life in their Chiddingfold squat. It features Eric Clarke, a Welsh coal miner, on saxophone.[8] "Ugly" mentions the poem Ozymandias.[9]

"Down in the Sewer" has four sections: Falling, Down in the Sewer, Trying To Get Out Again, and Rat's Rally. The 'sewer' refers to London.[10] Lyrically the song references an episode of the 1975 post-apocalyptic BBC TV drama Survivors titled "Lights of London", where the protagonists leave the safety of a farming community to head for the city, which they find can only be entered through a rat infested sewer.

Reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[12]
The Village VoiceC[13]

Rattus Norvegicus was ranked at No. 10 among the top "Albums of the Year" for 1977 by NME, with "Peaches" ranked at No. 18 among the year's top tracks.[14] NME later ranked it at No. 196 in its 2014 list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[15] It was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[16] In 2000 it was voted number 766 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.[17]

During promotion of The Head on the Door in 1985, Robert Smith of the Cure cited Rattus Norvegicus as one of his five favorite albums.[18]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Sometimes"Hugh Cornwell4:56
2."Goodbye Toulouse"Jean-Jacques Burnel3:12
3."London Lady"Burnel2:25
4."Princess of the Streets" (Penned 'pre-Stranglers')Burnel4:34
5."Hanging Around"Cornwell4:25
6."Peaches"Burnel/Cornwell4:03
7."(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)"Cornwell3:55
8."Ugly"Burnel4:03
9."Down in the Sewer"Cornwell7:30
Total length:40:05
2001 bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
10."Choosey Susie"Burnel3:14
11."Go Buddy Go"Burnel3:58
12."Peasant in the Big Shitty" (Live at The Nashville pub in West Kensington, 10 Dec 1976[19])Burnel3:42

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart Peak

Position

Certifications

(sales thresholds)

UK Albums Chart[20] 4 UK: Platinum[21]
Australian Charts 82
Single Chart Peak

Position

Certifications

(sales thresholds)

"(Get a) Grip (On Yourself)" UK Singles Chart[22] 44
New Zealand Chart 35
"Peaches" UK Singles Chart 8 UK: Silver[23]
Australian Chart 54

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.K. Punk's Dark Lord, the Stranglers' Hugh Cornwell, Brings New Aggro Archived 28 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Buckley 1997, p. 75
  3. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, p. 15
  4. ^ Cornwell 2004, pp. 98–99
  5. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, p. 19
  6. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, p. 22
  7. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, p. 27.
  8. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, pp. 33–34
  9. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, pp. 36–37
  10. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, pp. 38–43
  11. ^ Cleary, David. "Rattus Norvegicus – The Stranglers". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  12. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert (5 September 1977). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 18 June 2017. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2016. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Rocklist.net NME: The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time : October 2013". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. 9 May 1992. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  16. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  17. ^ Colin Larkin (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 242. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  18. ^ "The Cure on 4C+" Robert Smith interview. Canal plus. 11 December 1985. Retrieved 7 June 2015 on youtube.
  19. ^ Note: "The Nashville" was later renamed "The Three Kings" and is situated next door to the exit from West Kensington Tube Station
  20. ^ "Rattus Norvegicus". Official Charts. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Stranglers - Rattus Norvegicus". bpi. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  22. ^ "Stranglers". Official Charts. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  23. ^ "Stranglers - Peaches". bpi. Retrieved 6 June 2019.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Buckley, David (1997). No Mercy-The Authorised and Uncensored Biography of The Stranglers. London: Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-68062-8.
  • Cornwell, Hugh (2004). A Multitude of Sins. London: Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 0-00-719082-4.
  • Cornwell, Hugh; Drury, Jim (2001). The Stranglers-Song by Song. London: Sanctuary Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-86074-362-5.

External links[edit]