Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

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Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin instead of CBS?

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No
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Total votes: 16

StanInBlack
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Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

Post by StanInBlack » 30 Jul 2015, 22:27

Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin Records in 1982 instead of CBS, and what difference do you think it would have made?

Personally, I think Virgin Records would have been a great home for The Stranglers, especially at that time. They may have started out as somewhat of a progressive rock label, releasing albums by Mike Oldfield and Gong etc. - but by the late '70s/early '80s the label had successfully re-branded itself... just take a look at what artists were on or had been on Virgin Records in the late '70s/early '80s: The Human League, Simple Minds, Japan, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Magazine, John Foxx, Heaven 17, XTC, The Skids, The Ruts, Public Image Ltd., Penetration and much more besides. Not that they'd completely abandoned prog: they'd inherit both Peter Gabriel and Genesis in the early '80s when they bought out Charisma Records. By comparison, CBS may have had Adam and The Ants and The Clash, but they also had Michael Jackson and Paul Young.

Also, from what I can gather from Hugh's book, CBS tended to be quite hands-on with The Stranglers in offering suggestions and suchlike, which of course they'd never had during the time when United Artists had been bought out by EMI and became Liberty. It was at the suggestion of CBS to bring in Laurie Latham for Aural Sculpture, and of course CBS turned down the first version of 10, so if they had signed to Virgin the timeline would have been a little different, I guess. But would it have been for the better? Would Virgin have allowed them more creative freedom than CBS?

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Re: Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

Post by Bobinblack » 31 Jul 2015, 08:58

CBS offered more money didn't they? That's all that mattered/matters to some people, which is fair play when they've been shafted before and undervalued and rewarded.
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Re: Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

Post by Boody » 31 Jul 2015, 09:08

I just can't see them being dictated to/moulded by ANY record company so I don't think the label is that important, certainly in terms of the music they made.
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Re: Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

Post by dan-electro » 31 Jul 2015, 12:22

Due to the bad luck the band had with finances over a period since 1979. dud cheques, gigs and tours being cancelled, equipment stolen, lack of commercial success etc.. I think they had to take the money at that stage and CBS/Epic were offering more than Virgin. I also think CBS being an American company probably attracted the band (especially Hugh) as they hadn't broken the American market and I think they felt this would help. The fact they were signed to an American organisation also probably made the band go in another musical direction (hence the brass and big band sound that entered the fray in the mid 80's after Feline). I think Hugh especially wanted to target that market with that sound. That off course fell flat on it's arse. I also seem to remember Sony bought CBS in the mid-1980's and perhaps that had an influence in the way the band were promoted (hence the poor promotion of certain singles) I don't know. I think artistically Virgin would have been the best move for them but I guess at the time money was the motivator for them.
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Re: Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

Post by StanInBlack » 31 Jul 2015, 15:56

Boody wrote:I just can't see them being dictated to/moulded by ANY record company so I don't think the label is that important, certainly in terms of the music they made.
Hmm. I don't really agree with this as there are plenty of stories in Stranglers history about what the various record labels they were signed to did or didn't do. The reason that 'Aural Sculpture' sounds the way it does is that not only was Laurie Latham used at the suggestion of Muff Winwood at CBS (because he'd produced Paul Young, another CBS artist), but according to JJ himself, Laurie had a brief to follow to soften it up for the American market by CBS. The reason that '10' sounds the way it does is because CBS made them re-record it. I'd say the label had a lot to do with a lot of things.

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Re: Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

Post by StanInBlack » 31 Jul 2015, 16:09

I understand that money and promotion may have been the main factors for the band signing for CBS, and while from the sounds of it they got a bigger offer from CBS, did it really work out on the promotional side of things? I just couldn't have imagined The Stranglers ever being a priority act on that kind of massive label. Even now, looking back, going with CBS seemed like a bit of an ill fit for them... 'Feline' to me sounds more in keeping with what what going on on Virgin Records at the time rather than anything on CBS - and it's rather telling that after they'd went through the whole 'Feline' era, CBS seemed to take a more active role in The Stranglers' creative decisions.

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Re: Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

Post by Josh » 31 Jul 2015, 16:14

In hindsight, they probably should have signed with Virgin in 1982. They would've been afforded more creative freedom, and in Hugh's words, would've had "a more sympathetic environment" in which to work. Money talks though, and given the pressure they'd been under during the making of La Folie, it's understandable that they went with the bigger offer.
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Re: Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

Post by StanInBlack » 31 Jul 2015, 16:24

Y'know, it's amazing that CBS were quick to suggest producers and get the band to re-record stuff, but never once did they ever say: "Yeah, do it again, but with real drums this time." :lol:

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Re: Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

Post by Rockula » 31 Jul 2015, 16:36

From the personal experiences of musicians that I know I would say pretty much nobody should sign to Virgin.

Ever.
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Re: Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

Post by StanInBlack » 31 Jul 2015, 18:12

Rockula wrote:From the personal experiences of musicians that I know I would say pretty much nobody should sign to Virgin.

Ever.
Yup, there's also this to consider. XTC notoriously had a bit of a hard time with Virgin, however at the same time they were allowed to get away with low-selling albums for years and although there was a bit of a battle between band and label, they always ended up putting out records they were happy with while being able to get away with not touring. On the other hand, they were incredibly dissatisfied with their contract, which led them to go on strike. Virgin also put a little bit of pressure on OMD after the release of 'Dazzle Ships', however McCluskey has said in the past that just as much pressure to sell albums came from themselves. Also, if you think that Roy Thomas Baker was an unsuitable fit for The Stranglers, Virgin Records had The Human League work with Jam & Lewis, which sucked just as much.

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Re: Should The Stranglers have signed to Virgin in 1982?

Post by ThruBeingCool » 31 Jul 2015, 23:39

The the stranglers should have signed to the CRASS label in '82 if you ask me.
Total artistic freedom.

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