Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Egyptian Reggae

18th August 2023 · 1970s, 1978, Music

Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers performing their biggest hit single, the instrumental Egyptian Reggae, on Dutch TV in 1978.

I always knew Jonathan Richman was eccentric, from the time I saw him in 1977 at Hammersmith Odeon and he crawled on all fours from behind a speaker stack singing I’m A Little Dinosaur… again and again and again.

Then, when I saw the recent Velvet Underground documentary, up he popped as a young superfan stalking the Velvets all the way into their dressing room to tell them he had seen them 90 times. Which, as the joke goes, is more times than Lou Reed had seen them.

More recently than that I requested an interview with him to talk about the landmark Modern Lovers album he recorded in the early 1970s, spawning the classic single Roadrunner, only to be told that “Jonathan prefers to look forward and talk about what he’s doing now.”

Which, remarkably, includes still making records (26 studio albums and counting) and, more remarkably, running a company in California – the splendidly named Arcane Masonry – that makes pizza ovens.

Anyway, here he is back in 1978, performing his biggest hit – the instrumental Egyptian Reggae, which reached No.5 in the UK singles chart – in a vaguely Hawaiian style on Dutch television.