Rattus Norvegicus (album)

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Rattus Norvegicus
Stranglers - Rattus Norvegicus album cover.jpg
Studio album by The Stranglers
Released 15 April 1977 (1977-04-15)
Recorded 20 December 1976 – 28 January 1977 at TW Studios, Fulham, Olympic Studios, Barnes, London
Genre Art punk, punk rock
Length 50:59
Label United Artists
Producer Martin Rushent
The Stranglers chronology
Rattus Norvegicus
No More Heroes
Singles from Rattus Norvegicus
  1. "Grip"
    Released: 28 January 1977
  2. "Peaches"
    Released: 21 May 1977
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Rattus Norvegicus (alternative title The Stranglers IV) is the debut studio album by the Stranglers, released on 17 April 1977.[2] The album was originally to be entitled Dead on Arrival but was changed at the last minute.[3] It was one of the highest-selling albums of the punk era in Britain, eventually achieving platinum record sales.

The album's title is the taxonomic name for the common Brown Rat. It 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". Two singles were taken from the album: "Grip" (released as a double A-side with album track "London Lady"), and "Peaches" (released as a double A-side with the non-album track "Go Buddy Go"), which gave the band their first major hit single, reaching No. 8 on the UK Singles Chart.[4] A remastered version of the album was reissued on CD in 2001, including these three additional tracks. The album launch party was held in Chelsea's Water Rat pub, in the World's End of the King's Road.

The album peaked at No. 4 in the UK Albums Chart, eventually spending 34 weeks on the chart.[5][6]

NME ranked it at number 196 in its 2014 list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[7]

The album was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Track listing[edit]

All songs credited as written by the Stranglers

Side 1[edit]

1. "Sometimes" (4:56)

Written by Hugh Cornwell, describes a violent argument with a girlfriend.[8] The same girlfriend is the subject of "Strange Little Girl" which was written earlier by Cornwell and Hans Wärmling.[9]

2. "Goodbye Toulouse" (3:12)

Music by Cornwell, lyrics by Burnel. Describes the destruction of Toulouse predicted by Nostradamus.[10]

3. "London Lady" (2:25)

Music by Cornwell, lyrics by Burnel. Loosely based on a contemporary female journalist.[11]

4. "Princess of the Streets" (4:34)

Written in 6/8 time, music and lyrics by Burnel. Penned 'pre-Stranglers'.[12]

5. "Hanging Around" (4:25)

Music by Burnel, lyrics by Cornwell. Describes the characters found in the London pubs that the band played live at.[13]

Side 2[edit]

6. "Peaches" (4:03)

Burnel/Cornwell. The Stranglers influenced by reggae.[14]

7. "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)" (3:55)

Music and lyrics by Cornwell. Based on band life in their Chiddingfold squat, featured Eric Clarke, a Welsh coal miner, on saxophone.[15]

8. "Ugly"(4:03)

Music and lyrics by Burnel. Described as 'abstract psychedelia' by Cornwell, the poem Ozymandias is featured.[16]

9. "Down in the Sewer" (7:30)

Has four sections: "Falling"/"Down In The Sewer"/"Trying To Get Out Again"/"Rat's Rally". Music by Burnel, lyrics by Cornwell. The 'sewer' refers to London.[17]

Bonus 7" (limited first issue)[edit]

1. "Peasant in the Big Shitty" – Live

2. "Choosey Susie"

2001 bonus tracks[edit]

10. "Choosey Susie" (3:14)

Music and lyrics by Burnel, describes the same girl as "Princess of the Streets".[18]

11. "Go Buddy Go" (3:58)

Music and lyrics by Burnel, middle 8 by Cornwell. Uses verse chord structure of "Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix for the chorus. Written 'pre-Stranglers'.[19]

12. "Peasant in the Big Shitty (Live at 'The Nashville', 10 Dec 1976)" (3:42)

Music and lyrics by Burnel, written in 9/4 time. Another observation on life in a city. Recorded for Rattus Norvegicus.[20]


The Stranglers[edit]

Additional musician[edit]




  1. ^ Cleary, David. "The Stranglers: Rattus Norvegicus > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  2. ^ The Stranglers: VI/Rattus Norvegicus at Discogs (list of releases)
  3. ^ Buckley 1997, p. 75
  4. ^ Buckley 1997, p. 292
  5. ^ "Stranglers IV (Rattus Norvegicus)". ChartStats.com. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  6. ^ Buckley 1997, p. 291
  7. ^ "Rocklist.net NME: The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time : October 2013". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. 1992-05-09. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  8. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, p. 15
  9. ^ Cornwell 2004, pp. 98–99
  10. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, p. 19
  11. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, p. 22
  12. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, pp. 23–25
  13. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, p. 27.
  14. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, pp. 29–30
  15. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, pp. 33–34
  16. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, pp. 36–37
  17. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, pp. 38–43
  18. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, p. 344
  19. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, pp. 44–45
  20. ^ Cornwell & Drury 2001, pp. 69–71


  • 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]