Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sonny Smith Wishes Jonathan Richman a Happy (Belated) 60th Birthday

Posted By on Tue, May 17, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Sonny Smith likes Jonathan Richman
  • Sonny Smith likes Jonathan Richman

Yesterday was the 60th Birthday of one Jonathan Richman, protopunk pioneer, genius songwriter, all-around nice guy, and San Francisco resident. In honor of the occasion, we asked another local songwriter -- Sonny Smith of Sonny & the Sunsets -- to comment on the glory, influence, and kidlike humor of Richman. Or just to say a few words about the Massachusetts native, "Roadrunner" singer, and major influence. (One listen to Sonny & the Sunsets' delightfully chilled-out new album, Hit After Hit, and the flavors of Richman are clear.)

Smith is on tour in Norway right now, so it took him a little while to get back to us. Turns out it was worth it: Smith, via e-mail, tells us the story of the first time he heard Jonathan Richman.

Singer/songwriter/funny guy Jonathan Richman, newly 60.
  • Singer/songwriter/funny guy Jonathan Richman, newly 60.

We present the following just as it was sent to us by Smith:

I was maybe twenty and driving from denver and I had a mercury monarch that blew a gasket in the desert, outside of elko, nevada, and so i had to hitchhike back to california. Two guys picked me up and said they would drop me off at the next town with a greyhound bus. I just wanted them to take me all the way to san francisco so i pretended to be asleep when we got to the nearest town. My thinking was it would be harder for them to kick me out of the car if i was sleeping. Its the only scheme i had... They were playing jonathan richman, so i was pretending to sleep and all the while hearing a bunch of his stuff. That was the first time i heard him. After we passed the town and were on our way to san francisco i faked waking up and said "who's this?" but they didnt answer me. Later i figured out they were german.

And there you go. Happy birthday, Mr. Richman. See our original post for more of Richman's music; below, check out "Reflections on Youth," from Sonny & the Sunsets' Hit After Hit.

----
Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Ian S. Port @iPORT, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , ,

About The Author

Ian S. Port

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"