The Stranglers Drummer Jet Black Dead at 84

The musician born Brian John Duffy died Tuesday after "years of ill health"

Photo: Stranglers France Service

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Dec 8, 2022

Jet Black (a.k.a. Brian John Duffy), drummer of long-running UK new wave act the Stranglers, has died. He was 84.

Black passed away peacefully at his country home in Wales on Tuesday (December 6) following "years of ill health." He retired from performing with the band in 2015, having suffered respiratory issues since childhood. The musician is survived by wife Ava and his two children, Anthony and Charlotte.

"It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of our dear friend and colleague Jet Black," the Stranglers posted across their social media channels. "Jet died peacefully at home surrounded by his family. Feel free to leave your memories and tributes in the comments here. Please respect the family's privacy at this difficult time. Fond adieu, fly straight JB."

Bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel added, "The welcoming committee has doubled," referring to the Stranglers' keyboardist Dave Greenfield, who died in 2020. "After years of ill health, Jet has finally been released. He was a force of nature. An inspiration. The Stranglers would not have been if it wasn't for him. The most erudite of men. A rebel with many causes."

Guitarist Baz Warne wrote, "I loved Jet. He took me under his wing over two decades ago and I never really came out from under it. I'm so very sad he's gone."

The Stranglers formed in Guildford in 1974, with Black and Burnel among the founding members. They became associated with the burgeoning punk rock movement, opening the first UK tours for American acts like Patti Smith and the Ramones. The band's third album, 1978's Black and White, is widely considered to be the first post-punk record. According to the UK charts, the Stranglers had 23 top 40 singles and 19 top 40 albums. They released their most recent album, Dark Matters, in 2021; with a career spanning five decades, the group are one of the longest-surviving bands to come out of the UK punk scene.

Prior to starting the band, Black was a successful businessman who, at one point, owned a fleet of ice cream trucks. He also had a background in jazz drumming, which helped him to develop a unique playing style that would set the Stranglers apart.

See the surviving band members' tributes to the late drummer below.

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