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Hugh Cornwell


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Hugh Cornwell is an English musician & songwriter, best known for being the vocalist, guitarist and original founder of the British punk/new wave group The Stranglers, 1974–90.

Cornwell was born in London, England in 1949 - growing up in Tufnell Park and Kentish Town - and attended William Ellis School in Highgate, where he was friends with Richard Thompson, later a member of Fairport Convention. In the late 1960s, having obtained a degree in biochemistry from Bristol University, he embarked on postgraduate research post in Lund University, southern Sweden. Not long after his arrival he formed a band, Johnny Sox.

Cornwell did not complete his doctorate and returned to the UK, in 1974. Soon after, he formed The Stranglers with Jet Black, Hans Warmling and Jean Jacques Burnel. By 1977 they had secured a deal with United Artists records and become the highest selling band on the UK punk scene and had several hit singles and albums.

By the time Cornwell reached his thirties, the British punk scene had died down and he was prompted to start a solo career in case the Stranglers broke up. He recorded his first album away from the group, Nosferatu, in collaboration with the Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band’s drummer, Robert Williams, in 1979.

Shortly before his 41st birthday Cornwell decided that the band could go no further artistically. He recorded the albums 10 and Saturday Night/Sunday Morning before leaving after sixteen years in the band. He described life with the Stranglers as brilliant, but he felt he had a dark coat over him. His biographical writing attest to many conflicts within the band, particularly between Cornwell and Burnel.


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