Happy Birthday To Nick Lowe And How He Became A Millionaire!

Today, March 24, British rocker Nick Lowe turns 66,  Lowe, of course, is best known for his 1979 hit "Cruel To Be Kind", which peaked at #12 on the US singles chart. He was also a member of Rockpile (with Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner and Terry Williams) and producer of Elvis Costello & The Attractions' first five albums.

Some would say that sort of track record would make a man very comfortable, but, at least in Lowe's case, you would be wrong.  In reality, 1992 saw Lowe living a very hand-to-mouth existence, relying on almost constant touring to make ends meet, until fate stepped in and handed a one-way ticket to Easy Street in the form of Whitney Houston.  Well, more accurately, the true gift horse was Curtis Stigers, who covered Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?" for the soundtrack to Whitney Houston's hit movie "The Bodyguard".  

The album included Houston's bombastic reworking of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" and went on to sell 44 million copies.  Because Lowe's song was included on the album, he received royalties based on the sale of 44 million copies, which, to hear Lowe tell it, netted him a cool million dollars.

This, of course, has always left this writer a tad curious about the circumstances that ultimately led to Stigers covering Lowe's song in the first place.  Was it his idea to record a cover for the soundtrack instead of one of his own songs?  If so, imagine trying to sleep at night knowing that you literally gave away a million dollars.

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