100 Greatest Songs of the 70’s #49 Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner

Released: 1976

Hard luck or hard talk, but at the time Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers went overground, very few of those waxing lyrical about Roadrunner’s primal rock n’ roll virtues knew it had been written years previously and then left on the shelf.

The various stories explaining why had differing levels of credibility, from Richman himself being unhappy with a John Cale produced batch of songs recorded for Warner Brothers, through the label finding the material just too out there for consideration and including a rumour that the various session tapes had ended up in the hands of numerous unidentified parties.

The first line up disintegrated (Jerry Harrison joined Talking Heads and David Robinson The Cars) but the original recordings eventually made it into the public domain as The Modern Lovers.

Roadrunner opened the album; from it’s ragged count-in to the circular joy of doing nothing other than driving around, it’s bony rock n’ roll character could be projected onto anything by anyone with half the means to do so. As it turned out it was so behind the times when it was first written that it was light years ahead of them. Who knew? Very few people, up until that point.

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