Nick Lowe - Cruel To Be Kind (1979)

Nick Lowe - Cruel To Be Kind (1979) on WLCY Internet Radio
'70s One-Hit Wonders on WLCY Radio




"Cruel to Be Kind" is a 1979 single by Nick Lowe, co-written by Lowe and his former Brinsley Schwarz band-mate Ian Gomm, that peaked at No. 12 in both the UK and U.S. charts that summer. It also peaked at No.12 in both Canada and New Zealand. In the U.S., where it is Lowe's most well-known work, it remains his only single to hit the top 40, whereas in the UK "I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass" remains his biggest hit after reaching No. 7 a year earlier.

The song was originally written and recorded for the last Brinsley Schwarz album It’s All Over Now, which was never officially released.

It next appeared as a non-album B-side on the single "Little Hitler" off Nick Lowe’s first solo album Jesus of Cool (retitled Pure Pop for Now People in the U.S.). This is now known as the "original" version, as compiled on Lowe’s 1999 Box Set The Doings: The Solo Years, as well as a bootleg based on the unreleased "It's All Over Now", of the same title. (Not to confused with the "Jesus of Cool" version).

It was finally released on Nick Lowe’s first solo album Jesus of Cool (1978) but was then re-recorded with Rockpile and appeared on Lowe's second (1979) album Labour of Lust, where it became a UK top 10 hit. It was released on the Radar Records label in the UK and Columbia Records in the United States.

The single was backed with the non-album Lowe solo song "Endless Grey Ribbon" which Lowe had originally composed for fellow Rockpile member Dave Edmunds, as seen in the BBC documentary "Born Fighters". Lowe included the Labour of Lust version of the song on the 1984 12" single of "Half a Boy and Half a Man" off his album Nick Lowe and his Cowboy Outfit, as well as the EP version of his single "All Men are Liars" from 1990’s Party of One. It also appears on the 2010 "soundtrack" album "inspired" by the 2006 motion picture The Ant Bully. Live versions of the song appear on Lowe’s 1998 EP "You Inspire Me", off his Dig My Mood album, and on the 2004 live album Untouched Takeaway.

The re-recorded, Labour of Lust, version of the song has been included in many compilations of Nick Lowe’s work, including 1985’s 16 All Time Lowes, 1990’s Basher: The Best of Nick Lowe, 1999’s The Doings: The Solo Years, 2002’s Anthology and 2009’s Quiet Please... The New Best of Nick Lowe. It has also been included on many various artists compilations of hits of the 70s, such as Poptopia! 70’s Power Pop Classics.

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