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Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday Nite Retro

Welcome once again to Friday Nite Retro at Left in Aboite! Tonight we're taking the Lowe Road, Nick Lowe that is. And we'll throw in some related folks as well, just for fun!

Lowe, now 59, got his start at the age of 17 as a member of
Kippington Lodge. That group later changed it's name, and musical focus (to country- and blues-rock), to Brinsley Schwarz. Lowe's best-known songs from the Brinsley Schwarz era are "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding," which was a major hit for Elvis Costello in 1979, and "Cruel to Be Kind," a song the other band members rejected but which later became a big solo hit for Lowe.

Lowe performing PL&U live on Jimmy Kimmel - 1997

Cruel to be kind (Original music video-1979)

Cruel to be Kind was co-written by Ian Gomm, who had his own hit single from one of my favorite album titles of all time - Gomm With the Wind. The track:

Hold On

After leaving
Brinsley Schwarz in the mid-1970s, Lowe began playing in Rockpile with Dave Edmunds. Because the two main singers in Rockpile had contracts with different record labels and managers, albums were always credited to either Lowe or Edmunds, so there is only one official Rockpile album, which wasn't released until the waning days of the collaboration—1980's Seconds of Pleasure, featuring the Lowe songs "When I Write The Book" and "Heart."

Rockpile - Teacher Teacher

Dave Edmunds - I Hear You Knocking

Dave Edmunds - Slipping Away

Labour of Lust and Edmund's Repeat When Necessary, were effectively Rockpile albums. Rockpile's demise was hastened by a number of conflicts between Lowe's and Edmunds' respective managers, not Lowe and Edmunds themselves.

Rockpile - So It Goes

Heart of the City

Lowe's best-known song from this era is probably
"I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock 'n' Roll)" (the verse structure and topic adapted from Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell", but adding a chorus section to Berry's verse-after-verse format). On the 1977 Live Stiffs compilation with a pickup group called Last Chicken in the Shop, he virtually sneers out his contempt for all concerned; in 1985, fronting Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit on the album The Rose of England (album), he hasn't changed the words, but the tone is entirely different, even affectionate (the song was produced by Huey Lewis, while his band The News played on the track).

I Knew the Bride(When She Used to Rock and Roll)

In 1979, Lowe married country singer
Carlene Carter, daughter of country singers Carl Smith and June Carter Cash and stepdaughter of Johnny Cash. He adopted her daughter, Tiffany Anastasia Lowe. The marriage ended in the mid-eighties, but they remained friends, and Lowe remained close to the Carter/Cash family. He played and recorded with Johnny Cash, and Cash recorded several of Lowe's songs. Lowe's first son, Roy Lowe, was born in 2005.

After the demise of
Rockpile, Lowe toured for a period with his band Noise To Go and later with The Cowboy Outfit, which also included noted keyboard player Paul Carrack. Lowe was also a member of the short-lived mainly studio project Little Village with John Hiatt, Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner.

In 1992,
"(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" was covered by Curtis Stigers on the soundtrack album to The Bodyguard, an album that sold over 15 million copies. Because Lowe received royalties from these sales, he suddenly found himself a millionaire. Freed from commercial constraints, Lowe has recorded more solo albums in his own very individual style to critical acclaim.

Lowe is yet the latest of several artists whom I've profiled here, in my humble little odes to music of days gone by, who have surprised me with the depth of their careers. I knew
"Cruel to be Kind", and that's all. I'm also amazed by the relationships to other artists when I research these posts. I never would have linked Ian Gomm, Elvis Costello, or John Hiatt to a perceived "one hit wonder" like Lowe. . .pleasantly surprised once more!

Drop by Nick Lowe's official site and show him some love and appreciation! Until next time, keep the tunes cranking and the mind open. . .

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Blogger enigma4ever said...

wow..this is excellent..I feel 16 again;-)

great roundup....

title="comment permalink">August 09, 2008 6:05 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

Enigma - Then my work was successful! =)

title="comment permalink">August 10, 2008 7:23 PM  

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