Jesus of Cool

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Jesus of Cool
Nick Lowe Jesus of Cool.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1978 (1978-03)
GenreNew wave[1]
ProducerNick Lowe
Nick Lowe chronology
Jesus of Cool
Labour of Lust
Back cover
From the original Radar Records release
From the original Radar Records release
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[2]
American Songwriter4/5 stars[3]
Christgau's Record GuideA[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[5]
Entertainment WeeklyA[6]
Mojo4/5 stars[7]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[9]
Spin4/5 stars[10]
Uncut5/5 stars[11]

Jesus of Cool is the solo debut album by British singer-songwriter Nick Lowe. Produced by Lowe, it was released in March 1978 by Radar Records in the UK.

In the United States, the album was reconfigured by Columbia Records and retitled Pure Pop for Now People, a slogan that had appeared on the original UK album cover, with Columbia opting for a different track listing: "Shake and Pop" was replaced with "They Called It Rock," a slightly different version of the song by Lowe's sister band Rockpile, which had been included as a single-sided bonus 45 in the original UK album; the live version of "Heart of the City" was replaced with a studio version that had been released as the b-side of Lowe's "So It Goes" single on Stiff Records; and "Rollers Show," a song originally released by Lowe in 1977 as a United Artists novelty single under the name Tartan Horde (a follow-up to their single "Bay City Rollers We Love You"),[12] was added. The songs are also in a different order than the UK version.

Jesus of Cool has been highly acclaimed by critics. In February 2008, it was reissued in an expanded, deluxe edition by Proper Records in the UK and Yep Roc Records in the US.[13]

Two verses of the song "So It Goes" were featured in the 1979 film Rock 'n' Roll High School.


Jesus of Cool has a number of tracks attacking the commercialism and greed of the record industry and the shallow content of pop music: "Music for Money," the fraternal twin songs "Shake and Pop" and "They Called It Rock," and "Rollers Show," the last being a parody of the teen audience of the Bay City Rollers. Although musically sophisticated in conventional genres, the album shares the energy, cynicism and rebelliousness of the contemporary new wave movement.

Album cover[edit]

The original vinyl album cover features five pictures of Nick Lowe and one of his Rockpile bandmate Dave Edmunds, disguised to look like Lowe, with the UK and US versions featuring a slightly different selection of photos. On both covers, the phrase "PURE POP FOR NOW PEOPLE" is spelled out in small letters across the photos. "PURE" was small yellow print in the top left photo, "POP" was small red print in the top middle, "FOR" was small blue print in the top right, "NOW" was small blue print bottom left, "PEO" was small yellow print in the bottom middle and "PLE" was small red print in the bottom right.

The UK version had a photo of three kitsch glass swan ornaments on the back sleeve. The US version replaced this with a picture of Lowe dressed up in a green Riddler suit made by Antoinette Laumer Sales, a shot deliberately posed to make him look like Dave Edmunds, since one of the shots of Lowe on the front cover is actually Edmunds. The design of the inner sleeve also differs between the UK and US versions.

Both the UK and US sleeves were designed by Barney Bubbles.

Critical reception[edit]

Reviewing the American release in 1978, Village Voice critic Robert Christgau called it "an amazing pop tour-de-force demonstrating that if the music is cute enough the words can be any old non-cliché". The characters in Lowe's songs, he observed, "cut off their right arms, castrate Castro, love the sound of breaking glass, roam with alligators in the heart of the city, and go to see the Bay City Rollers. But because the hooks cascade so deftly from sources as diverse as the Beach Boys and the Boomtown Rats, I care about every one of them."[14]

Sounds said at the time of release, "Despite the track to track differences in sound, they're all so very Lowe – sparse, carefully selected instrumentation, delicacy of touch and understated vocals. But when he turns in masterpieces like "Marie Provost" – certainly the best, most fully formed lyrics he's ever written – you forget the partial failures."[15]

NME noted that fans of Lowe would be "more than a little pissed off" by the inclusion of five songs that had previously been released in different formats, but also said, "if you're not already familiar with these titles then you at least have nothing to complain about, seeing that they're almost uniformly superb."[16]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Nick Lowe, except where otherwise noted.

Jesus of Cool[edit]

Side one
1."Music for Money"2:03
2."I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass" (Nick Lowe / Andrew Bodnar / Steve Goulding)3:05
3."Little Hitler" (Nick Lowe / Dave Edmunds)2:51
4."Shake and Pop"3:13
Side two
1."So It Goes"2:23
2."No Reason"3:25
3."36 Inches High" (Jim Ford)2:50
4."Marie Provost"2:41
5."Nutted by Reality"2:46
6."Heart of the City (Live)"2:14
Bonus 7" single
1."They Called It Rock" (Nick Lowe / Rockpile / Dave Edmunds)3:10
  • "They Called It Rock" was a single-sided, non-album 45, credited to the band Rockpile.
  • "Rollers Show" and "They Called It Rock," both of which were included on the US issue of Pure Pop for Now People, were added as bonus tracks to the first UK CD release of this album in 1989.[17]

Pure Pop for Now People[edit]

Side one
1."So It Goes"2:23
2."I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass" (Nick Lowe / Andrew Bodnar / Steve Goulding)3:05
4."Marie Provost"2:41
5."Heart of the City"2:01
6."Rollers Show"3:31
Side two
1."They Called It Rock"3:10
2."No Reason"3:25
3."Little Hitler" (Nick Lowe / Dave Edmunds)2:51
4."Nutted by Reality"2:46
5."36 Inches High" (Jim Ford)2:50
6."Music for Money"2:09
  • "Heart of the City" is the studio version.

Jesus of Cool (2008 deluxe edition)[edit]

The Original Album:
1."Music for Money"2:09
2."I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass" (Nick Lowe / Andrew Bodnar / Steve Goulding)3:05
3."Little Hitler" (Nick Lowe / Dave Edmunds)2:51
4."Shake and Pop"3:13
6."So It Goes"2:23
7."No Reason"3:25
8."36 Inches High" (Jim Ford)2:50
9."Marie Provost"2:41
10."Nutted by Reality"2:46
11."Heart of the City (Live)"2:14
And more:
12."Shake That Rat"2:12
13."I Love My Label" (Nick Lowe / Profile)3:00
14."They Called It Rock" (Nick Lowe / Rockpile / Dave Edmunds)3:13
15."Born a Woman" (Martha Sharp)3:27
16."Endless Sleep"4:08
17."Halfway to Paradise" (Gerry Goffin / Carole King)2:26
18."Rollers Show"3:32
19."Cruel to Be Kind (Original Version)" (Nick Lowe / Ian Gomm)2:52
20."Heart of the City"2:07
21."I Don't Want the Night to End"1:57
  • "Cruel to Be Kind" is the original version by Brinsley Schwarz, recorded for their unreleased album It's All Over Now and first released as the b-side to Lowe's "Little Hitler" single in 1978.


Upon the album's initial release, the cover artwork deliberately omitted any mention of the musicians involved.



Year Chart Position (UK) Position (US) Position (Netherlands) Position (Sweden)
1978 Pop Albums 22 127 26 31

Related links[edit]


  1. ^ Jackson, Josh; Martin, Garrett (8 September 2016). "The 50 Best New Wave Albums". Paste. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pure Pop for Now People – Nick Lowe". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  3. ^ Waterman, Doug (1 March 2008). "Nick Lowe > Jesus of Cool: 30th Anniversary Edition". American Songwriter. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: L". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 1 March 2019 – via
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  6. ^ Brunner, Rob (3 March 2008). "Jesus of Cool: 30th Anniversary Edition". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Nick Lowe: Jesus of Cool". Mojo (172): 120. March 2008.
  8. ^ LeMay, Matt (18 February 2008). "Nick Lowe: Jesus of Cool". Pitchfork. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  9. ^ Fricke, David (21 February 2008). "Nick Lowe: Jesus of Cool". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  10. ^ Hermes, Will (March 2008). "Reissues". Spin. 24 (3): 97. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  11. ^ Jones, Allan (13 February 2008). "Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool". Uncut. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (24 April 1978). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  15. ^ Peter Silverton. "Nick Lowe: Jesus Of Cool". Rock's Backpages.(Subscription required.)
  16. ^ Nick Kent. "Nick Lowe: Jesus Of Cool". NME.(Subscription required.)
  17. ^