For over 30 years, listening to music has been a critical part of my existence. In early adolescence, like many people, I found my identity through the music I connected with.
For over 30 years, listening to music has been a critical part of my existence. In early adolescence, like many people, I found my identity through the music I connected with. As an adult, music has been a means to discover pieces of the world I might never have known, to find comfort in difficult times, and to celebrate important passages. There have been many artists who have meant a great deal to me personally over the years, but none more so than Jonathan Richman, who turns 68 today. I could go on for days about everything that's wonderful about Jonathan, but the thing that's made him the one constant in my musical life, and that I celebrate today, is his unblinking presence in the moment, his insistence upon looking forward. It amazes me how many people know that first Modern Lovers album, but not much beyond that. The man has made, by my count, 23 albums since then, many of them great, some sublime, all of them worth your time. So on his birthday, do yourself a favor and check out some of his catalog you're unfamiliar with (I recommend finding his 1990s Conan O'Brien appearances on YouTube, as well as his two most recent albums, Ishkode, Ishkode and Sa). More than that, though, I recommend taking his advice and making a mistake today.