Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Jilted John & John Otway The Junction 2 Cambridge 6th October 2018

This was an odd one and my presence here was solely down to my daughter. At 17, even she is somewhat older than the average Jilted John fan would have been back in 1978.

The Jilted one, or to give him his correct title, Graham Fellows, is something of a talent. Not only can he claim to be the hormonally fired up adolescent John, at the other end of the spectrum he has given us the keyboard playing philosopher John Shuttleworth…… he’s even been on Coronation Street!

In 1978 he has a surprise and solitary hit with the eponymous single ‘Jilted John’ which memorably related the disintegration of his relationship with a girl by the name of Julie who had fallen for the all-round bigger, stronger and better Gordon. In a year where it seemed be impossible to avoid for more than thirty a multitude of cheesy refrains lifted from the soundtrack of the year’s biggest blockbuster, Grease, hearing Johns wretched tale of lost love was a blessed relief to all….. unless your name happened to be Gordon! Apparently listeners of BBC Radio’s 6 Music voted ‘Jilted John’ to be the greatest one hit wonder of all time.

As a rule I never like to go to a gig with knowledge of one song and one song only. Therefore I made an effort and got hold of a copy of ‘True Love Stories’, a CD which on first hearing contained 13 variants of ‘Jilted John’…… seemingly only the titles had been changed! But I persevered and actually grew to like the album in a very short time. ‘Fancy Mice’, ‘Baz’s Party’ and ‘Karen’s Letter’ are great new wave novelty songs, even if they are firmly lodged back in 1978.

Support for the evening came from the brilliantly madcap John Otway who treated us not only to his hits (amounting to two since ‘Bunsen Burner’ was hyped into the charts by his fans as a 50th birthday present!) but also his ‘twelve’ string rendition of ‘Blockbuster’ along with a new song ‘Real Tears From Both Eyes’ which amongst other things references John’s famous, ball breaking debut on the Old Grey Whistle Test!

Shortly after John vacated the stage, a teenage 59 year old sporting a t-shirt bearing the slogan ‘Legend since 1978’ bounded on to the stage only to get into a wrestling match with his anorak as the band struck up with the opening chords of yeah guess what….. ‘Jilted John’. Well thought I, there’s a confident start, how’s he gonna follow that. But he did with a run through of most of the ‘True Love Stories’ album.

But has John been doing nothing for the last 40 years? Oh no! There’s the delights of ‘Kiera Knightly’ to enjoy with its appetising refrain…

‘Kiera, Kiera, eat your dinner,
Kiera, Kiera, you can’t get much thinner,
Go to a restaurant with Michael Winner,
Kiera, Kiera, eat your dinner’.

Cerebral stuff indeed.

'Jilted John' by Jilted John
The Junction Cambridge 6th October 2018.

The set drew to a close and no surprise, surprise ‘Jilted John’ got a second airing only this time with the added vocal talents of John Otway on backing…. However John O had neglected to learn the words! But this is punk rock ’78 style so who cares!

'It's 'Gordon is a Moron!' John!'

Gaining pearls of wisdom from Jilted John.

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