Nick Lowe | photo by Dan Burn-Forti | courtesy of the artist

In times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to check in on your friends and loved ones. Here at XPN, we’re Checking In With our extended musical family to see how they’re holding up during the Coronavirus quarantine…and what music has kept them grounded. Today, Dan Reed chats with Nick Lowe.

Rock and roll singer-songwriter icon Nick Lowe rang us from his West London home this week, and describing life in the UK’s biggest city during the Coronavirus pandemic, he imagines it to be much like what we’re experiencing here in the U.S.

“Streets are deserted, you can’t just go and get a coffee and sit in the sun,” Lowe says. “Which, of course, spring has just sprung over here as well, and London in springtime is fantastic. So it’s a strange contrast at the moment; it’s beautiful outside, but it’s a bad vibe everywhere.”

In our conversation, Lowe reminisced about growing up in outer suburbs of London, and music and fashion of the Mod scene of his youth. He reflected on his deep love of R&B music, his home stereo setup, recording with The Damned in the 70s, and as we’ve been hearing from all our Checking In guests, his favorite music of all time. Listen below.

Checking In With Nick Lowe

Favorite Song Of All Time: “Soul Shake” by Peggy Scott and Jojo Benson and “Shame, Shame, Shame” by Shirley and Company 

“I wish I’d been cool enough to have heard ‘Soul Shake’ when it came out, but it’s one I ran into fairly recently. One of my friends dug it up, played it for me, and it’s a fantastic old-fashioned sort of floor-filler.  But this is sort of an impossible question. You can’t say what your favorite song of all time is, you can only say what your favorite song of all time today, because tomorrow you could hear something else. It could be something that came on the radio. And I heard “Shame, Shame ,Shame” on the radio on the day you asked me this question. And I thought this is a great record, it’s a big hit.”

Song That Raises Your Spirits: “Night Lights” by Gerry Mulligan

“I heard this from my wife, when I first got together with her, it was one of her favorites. I listen to jazz quite a lot now, but I particularly like it form this era, late 50s up to the 70s, because that’s when there’s so much great music made. The sound, the way it’s recorded, sounds so fabulous. I listen to it for enjoyment before comfort, comfort is an added bonus. I can get comforted in a Ramones tune; perhaps that’s pushing it a bit. But I don’t have to listen to ‘Imagine’ or ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ [for comfort] — thank goodness! But this tune is so fabulous, it’s life affirming, and profound without being at all snooty. It’s very approachable and gorgeous, and I love it.”

Song You’re Most Proud Of Working On: “I Read A Lot” by Nick Lowe

“I’m dissatisfied with almost everything I do, it’s never quite good enough. But I heard this record in the last two weeks so many times, and I’ve never heard it on the radio before. I think it’s a really good record, and I’m pleased it’s getting an airing now.”