Nick Lowe

Band members                             Related acts

- Martin Belmont -- guitar (1984-)
- Paul Carrack -- keyboards, bass (1984-)
- Bobby Irwin -- drums (1984-)
- Nick Lowe -- vocals, bass, guitar


- Brinsley Schwarz
- Kippington Village
- Little Village
- Live Stiffs
- Rockpile  



Genre: pop

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Pure Pop for Now People

Company: Columbia

Catalog: 35329

Country/State: UK

Year: 1976

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring, edge and corner wear

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 5024

Price: $8.00


Having formed his first band with guitarist Brinsley Schwartz while still in high school, Nick Lowe stands as a gifted writer, a talented singer and bassist and an in-demand producer. In spite of widespread success in his native England and occasional brushes with American success, for all his talents Lowe's never enjoyed much recognition in the States. After largely unsuccessful stints with Kippington Market and Brinsley Schwartz (see separate entries), in 1975 Lowe turned his attentions to production work.  Having worked with Graham Parker, Lowe subsequently hooked up with Stiff Record's Jake Riviera, releasing Stiff's first single with 1976's 'So It Goes' b/w (Stiff catalog number ). Additional production work for a variety of Stiff acts including Elvis Costello and The Damned led Lowe to strike out in pursuit of a solo career. 

Signed by Radar Records (Columbia picking up American distribution rights), Lowe debuted with 1978's "Jesus of Cool".  Ever sensitive to American religious sensitivities, Columbia executives quickly repackaged and re-titled the set as "Pure Pop for Now People".  In consideration of the American audience Columbia also made several changes to the original English album's track listing substituting 'They Called It Rock' for 'Shake and Pop' (basically the same songs with different titles) and a studio version of 'Heart of the City' for the superior live version found on the UK issue. Showcasing a dazzling collection of power pop, material such as '(I Love the Sound of) Breaking Glass' and 'Roller's Show' (yes it was about The Bay City Rollers) aptly displayed Lowe's affection for 1960s pop, as well as his oddball and dark sense of humor (check out the troubling 'Marie Provost'). Like the cover photo, the set found Lowe effortless skipping across musical idioms turning in wonderful slices of reggae ('No Reason'), new wave ('36 High' - always loved the cheesy synthesizers) and Slade-styled metal 'Music for Money'. After all these years, it's still our favorite Lowe outing. A major English hit, the album was inexplicably ignored by American audiences.

"Pure Pop for Now People" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) So It Goes (NIck Lowe) - 2:29
2.) (I Love the Sound of) Broken Glass (NIck Lowe - A. Bodner - S. Goulding) - 3:08
3.) Tonight (NIck Lowe) - 3:51
4.) Marie Provost (NIck Lowe) - 2:44
5.) Heart of the City (NIck Lowe) - 2:02
6.) Roller's Show (NIck Lowe) - 3:32

(side 2)
1.) They Called It Rock (NIck Lowe - Rockpile - Dave Edmunds) - 3:11
2.) No Reason (NIck Lowe) - 3:28
3.) Little Hitler (NIck Lowe - Dave Edmunds) - 2:53
4.) Nutted By Reality (NIck Lowe) - 2:45
5.) 36 Inches High (J. Ford) - 2:52
6.) Music for Money (NIck Lowe) - 2:06


Genre: pop

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Interchords: An Interrogation of Nick Lowe Alias Nick the Knife

Company: Columbia

Catalog: AS 1400

Country/State: UK

Year: 1982

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes the iron on insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1321

Price: $25.00


Released in conjunction with his 1982 studio album "Nick the Knife",  "Interchords: An Interrogation of Nick Lowe Alias Nick the Knife" was a limited edition,  promotional album intended for distribution to record stations who could then edit the "conversation" to suit local broadcast needs.  The songs were interspersed  with marginally interesting discussions with the late music journalist Martha Hume (including a segment on where the album title came from).  The compilation included snippets from seven tracks off the new studio album, along with various previously released odds and ends, including Brinsley Schwartz's '(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding'.  Hardly an essentially effort, but hardcore Lowe fans  might be interested in hearing it.

"Pure Pop for Now People" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) They Called It Rock (NIck Lowe - Rockpile - Dave Edmunds) 

Taken off 1976's "Pure Pop For Now People", 'They Called It Rock' was easily one of the best things Lowe ever recorded.   Always loved the dark and cynical vision of the music business, complete with record label name checks. Shame it was only a brief snippet of the tune.   YouTube has a wonderful clip of Lowe and Rockpile playing the tune:    rating: **** stars

2.) Burning - 2:04

One of the tracks off of "Nick the Knife", 'Burning' was a nice continuation of the pop-meets-new-wave mash-up he excelled at.  The track also saw release as a single.   rating: **** stars

3.) Heart

Sweet, breezy, slightly Caribbean-tinged  ballad also off of "Nick the Knife". Lovely backing vocals and the tune remains in Lowe's live repertoire to this day.  rating: *** stars

4.) Couldn't Love You (Any More Than I Do) 

Another "Nick the Knife" tune.  Pretty retro sounding ballad.   Hume goes on and on about the Steve Nieve keyboard solo.  Personally I thought Terry Williams drumming stole the show.  rating:*** stars
5.) Let Me Kiss You   

'Let me Kiss You' was a glistening throwback to Lowe's prime pop form.  The tune would have sounded right at home of "Jesus of Cool/Pure Pop For Now People".   frankly it's the tune I would have tapped as a single.  rating:**** stars


(side 2)
1.) Cruel To be Kind

Different, slightly loungy version of his "hit".  Initially I thought it was lame, but it grows on you after a couple of spins.    rating: *** stars

2.) (What's So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding

Yes, it's the song he's best know for, even though technical it's a Brinsley Schwartz track.   Interesting to hear him talk about Elvis Costello appropriating the tune.   rating: **** stars

3.) Marie Provost

Personal favorite with some of the darkest lyrics he's ever recorded.  rating: **** stars

4.) Stick It Where the Sun Don't Shine

Musically 'Stick It Where the Sun Don;' Shine' was a rockabilly tune that sounded like it had fallen out of David Edmunds catalog, but the real joy on this one came in the form of Lowe's hysterical lyrics.  What a great breakup tune.  YouTube has a nice clip of Lowe performing the tune with Paul Carrack:    rating: **** stars

5.) Too Many Teardrops  (Nick Lowe- Carlene Carter)

Nice, radio friendly ballad with a bouncy melody and some of those great Lowe and  wife Carlene Carter lyrics.  Always loved the backing vocals (for some remind they me of The Supremes).   Squeeze rerecorded the tune for one of their albums. rating: **** stars

6.) Raining Raining

Pretty, heartfelt Motown-ish  ballad that was one of the album highlights.  YouTube has a stark live performance of the song recorded in 1990 for The Late Show:  rating: **** stars

7.) So It Goes

Another classic tune off of "Pure Pop For Now People" and one of the most commercial pop gems he ever wrote.   YouTube has a wonderful clip of the song taken from a lip-synching performance on The Kenny Everett Show:  And if you ever doubted how good Lowe was live, here's a clip of Rockpile playing the tune in concert:   rating: ***** stars