Nick Lowe

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Cover of The Convincer (2001)

Nick Lowe (born March 24, 1949) is a rock and roll singer-songwriter and producer. Born in Walton-on-Thames, England, he began his recording career in 1966 as a member of Kippington Lodge, founded with his friend Brinsley Schwarz, which released a few singles on Parlophone. Three years later Kippington Lodge had changed its name to Brinsley Schwarz and its musical focus to country- and blues-rock. Lowe's best-known song from the Brinsley Schwarz era is probably "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding," which was a major hit for Elvis Costello in 1979.

In August 1976, Lowe released "So It Goes" b/w "Heart of the City", the first single on the Stiff Records label where he was in-house producer (the label's first EP was Lowe's 1977 four-track release Bowi, apparently named in response to David Bowie's contemporary LP Low!) . On this and other labels, Lowe would go on to produce The Damned's Damned Damned Damned and many albums by Elvis Costello, including My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, and Armed Forces.

Lowe's best-known song from this era is probably "I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock 'n' Roll" (a reworking of Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell," a.k.a. "Teenage Wedding"). On the 1977 Live Stiffs compilation with a pickup band called Last Chicken in the Shop, he virtually sneers out his contempt for all concerned; in 1985, fronting Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit on the album The Rose of England, he hasn't changed the words, but the tone is entirely different, even affectionate. Other well-known Lowe songs include "Cruel to Be Kind," "I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass," and "All Men Are Liars."

After leaving Brinsley Schwarz in the mid-1970s, Lowe began playing in Rockpile with Dave Edmunds. Because they had record contracts with different labels, there is only one official Rockpile album, from the very end of the collaboration--1980's Seconds of Pleasure, featuring the Lowe songs "When I Write The Book" and "Teacher Teacher"--but all of Lowe's and Edmunds' solo albums from the period were effectively Rockpile albums.

In 1979, Lowe married country singer Carlene Carter, step-daughter of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Carlene's father is country singer Carl Smith. The marriage with Lowe lasted until the mid 80's, but they remained friends, and Lowe remained close to the Carter/Cash family; he and Johnny Cash played and recorded together, and Cash recorded several of his songs. Lowe was also a member of Little Village with John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, and Jim Keltner.

In 1992, "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" was covered by Curtis Stigers on the soundtrack album to The Bodyguard, an album that sold over 15 million copies. Because Lowe received royalties from these sales, he suddenly found himself a millionaire. Freed from commercial constraints, Lowe has recorded more solo albums to critical acclaim.


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