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The Modern Lovers were an American rock band led by Jonathan Richman in the 1970s and 1980s.

The original band, billed simply as "The Modern Lovers", existed from 1970–74 but their recordings were not released until 1976 or later. It featured Jonathan Richman and bassist Ernie Brooks with drummer David Robinson (later of The Cars) and keyboardist Jerry Harrison (later of Talking Heads). The sound of the band owed a great deal to the influence of The Velvet Underground, and is now considered one of the leading bands of the "" scene. It pointed the way towards much of the Punk, New Wave and Indie rock music of later decades. Their only album, the eponymous The Modern Lovers, contained stylistically unprecedented songs about dating awkwardness, growing up in Massachusetts, and love of life and the USA.

After recording several tracks in 1972 and '73, including "I'm Straight" (referring here to abstaining 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 at the time that they record as they already sounded. They continued and eventually, the first album was released in 1976. Long before its release, however, creative differences split the band apart.

Later, Richman used the name Modern Lovers for a variety of backing bands, always billed as "Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers." These bands were quieter and featured more low-key, often near-childlike, songs, as Richman drew on folk-rock and other genres. Out of Richman's original bandmates, only Robinson was part of any of the other Modern Lovers incarnations.

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  • 1970 – 1974 (4 years)
  • Natick, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
  • David Robinson Ernie Brooks Jerry Harrison Jonathan Richman

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