Jonathan Richman's 60th Birthday Is Today!

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Jonathan Michael Richman -- we like to call him "JoJo" -- is 60 years young today. He has spent 40 of these making the kind of music to make you fall in love. Some was created with the Modern Lovers and some without. Whether the songs are in English or Spanish or French or Portuguese, they always express warm sincerity and clever, to-the-heart ingenuity. The love implied here is a transcendent sort: with and/or through JoJo, you can fall in love with simplicity, cities, your best friend, adventures big ("Give Paris One More Chance") and small ("I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar").

As a longtime fan of the Velvet Underground, his earlier recordings with the Modern Lovers reflect a similarly detached, speaking-as-singing aesthetic (see: "

Pablo Picasso

"), though his style was always sweeter, funnier, more distinctly JoJo. Fast-forward to now: He's a hero, a pioneer of a style that's witty and hilarious and totally punk (maybe even the

Godfather of Punk


So, what does one give the man who's "always straight" for his birthday? We wish we could bake him a Boston-shaped cake, but instead, we have only our endless gratitude for all his natural, unaffected, sing-along-storytelling-surf-punk magic. Here's one from the beginning of his storied career and a more-recent gem.

Jonathan Richman + The Modern Lovers, then - "I'm Straight" from The Modern Lovers

Jonathan Richman, now - "My Affected Accent," from O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth


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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.