Jonathan Michael Richman (born May 16, 1951) is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. In 1970 he founded The Modern Lovers, an influential proto-punk band. Richman began playing music and writing his own songs in the mid-1960s. He became infatuated with The Velvet Underground, and in 1969 he moved to New York City, lived on the couch of their manager, Steve Sesnick, worked odd jobs and tried to break in as a professional musician. Failing at this, he returned to Boston.
While in Boston, Richman formed The Modern Lovers, a proto-punk garage rock band. Other notable members of the group were keyboard player Jerry Harrison and drummer David Robinson, who later joined Talking Heads and the Cars (2), respectively. In 1972 they recorded a series of demos with producer John Cale (formerly of the Velvet Underground). Among these songs were the seminal "Roadrunner" and "Pablo Picasso" which were eventually released on the group's post-breakup album, The Modern Lovers (August 1976).The album was unique for its time, featuring Velvets-influenced basic three-chord rock ("Roadrunner" — based on just two chords – is an homage to "Sister Ray") at a time when glam and progressive rock were the norm.
In 1975, Richman moved to California to record as a solo singer/songwriter with Beserkley Records. His first released recordings appeared on 1975's Beserkley Chartbusters compilation ... (read more at Wikipedia.)
Links to Peel
Peel enjoyed Jonathan Richman's first single Roadrunner in 1975 and by the end of the year wanted to hear more from the man. Listeners of Peel's show voted the Roadrunner track at number 33 in the 1976 Festive Fifty. By the end of the 70's, when Richman's group The Modern Lovers split, Peel had lost interest in his music.
Festive 50 Entries
- 1976 Festive Fifty: Roadrunner #33
- 08 December 1975: Roadrunner (Compilation LP-Beserkley Chartbusters Vol. 1) Beserkley (JP: "I'd like to hear more of Jonathan Richman. Well worth encouraging, I think.")
- 08 January 1976: Roadrunner
- 28 January 1976: Roadrunner
- 28 December 1976: Roadrunner (Beserkley) (1976 Festive Fifty #33) (JP: 'I hope we hear a great deal more of Jonathan Richman in 1977.')
- 28 July 1977: Dodge Veg-O-Matic (LP – Rock 'N' Roll With The Modern Lovers) Beserkley
- 29 September 1977: Roller Coaster By The Sea (7" - Egyptian Reggae) Beserkley
- 29 September 1977: Egyptian Reggae (7") Beserkley
- 04 October 1977: three unknown tracks (Peel promises "three from the Modern Lovers".)
- 28 May 1985 (Andy Kershaw): My Jeans (LP-Rockin'& Romance) Rough Trade