Pablo Picasso (song)
"Pablo Picasso" is a song written by Jonathan Richman for the proto punk group The Modern Lovers. The song was recorded in 1972 at Whitney Studios in Los Angeles, and produced by John Cale, but was not released until 1976, on the Modern Lovers' self-titled debut album. The recording featured Richman (lead guitar, vocals), Ernie Brooks (second guitar), Jerry Harrison (bass) and David Robinson (drums), with Cale playing the repetitive hammered piano part.
The central character of the song is the charismatic 20th century artist Pablo Picasso, suggesting that, unlike most men and despite Picasso's rather diminutive stature, women never rejected his romantic advances. In a 1980 interview, Richman stated that the song was inspired by his own adolescent "self-consciousness" with women.
Selected list of recorded versions
- 1972 The Modern Lovers, not released until 1976 on The Modern Lovers
- 1975 John Cale, on his album Helen of Troy (released before the original version)
- 1977 Simple Minds, on demo collection The Early Years 1977-78
- 1979 Catholic Discipline on album "Underground Babylon" a collection of live recordings.
- 1984 Burning Sensations on the Repo Man soundtrack
- 1991 Phranc's version of the song substitutes Gertrude Stein as the central character; it appears on her album Positively Phranc
- 1998 Television Personalities on Don't Cry Baby...It's Only a Movie
- 2003 David Bowie, on his album Reality; a live version recorded at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London on 8 September 2003 was released on the 'Tour Edition' of Reality
- 2007 John Cale, on his live album Circus Live
- 2007 Blue Peter, on their album Burning Bridges, recorded live in 1980
- 2007 Four Year Beard on the album Hero: The Main Man Records Tribute to David Bowie (2007)
- 2012 The Tellers on the album A Tribute to Repo Man