The troubadour in action.Jonathan Richman
(born May 16, 1951) is a proflific American singer-songwriter. He rose to underground fame as leader of The Modern Lovers
, who were among the Trope Makers
of Punk Rock
during the early 1970s. After the band broke up, Jonathan ("Jojo
") made a Heel-Face Turn
towards mellow acoustic rock, that couldn't be more different to the Modern Lovers' edgy and intense proto-punk rock. He is recognized for his innocent lyrics, charismatic stage prescence, "wide-eyed" performances and distinctive lo-fi style of acoustic rock.Discography:
- Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers (1976)
- Rock 'N' Roll With the Modern Lovers (1977)
- Modern Lovers 'Live' (1978)
- Back in Your Life (1979)
- Jonathan Sings! (1983)
- Rockin' and Romance (1985)
- It's Time For... (1986)
- Modern Lovers 88 (1988)
- Jonathan Richman (1989)
- Jonathan Goes Country (1990)
- Having a Party With Jonathan Richman (1991)
- I, Jonathan (1992)
- Jonathan, te vas a emocionar! (1994)
- You Must Ask the Heart (1995)
- Surrender to Jonathan (1996)
- I'm So Confused (1999)
- Her Mystery Not of High Heels and Eye Shadow (2001)
- Not So Much to Be Loved as to Love (2004)
- Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild (2008)
- ¿A qué venimos sino a caer? (2008)
- O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth (2010)
This man is associated with the following tropes:
- Breakup Breakout: He became the most popular member of the disfunct band. He also recruited a new band of the same name as a backing band.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Sings songs about Yetis in a supermarket and Aliens visiting earth on a regular basis.
- He doesn't allow air conditioning during his concerts, because it is "fake air".
- Denser and Wackier: And how. It's not like The Modern Lovers were the most serious band of all time, but his solo music is downright goofy compared to that.
- Double Entendre: Sometimes blatantly averted, to the confusion of people not familiar with his innocent music.
- Examples: Ice Cream Man is not about a drug dealer, it's a celebration of the ice-cream man. Buzz Buzz Buzz is not a metaphor for wild sex in nature, it's about bees. I was Dancing in a Lesbian Bar is in fact about dancing in a lesbian bar and nothing else.
- At other times he plays them straight. My Love Is a Flower clearly is about A Date with Rosie Palms.
- Epic Rocking: Maybe one of the strangest examples: the 8-minute long doo-wop hommage Ice Cream Man.
- Emotional Bruiser: Once again, his ballads, in which he intentionally plays against the light-hearted tone of his music.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Jonathan Goes Country is, well, a country album.
- Gentle Giant: He is a tall man and had been quite muscular back in the 70s, contrasting with his absurdly soft music and cloudcuckoolander persona.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Jonathan, te vas a emocionar! An entire album of Jonathan going spanish.
- Greek Chorus: Memorably played the part in There's Something About Mary.
- Genki Boy: His highly entertaining life performances.
- Idiosyncratic Cover Art: His album covers are often goofy or corny shots of him.
- Love Nostalgia Song: Back in Your Life is an entire album of these.
- Man Child
- Pastiche: Completely anachronistic surf-rock instrumentals that are frequently included in his albums.
- Serious Business: Inverted, all the time. Nothing of Jonathan Richman's solo career even makes the slightest impression of being the result of hard work. Bandmate Ned Claflin remarked in the liner notes of I, Jonathan that "nothing you do with Jonathan is ever work".
- Ur Example: Of Indie Folk, Anti-Folk and Lo-Fi rock music in general. Members of the next generation of musicians followed his lo-fi approach, such as Violent Femmes or Daniel Johnston.