Finally, Stiff’s poster boy, Nick Lowe released an album of his own. Nick had been behind the scenes but already achieved legendary status by the hordes of fans and admirers of the new Brit movement.
We already know about Nick’s keen sense of humor. For instance, David Bowie had an album called “Low”, so Nick Lowe decided to release an EP, called “Bowi” It was this kind of tongue in cheek swipe at the corporate rock world that Nick and company had become famous for.
By this time, Nick, and Elvis had left Stiff Records and started their own Radar records in the UK. Nick Lowe’s album was entitled “Jesus of Cool”. Probably one of the greatest album titles in history. The cover was 6 frames of Nick in various poses denoting every genre of music.
But Nick wasn’t fooling anybody. This was a pop album. It had some rock n roll undertones and the punk attitude was nowhere to be found. But it didn’t matter. The quality of the songs and the smart hilarious lyrics were enough to catch my attention.
Nick Lowe followed in Elvis Costello’s footsteps by signing on to Columbia records in the States. However, they felt the title “Jesus of Cool” might be deemed as offensive. Not sure why. I mean Jesus was cool, why not Nick ?
Anyway, impressively enough, they came up with an equally clever title “Pure Pop For Now People” I am sure Nick had something to do with it.
Regardless of the title, this is a brilliant album. Filled with quirky, delightful, original pop songs. Why this album never soared to the top of the charts is beyond me, but it was out when The Village People was number one, so I guess I answered my own question.
Opening with the familiar, “So It Goes”, onto the Paul Simonesque “I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass’. Highlights are “Marie Provost” about a silent film star who died way after her star had fallen . Nobody knew she had died and her dachshund dogs ate part of her corpse. Hence the lyric “she was a winner that became the doggies dinner” Tongue implanted firmly in cheek, he continued with a tribute to The Bay City Rollers in “Rollers Show”, a pop ditty about Fidel Castro called “Nutted By Reality” and many more. This album was a joy and Nick Lowe was a delight. Unfortunately nobody caught on.
Nick teamed up with rock n roller Dave Edmunds to form Rockpile, which in my estimation, turned out to be one of the best live bands I had ever seen. Pure Chuck Berry style fun rock n roll like few others.
The story goes that Rockpile had to stop touring because every band they opened for could not follow them.
Nick made a bunch of albums but none topped his debut. He still records and tours as a country balladeer, as he calls himself. A clever, funny, talented man.