Oy, it’s been awhile, and I’ve been keeping busy at the typewriter, and hope to have something substantial to share with you soon. In the meantime, I’m giving a talk in Boston on Th., 10/22, 5pm at Emerson (details in the poster here), and it’d be great to see you there. I’ll pack some books, too, in case you’re looking to get a head-start on your holiday shopping.
Now, since I’m heading to Boston, I have the Modern Lovers on my mind, and the first album in particular, which did more for punk than perhaps every other LP ever pressed. (Yes, more than any Velvet Underground or Iggy disc, I figure. The Ramones’ debut might be a worthy rival.) So, while the MA government takes up arms again in the culture war, in defense of the genius of Jonathan Richman, here’s one of the key gems from that album.
That’s some epic clapping on the bridge. Nicely done, gents. Cheers!
Welcome back to radio SAT, where of course our thoughts are with the good folks of Boston.
For this week’s gem, I turn to Sir Jonathan Richman, one of Boston’s favorite sons, and a track from his debut, self-titled LP Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.
The most heralded LP in the Richman oeuvre, of course, is The Modern Lovers, which charts at no. 48 on the recently compiled 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time, courtesy of the folks at this odd periodical called Rolling Stone magazine. There’s lots to savor here, and plenty to gnash teeth about, but I’ll save that for another day.
Meanwhile, I hope Jonathan’s dancing proves infectious, and that you have a playful rest of your week.
The Purple Hearts — “When I See You”
The casual, reckless emergence of the swastika in the UK punk scene made reference to generational conflict by way of The Third Reich: folks born in the 50s had had it with the greatest generation, and bristly appellations such as The Sex Pistols and London SS — the original name for the band formed by Mick Jones and Tony James, who left to form Generation X — emerged accordingly. (As many of you know: when Paul Simonon attended the London SS audition with Roland Hot, he was invited to try his hand at vocals, and butchered a version of The Modern Lovers’ “Road Runner.”)
The Purple Hearts, though, were not mocking decorated war heroes, but celebrating a barbituate-amphetamine cocktail popular with the mods in the 1960s. Fittingly enough, The Purple Hearts got their start with an opening gig for The Buzzcocks, rode the wave of mod revival for a few years, and subsequently broke up, reformed, broke up and, in 2009, reformed once again. This track’s got some lovely harmony vocals, some nice breaks, great production, and groovy integral intensifiers!
Thanks again for checking in. Have a rockin’ good week!