Stranglers – Grip/London Lady

Stranglers – (Get a) Grip (on Yourself) // London Lady (United Artists Records) 1977. Another in my series of UK punk rock classic 7inches, this may be just about the most perfect thing ever recorded. The A Side entitled “Grip” on the cover but better known as “Get A Grip On Yourself” was another great track introduced to me by the Burning Ambitions comp when I was 13. I remember just playing it over and over, blown away by the lyrics and singer Hugh Cornwell’s delivery. He just sounds so completely indignant as he martyrs himself for rock-n-roll, simultaneously thumbing his nose at punk nihilism while being utterly nihilistic. The Stranglers were older guys as evidenced by the great picture of them on the cover of this 45. They had nothing to prove to anyone and they didn’t cater to anyone. Punk isn’t supposed to have keyboards? “Fuck you”, say the Stranglers. Anyone over 20 is too old? “Eat shit”. Punk rock bands have short hair? “Blow me”. No Moustaches in punk bands? “Again, fuck you very much”. It wasn’t like they were trying to be agitators. They just didn’t give a damn. Very inspiring methinks. The B-Side of this single is further evidence. Decried by a lot of the scenesters as sexist and misogynistic with songs like London Lady and Peaches, The Stranglers response was “who cares”. After all, the money’s no good so just strap on your guitar and we’ll play some rock n’ roll.

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14 Responses to Stranglers – Grip/London Lady

  1. Garychching says:

    London Lady – one of my all time fave Stranglers songs.

  2. chris g says:

    this is siiick
    can’t believe i’ve never heard it before
    but from my point of view london lady is just anti-anglo, which is never a bad thing

  3. oldskool says:

    Grip is a fantastic track. I still like it because they did not try to sound “punkish” on it. They just didn’t care, as you say, and came up with a timeless track of utter perfection. On London Lady they do try to sound like punks, that’s why I never liked it.

  4. Roberto says:

    I remember that listen to this at the time,London Lady recalled me a modern version of Roxy Music…this single is their best.

  5. jeffen says:

    What a monster of a single (and nice write-up by the way).

  6. OTTO says:

    Never could get as into the Stranglers as some of my friends, but really liked Grip and a few other of their tunes. Still dig Grip quite a lot.

    I hit the link to the song and when it started to play, my son started to sing along. I had no idea he knew anything about the Stranglers, but apparently he had raided my iTunes to load up his iPod with early punk and rockabilly… and Grip had found its way into heavy rotation. Kid’s got better taste than his old man!

  7. Scott says:

    Hard to believe that it’s the same band that turned out “Golden Brown” (a song I love, by the way).

  8. chris g says:

    hey jay, new post on Richard Hell

    get it get getit get it

  9. chris g says:

    i mean joe, jay is the other one

  10. elliott says:

    not really my thing but hey pretty good.

  11. fernando says:

    Great writing Joe! I also listened to Grip for the 1st time in “Burning Ambitions” though I had heard the Stranglers previously (Feline, No More Heroes…). About “London Lady” I have this pet theory that this very song started the punk gimmick of having a series of minisolos in a row, sorta ridiculising the essence of the solo itself. Check the Cortinas’ first single (can’t remember which side), Johnny Moped’s “Panic Button” and so on. The culmination is the ‘solos’ section in the Revillos’ “Yeah Yeah”, unbeatable! (yeah the same very song that the 54321′s covered for Kill Bill)
    Fernando :)

  12. Joe says:

    Fernando….I’m gonna have to test this theory of yours. I love shit like that!

  13. elliott says:

    didn’t gg allin do that on the gimme some head single or am i thinking of something different.

  14. ROB says:


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