Kiss Me

As Drew commented, when I posted the Weatherall mix of Primal Scream’s 1990 masterpiece Come Together, ‘the Farley mix is none too shabby either’. And he’s right, it isn’t, with it’s gospel backing vocals, Suspicious Minds guitar, rolling backbeat, house pianos, and Bobby’s loved up lyric. Well done Terry Farley.

03 Come Together [Farley Mix].wma

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 !

I saw a man yesterday wearing a t-shirt with the slogan ‘1976 1988 Punk, Hip Hop, Acid House’, which seemed like a pretty fair summary of what’s been important culturally over the last 34 years. There are and have been writers and commentators more skillful than me to tie these three things together. But there are other parts of my record collection that fall outside these dates that are also important, and Jonathan Richman’s Roadrunner is one of them.

Jonathan Richman first recorded it in 1972, as a Velvet Underground obsessed young man who had moved to New York to meet the Velvets and lived on a sofa belonging to one of them for a bit. His Modern Lovers also recorded it, produced by John Cale. Way ahead of their time, the first Modern Lovers lp is one of those punk-before-punk records. Roadrunner was issued as a 7″ single in 1977 at the height of British punk, with Roadrunner (Once) on the a-side and Roadrunner (Twice) on the b, and another live version, Roadrunner (Thrice), was on the flip of a later Jonathan Richman single. All three are ace and I can happily play them back to back, although my copy of Thrice is the crackliest piece of vinyl I own. In Lipstick Traces Greil Marcus waxes lyrical about Roadrunner, spending pages just deconstructing the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 introduction. More recently The Guardian’s Laura Barton took a road trip around Boston, Massachusetts visiting and passing all the sights mentioned in the song.

Roadrunner is about Richman’s hometown, the romance of the road, the sights and sounds inside and outside the car, the joy of late night radio, and the thrill of a song with only two chords (although he sneaks a third one in briefly towards the end). It’s massively influential, absurdly good, and doesn’t sound like it came from a time before that chap’s t-shirt.

‘Roadrunner, roadrunner
Going faster miles an hour
Gonna drive past the Stop ‘n’ Shop
With the radio on’

01 Roadrunner.wma