Detailed Pedia

Rattus Norvegicus (album)

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
LabelUnited Artists
ProducerMartin Rushent
The Stranglers chronology
Rattus Norvegicus
No More Heroes
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.


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.


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.

Track listing

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
7."(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)"Cornwell3:55
9."Down in the Sewer"Cornwell7:30
Total length:50:59
2001 bonus tracks
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[11])Burnel3:42

Charts and certifications

Chart Peak



(sales thresholds)

UK Albums Chart[12] 4 UK: Platinum[13]
Australian Charts 82
Single Chart Peak



(sales thresholds)

"(Get a) Grip (On Yourself)" UK Singles Chart[14] 44
New Zealand Chart 35
"Peaches" UK Singles Chart 8 UK: Silver[15]
Australian Chart 54


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[16]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[17]
The Village VoiceC[18]

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.[19] NME later ranked it at No. 196 in its 2014 list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[20] It was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[21]



  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. ^ Note: "The Nashville" was later renamed "The Three Kings" and is situated next door to the exit from West Kensington Tube Station
  12. ^ "Rattus Norvegicus". Official Charts. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Stranglers - Rattus Norvegicus". bpi. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Stranglers". Official Charts. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  15. ^ "Stranglers - Peaches". bpi. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  16. ^ Cleary, David. "Rattus Norvegicus – The Stranglers". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  17. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert (5 September 1977). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 18 June 2017. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2016. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  20. ^ " NME: The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time : October 2013". 9 May 1992. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  21. ^ 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.


  • 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

This page was last updated at 2019-11-15 22:51 UTC. Update now. View original page.

All our content comes from Wikipedia and under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.