(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding
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|"(What's So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding"|
|Song by Brinsley Schwarz from the album The New Favourites of... Brinsley Schwarz|
|The New Favourites of... Brinsley Schwarz track listing|
The song was originally released in 1974 on the album The New Favourites of... Brinsley Schwarz by Lowe’s band Brinsley Schwarz and released as a single; this version was included on Lowe’s 2002 compilation Anthology (along with the Elvis Costello version), and his 2009 compilation Quiet Please... The New Best of Nick Lowe, as well as 1991’s Surrender to the Rhythm: The Best of Brinsley Schwarz, 1996’s Naughty Rhythms: The Best of Pub Rock 1970-1976, and 1998’s Pub Rock: Paving the Way for Punk.
The Elvis Costello & The Attractions version was first issued as the B-side of Lowe’s 1978 single “American Squirm” credited to “Nick Lowe and His Sound”. At the time, Lowe was Costello’s producer, and he produced this track as well. When the song became a hit, it was quickly appended as the last track to the U.S. edition of Costello's album Armed Forces. It has appeared on most of Costello’s "Best of" compilations over the years, as well as on the soundtrack to the film “200 Cigarettes”. Live versions appeared on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Volume 7: 2002-2003, and 2012’s The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook, both by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked this version of the song as the 284th best song of all time.
Thus far, Lowe himself has not released a solo studio version of the song, but plays it regularly in concert, and live versions have appeared as B-sides of his 1982 double 45 single "My Heart Hurts", and his 1994 EP "True Love Travels on a Gravel Road", on the radio compilations KGSR Broadcasts Vol. 3, Q107’s Concerts in the Sky: the Campfire Versions, and Live at the World Cafe 10th Anniversary, some with solo acoustic guitar and some with different full bands. Another live Lowe version appeared on his 2004 live album Untouched Takeaway, and a live Brinsley Schwarz version was included on What IS so Funny About Peace Love and Understanding?, which featured songs played live in BBC sessions. Lowe also produced a cover version of the song as a B-side for the 1991 single “See Saw” by the British band the Katydids, after producing their eponymous debut album.
A very high-selling, if not as famous cover version of the song was included on the soundtrack album for the film The Bodyguard, which sold 17 million copies in the United States alone. This version was performed by jazz singer Curtis Stigers, who also used it as a B-side to the single "Sleeping with the Lights On" off his eponymous debut album, which had been released the year before. According to Will Birch’s seminal book on pub rock, No Sleep Till Canvey Island, the royalties from Stigers’ version of the song made Lowe wealthy. Lowe, however, asserts that he used most of the money to support a subsequent tour with full band. Stigers later covered a second Lowe song "You Inspire Me" on the 2003 album of the same name.
In 2004, "(What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" was regularly performed as an all-star jam on the "Vote for Change" tour, which featured a rotating cast of headliners. The October 11 concert at the MCI Centre in Washington DC was broadcast live on the Sundance Channel and on radio. This version of the song featured Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the Dixie Chicks, Eddie Vedder, Dave Matthews, and John Fogerty with Michael Stipe, Bonnie Raitt, Keb' Mo', and Jackson Browne.
At the finale of Costello's Glastonbury 2013 set Peace, Love, and Understanding was performed before and after an ironic comment on the first appearance at the festival, a few hours later, of the Rolling Stones using their own song Out of Time.
|Year||Singer/Group||Album or Single||Comments|
|1987||Midnight Oil||"Put Down That Weapon"||
|1988||The Flaming Lips||"Drug Machine"||
|1989||Phil and John||Don’t Look Now... It’s The Hallelujah Brothers||
|1991||The Party||In the Meantime, In Between Time||
|1991||Cletis Carr||Tales of Ordinary Madness|
|1992||Dead White And Blue||Heads|
|1992||Curtis Stigers||The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album||
|1992||Trip Shakespeare||Volt (EP)|
|1994||Chris Dowd||Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture Floundering||
|1996||Lucy Kaplansky||Flesh and Bone|
|1996||Kabah||La Calle de las Sirenas||
|1997||Down By Law||Before You Were Punk|
|1997||Unsteady||Double or Nothing|
|1998||Sam the Butcher||Assembly Line|
|1998||Uncle Otto||Men Who Smoke|
|1998||The Boz Roz Band||Shadow of the Thunderbird|
|2000||Charlie Hunter||Solo Eight String Guitar||
|2000||Mr. B’s Boogie Band||Mr. B’s Boogie Band|
|2001||Joe Goldmark||Strong Like Bull...But Sensitive Like Squirrel||
|2001||The House Jacks||Drive||
|2001||Teddy Morgan and the Pistolas||Live@7BlackCats||
|2001||Joe Louis Walker||Labour of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe|
|2002||The Wallflowers||Red Letter Days||
|2002||Glen Ricks||Reggae Rocks: A Tribute to Rock ’N’ Roll|
|2003||Steve Earle||Just an American Boy||
|2004||A Perfect Circle||eMOTIVe|
|2004||Chris Cornell and Maynard James Keenan||Axis of Justice: Concert Series Volume 1|
|2004||The Ataris||Live at the Metro||
|2004||Keb' Mo'||Peace... Back by Popular Demand|
|2006||Chris Cornell||Chris Cornell: Unplugged in Sweden||
|2007||The Holmes Brothers||'"State of Grace"|
|2010||KC Craine||Road 20||
|2010||Katherine Green||DFTBA Lullabies||
The Pretty Reckless sung the song live for KROQ Radio Sessions 2010.
Derek Webb recorded a cover of the song for the December installation of his 2011 subscription album project Democracy, Vol. 2.
Indie band The Hush Sound covered the song during the encore of their 2012 tour.