Led by Jonathan Richman, this proto-punk band came out of Massachusetts in the early 1970's. Their classic debut album contained heartfelt songs about dating awkwardness, growing up in Massachusetts, and love for life. Many feel their best work is the first album and the outtakes from those sessions.
For the first album, "The Modern Lovers", the band included Richman, bassist Ernie Brooks, keyboardist Jerry Harrison, and drummer David Robinson. The album featured the tracks "Roadrunner", "Astral Plane", and "Pablo Picasso".
After recording several tracks in 1972-73, including the haunting "I'm Straight" (referring here to abstinence from drug use), and "Government Center", Richman wanted to scrap the tracks that were recorded and start over with a mellower, more lyrical sound. The rest of the band, while not opposed to such a shift later, insisted that they record as they sounded now. They continued, and eventually, the first album was released in 1976 -- without the two tracks that bothered Richman. (They were added back into the album in a later rerelease.) Long before, however, creative differences split the band apart.
Beyond this first album, the band became a solo project for Richman as he experimented with different music styles. Almost three months after the first album's release, the album "Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers," featuring a completely new lineup, was released.