Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nick Lowe - "Cruel to be Kind" (forgotten song)

There are some songs that I can listen to over and over again and they're just as fresh as the first time I heard them. Nick Lowe's "Cruel to be Kind" is such a song. Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" is also such a song, but I'm pretty certain it does not qualify as a "forgotten song".

Lowe's first and only hit single in the US, "Cruel to be Kind" was released on 1979's "Labour of Lust". This song enjoyed significant contemporary radio and MTV airplay, but it seems to have mostly disappeared from the classic rock radio stations. The video (pretty good for the times) features real footage of Lowe's marriage to Carlene Carter.

Despite long-running collaborations as a song writer, musician and producer with Elvis Costello and Dave Edmunds (solo and as well as part of Rockpile), Nick Lowe has never really achieved large-scale success. You might have heard "I Knew the Bride" before, and you might not have known he wrote "What's So Funny About Peace, Love & Understanding?", but "Cruel to be Kind" will always be his most significant contribution to pop music. Give it another 10-12 consecutive listens.

"Cruel to be Kind": YouTube. Top of the Pops version: YouTube.

Bonus Link: Letters to Cleo did a decent but uninspired cover for the 1999 movie "10 Things I Hate About You": YouTube.

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