I first heard Jonathan Richman on the Beserkely Chartbusters album, which included some new Modern Lovers (not the original band) recordings with some of the other bands the Beserkely label were offering. This was the first recorded version of Roadrunner, in 1975, to be released.
In 1976 Beserkely licensed the John Cale produced Modern Lovers sessions and released them. I have no idea which version John Lydon heard before his audition, but the Cale version, titled “Roadrunner (Once)” was a hit in England in 1976. But some NYC record mavens were listening the year before, especially to the tunes Government Center and New Bank Teller, which were different.
But Beserkely was created mostly out of frustration that a Bay area rock band called Earth Quake wasn’t breaking large. The first single the label released was Earth Quake’s version of the Australian band the Easybeat’s 1967 hit Friday On My Mind.
This live version is less, um, concise than the single, but I have to say, for me this is rock ‘n’ roll and remnants, too. I love this band and the video. Less so the pants.
But if it’s Friday, we shouldn’t ignore the far more economical and Mod Australian Easybeats version.
It is a great song. Portugal. The Man should cover it. Or Lorde.
1. That Earth Quake video is pretty bad, IMHO.
2. Singer looks like the spawn of Phil Lynott and the singer from Quiet Riot.
3. It is fun remembering when punk was being defined and didn’t have a uniform yet. First heard Motorhead on a similar Chiswick Chartbusters album, which was equally all over the place.
“2. Singer looks like the spawn of Phil Lynott and the singer from Quiet Riot.”
Man, I’m even more hesitant to mention this now, but going to college and law school in the bay area during that time, I got “you look just like the guy from Earth Quake” more than once. Ouch. No white bell bottoms with suspenders, though.
Phil Lynott and the singer from Quiet Riot are a nice match. I’d feel good about that. Assuming we’re talking about them when Phil and Kevin were alive.
As Mike’s fellow bay arean, I saw Earthquake, The Modern Lovers, The Rubinoos, and Greg Kihn, who constituted the core of the Beserkley stable and number of times, together, or as openers.
In fact, my Biletones mate, Tom Nelson, was the singer for a band Bad Attitude (that featured Chuck Prophet) which was also a Matthew Kaufmann (brains behind Beserkley) band. Tom also did the live sound for Kaufmann when he was not playing.
As for Friday, I so love the Easybeats version, though the Quake was ok. At least they acknowledged a great tune. Bowie also covered the song on Pinups, but I don’t think it had the drive the song needs.