Dave Greenfield  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



David Paul Greenfield (29 March 1949 – 3 May 2020) was an English composer, musician, keyboardist and singer who was a member of rock band The Stranglers.

He joined the band in 1975, within a year of its formation, and played with them for 45 years until his death.

The international hit "Golden Brown" came about as a piece of waltz-time harpsichord music written by Greenfield during recording for The Meninblack, which was discarded by other members of The Stranglers.



Greenfield was born in the south coast seaside resort of Brighton. He played in local progressive rock band Rusty Butler

Musical style and equipment

His sound and style of playing, particularly on The Stranglers' debut album Rattus Norvegicus, has frequently been compared to that of Ray Manzarek of the Doors. The comparison was even made at the Stranglers' inception by Jean-Jacques Burnel, who claimed that Greenfield had not heard of the Doors at the time.

He was also noted for his trademark style of playing rapid arpeggios. His distinctive sound on the early Stranglers recordings involved the use of Hohner Cembalet (model N), Hammond L-100 electric organ, a Minimoog synthesizer, and later an Oberheim FVS-4 polyphonic synthesizer.

It was a piece of waltz-time harpsichord music written by Greenfield during recording for The Meninblack, which was discarded by other members of The Stranglers, that was later adapted into their biggest hit "Golden Brown", with lyrics from Hugh Cornwell and music from Greenfield and Jet Black, although the band themselves did not initially see this as a potential single. In addition to its chart success, the song also won an Ivor Novello award.

Vocal performances

On the albums The Raven, The Gospel According to the Meninblack and Aural Sculpture, Greenfield used a Korg VC-10 vocoder. Notable instances of this include in "Genetix" when it accompanies his own vocal and during the "Gene Regulation" section underneath Hugh Cornwell's monologue, and on "Baroque Bordello" towards the end of the song.

He also frequently contributed harmony backing vocals to the band's songs, and sang the lead vocals on a few of their early tracks, as mentioned in Hugh Cornwell's book The Stranglers, Song By Song. These tracks are:

Outside the Stranglers

In 1981, Greenfield produced the single "Back to France" by the band Boys in Darkness. Greenfield and Jean-Jacques Burnel released an album together in 1983, Fire & Water (Ecoutez Vos Murs), which was used as the soundtrack for the film Ecoutez vos murs, directed by Vincent Coudanne.


Greenfield died on 3 May 2020 from COVID-19. He was diagnosed with the coronavirus on 26 April 2020, exactly a week before his death, during an extended hospital stay for heart-related problems. He is survived by his wife, Pam. Upon news of his death, several current and former members of The Stranglers eulogized him on social media. This included Hugh Cornwell, lead vocalist on their biggest hit, "Golden Brown", who 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.'" Other artists also expressed their appreciation. Black Francis of Pixies, for example, concisely tweeted, "Long live the Stranglers."

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Dave Greenfield" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools