When future historians of rock music draw up a list of the movers and shakers, there will be no doubt that Hugh Cornwell’s name will be prominent amongst them as a pioneering musician and songwriter.
And he is coming to perform a show at the Apex next month.
The Stranglers emerged in the 1970s, riding on the wave of the emerging punk scene. However, the inclusion of Dave Greenfield’s “Doors-like” keyboards meant they were never regarded as a “pure” punk band. Cornwell was the main songwriter of all the band’s most memorable songs across the first 10 albums.
Their 1977 debut “Rattus Norvegicus” featured songs “Peaches” and “(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)”.
Follow up albums “No More Heroes’”, “Black and White”, “The Raven” and “The Gospel According To The MenInBlack” – which Cornwell cites as his favourite Stranglers album – gave rise to 23 Top 40 singles and consolidated Cornwell’s status as a unique songwriter and musician.
His lyrics to “Golden Brown” and their multiple meanings, is a songwriting masterclass, with the song reaching number two in the UK singles charts.
“It became a job – we should have put suits on, it was so corporate,” he explains, and so he embarked on a solo career.
In 2016 he released “This Time It’s Personal” with punk poet John Cooper Clarke, which featured their inimitable takes on songs that shaped their youth.
Cornwell released his ninth solo record “Monster” in 2018, on which he wrote about the idols that shaped and influenced his life, including ‘”La Grande Dame”, a song dedicated to his mother.
2022’s “Moments of Madness” is an album of acute, pithy and witty observations and social commentary that helps to confirm his status as the songwriter-extraordinaire of the punk era and beyond.
Hugh Cornwell is at the Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, on Thursday, November 17, at 8.15pm.
The first half will feature solo songs, with picks from “Moments of Madness”, then he will return with a full band for Stranglers’ classics, including a few never performed live before.
Tickets are available from www.theapex.co.uk or 01284 758000.