Back when glam and metal were rock’s genres of choice, a bunch of Brits decided that it was time to raise hell in a retro fashion and have a good time. Pub rock was the answer to over-indulged rockers in tight jeans, or tights and futuristic costumes and makeup. It was music you could raise your glass to and say, “Hell, yeah, let’s rock and roll.”
One of my favorite bands of the pub rock scene, Brinsley Schwarz, was a proving ground for another one of my favorites: Nick Lowe. As a Brinsley, Nick honed his songwriting talents and dabbled in the production end of things. He wrote Cruel To Be Kind for Brinsley Schwarz, but they never recorded it, and it became Lowe’s biggest (often covered, too) hit in 1980.
This Brinsley was included in their final album, from 1974, The New Favourites of Brinsley Schwarz, and was later covered by my favorite Elvis (Costello) on 1979’s Armed Forces. The original shines, with its upbeat pub rock beat, but the snarky Costello cover is the definitive recording. Still, this one’s worth a visit in the wayback machine.