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Formats and Editions
The debut album from Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers and featuring the U.S. single tracks, "New England" and "Here Come The Martian Martians."
Jonathan Richman formed The Modern Lovers in 1970 in Boston with Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), Ernie Brooks and David Robinson (The Cars). The band recorded a series of demos, first with John Cale (The Velvet Underground) and later with producer Kim Fowley. Both sets of demos were eventually released, but not until the original group had disbanded.
In 1975 Jonathan relocated to California and secured a recording deal with Beserkley Records. By 1976 he had pulled together a new version of The Modern Lovers. This group included the holdover David Robinson from the original band and added, Leroy Radcliffe and Greg `Curly' Keranen (The Rubinoos). The self-titled release delivered on Richman's desire for more acoustic and harmony-based material. Unfortunately, nearly on top of the bands' debut album release, the earlier demo material drawn mostly from the Cale demo sessions was issued, and Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers was overshadowed by "Pablo Picasso," "Roadrunner," and their-now classic-"debut." Shortly after the release of their actual self-titled debut, Robinson departed to join The Cars.
Needing a new drummer, the band found D. Sharpe (later of the Carla Bley Band) and this new line-up recorded Rock 'n' Roll With The Modern Lovers which was released in 1977 and achieved some chart success in Europe with "Egyptian Reggae" making it to #5 on the U.K. Singles Chart. Greil Marcus called it "the purist rock `n' roll album I've heard this year." However, another in the series of personnel changes, Keranen left the group. Modern Lovers `Live' followed in 1977 with new bassist Asa Brebner.
While the U.S. might not have caught on to the magic of Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers, the U.K. certainly did. Recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, `Live' features Jonathan and The Modern Lovers performing classics from their first two releases to an enthusiastic crowd. The set included the recent Top 5 U.K. single "Egyptian Reggae," as well as tracks from The Modern Lovers' previously releases plus an eight-minute version of "Ice Cream Man.
1979's Back In Your Life marked the end of any original versions of The Modern Lovers and closed the Beserkley era with Jonathan stepping back from music for a few years after its release.