1979 Nick Lowe – Cruel To Be Kind / Ian Gomm – Hold On
Nick Lowe and Brinsley Schwarz were schoolmates in Suffolk, England, in the early sixties. They formed the band Sounds 4+1 with other students and toured RAF bases in Germany.
After leaving school, Brinsley formed the band Three’s A Crowd in 1967. After a few failed singles, Nick joined the band, which eventually changed its name to Brinsley Schwarz. The band’s first album in 1970 became doomed after disastrous reviews of a live performance in the US.
Their second album did not do well, either. After that, Ian Gomm joined the band playing lead guitar. The band’s brand of country rock soon earned the label Pub Rock. By 1973, they popular enough to open for Paul McCartney’s band Wings.
The band recorded their final album in 1974, but their label did not even release the album until 1988. Nick and Ian wrote Cruel To Be Kind, one song on the album.
The band broke up in 1975.
Nick began playing bass for Rockpile, a group that also included Dave Edmunds. He also became a producer for Stiff Records and wrote several songs that other artists took into the top forty in the UK.
Nick also began dating singer Carlene Carter, the daughter of June Carter Cash and step-daughter of Johnny Cash.
In 1979, Nick recorded his own solo version of Cruel To Be Kind. He also married Carlene, and they used recordings from their wedding for the song’s video.
The single reached #12 on the Hot 100 in 1979; it was Nick’s only top forty single in the US (although he had several more in the UK).
Ian built his own recording studio and toured with Dire Straights in 1977. He released his first solo album in 1978 and later added a few more songs and changed the title of the album.
The single Hold On from the album reached #18 on the US Hot 100 in 1979, a few months after Nick’s hit record.
Ian released a few more albums in the eighties and built an even nicer studio. He also never returned to the US top forty.
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