One of the most iconic songs by The Stranglers, ‘Golden Brown’ is a chart-topping hit that has stood the test of time. It’s no surprise that it has been covered by so many artists and remains a popular punk song.
It’s hard to say what the true meaning of golden brown is, but it’s safe to assume that it is about a seductive substance. The lyrics suggest that it has a texture that is similar to the sun and that there is “never a frown with golden brown.”
This could be about heroin or even about a girl. Hugh Cornwell himself has stated that the song is about both. He said, “‘Golden Brown’ works on two levels: it’s about my addiction to Heroin and also about a girl.”
Throughout the song, there is a droning ambient sound that is created by an instrument called the harpsichord. It creates a dreamy, hypnotic effect that adds to the song’s overall appeal.
The song was a huge success for the band, reaching #2 on the UK singles chart in February 1982. The song is a perfect example of the band’s ability to transcend their punk image and appeal to a broader audience. It’s also a testament to how influential the band was at that time. Even the comparatively conservative BBC Radio 2 made it their single of the week!