Saturday, July 2, 2011

45 Number One Hundred

Well, here we are. This last month or so, computer woes caused this project to skip like I was dancing next to the record player, but number 100 is finally spinning. In full disclosure, I pulled the last five records of this set over a month ago and slid them into the blog during moments of computer clarity. Fitting that this record was part of the final five 45s , and is in the coveted one hundredth slot.

Mr. Lowe is Mr. Pop. Nick has been a mainstay in my pop music life since the day I became enlightened enough to not rely on commercial radio to dictate my musical choices. The link above is to the original video to "Cruel To Be Kind," Nick's only commercially successful song. You'll notice Nick's Rockpile mates appearing in various roles throughout the video, as well as Nick's ex-wife Carlene Carter playing the role of bride. In this Youtube clip from the Letterman Show , Nick implies the video contains his and Carlene's actual wedding ceremony, but he is somewhat vague. Also in this clip he shares the disdain that I also have for bland bands like Journey, Styx, and REO.

I thought I knew this single inside and out, but was surprised to learn I never noticed it was co-written by Ian Gomm, Nick's Brinzley Schwarz band mate who had an American radio hit in the late seventies with the song "Hold On." Here is Ian doing his own rendition of Cruel To Be Kind from the Nick Lowe tribute album Lowe Profile .

I was amazed at the number of Nick Lowe Youtube selections spanning his entire career. I could watch and listen to Nick all day. Some favourite selections;

"Surrender to the Rhythm" with the band Brinsley Schwarz in 1973. Great archive a young Nick Lowe.

1978 performance of "Heart of the City"

Nick performing "I Live on a Battlefield" live at Daryl's House (yes, that Daryl), with Mr. Hall and T-Bone Wolk.

Nick from 2008 performing "People Change"

A glimpse of a current Nick performance in this 2010 mini concert from the NPR "Tiny Desk Concerts" series.

Nick is responsible for connecting me with my like-minded, musically kindred spirit, friend Dan. Dan was reporting on entertainment news for a local paper when I moved to this area in the 90s. I remember being amazed that he was writing about great music in what I saw as a musically challenged town. So I contacted him and told him so. I don't remember the details, but I am pretty sure the article that pushed me to contact him was his review of Nick's "The Impossible Bird " record (1994). Shortly after that, we ended up heading to Rochester, NY to see Nick. Since then Dan and I have shared many great musical experiences, and he has opened my ears to many great pop sounds. Another great thing about Dan is that in the middle ages of his life, he has followed his passion. He picked up his guitar, got out and played, and now has a band of his own. A great inspiration to do what you love. It's never too late.

So we have reached 100. It was nice to dig through the stacks and review old thoughts. Not as many 45s bought these days. Availability, time, and $$$, are all factors. But I still remain a singles guy. I used to love to make mix tapes. I really resisted an i-pod and going digital. While it will never take the place of my love for the sound and feel of vinyl, the visual of the picture sleeve and album cover, or the beauty of a jukebox, the i-pod has taken a significant place in my musical life, and the pop songs continue to ring out with new and old artists.

Time to take this project off the turntable. Thanks for hanging in there.

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