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The Stranglers pay tribute after covid-19 claims founding member Dave Greenfield

Martin Cooper May 5, 2020

Fellow founding members of punk band The Stranglers have paid tribute to keyboard player Dave Greenfield, who has died aged 71.

He tested positive for covid-19 after contracting the virus during a hospital stay related to heart problems.

Greenfield wrote the music to the band’s biggest hit, Golden Brown, which reached number two in the UK singles chart in 1982 and won an Ivor Novello award.

The singer-songwriter originated from Whitehawk, Brighton, and joined the band in 1975, when they were called The Guildford Stranglers.

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Despite claiming he had only heard a couple of tracks by The Doors, Greenfield was often compared to keyboard player Ray Manzarek. He later cited his main influences as Jon Lord, of Deep Purple, and Rick Wakeman, of Yes.

Whatever his inspiration, Greenfield brought musicality to The Stranglers’ raw punk sound. It was a sound he later claimed was “more New Wave than punk”.

The Stranglers’ early gigs were beset by violence, with Greenfield sometimes the only member left onstage while his bandmates – Jean-Jacques Burnel (bass and vocals), Jet Black (drums) and Hugh Cornwell (guitar and vocals) – fought with the audience.

‘The difference’

Cornwell tweeted: “He was the difference between The Stranglers and every other punk band. His musical skill and gentle nature gave an interesting twist to the band. He should be remembered as the man who gave the world the music of Golden Brown.”

Burnel told the BBC: “All of us in the worldwide Stranglers family grieve and send our sincerest condolences to (his wife) Pam.”

Black added: “Dave was a natural in music. Together we toured the globe endlessly and it was clear he was adored by millions. A huge talent, a great loss, he is dearly missed.”

The band’s other hits included No More Heroes, Peaches and Something Better Change. They continued touring and recording after Cornwell left in 1990. The band recently postponed their farewell tour, which was due to take place this summer, because of the pandemic.

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Martin Cooper is a senior editor and writer at The Focus. The man behind the style guide comes from a newspaper and magazine background and has worked in the sports, aeronautical and hospitality industries. While head of production at The Argus he appeared on the Jeremy Vine radio show and worked as a freelancer on the sports desk at The Sunday Times. Martin is also an FA Level 1-qualified coach and took his youth team from division five to division one in two seasons before going out at the top.