Today's Country

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Jonathan Richman

Jonathan Richman was one of rock's most eccentric and unpredictable cult figures, a performer whose eternally childlike public persona and seeming naiveté -- typified by songs like "Ice Cream Man," "Hey There Little Insect" and "I'm a Little Aeroplane" -- tended to obscure the dexterity and craft of his music, which skirted from garage rock to country to Latin stylings and back. Born May 15, 1951 in Boston, Massachusetts, Richman began playing guitar at the age of 15, and within a year was making his first public appearances. In 1969 he relocated to New York, the home of the Velvet Underground (his central musical influence), and spent his first two weeks in the city sleeping on the Velvets' manager's couch.