The classic recording The Modern Lovers has been released lots of times, lining pockets of record labels but not The Modern Lovers. In 2005, Jonathan Richman et al sued Sanctuary Records:
Charging that they have not been paid in 30 years for the punk rock classics "Roadrunner" and "Pablo Picasso," along with 83 other recordings, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers are suing Sanctuary Records, Bomp Records and producer Kim Fowley for the rights to the band's recordings.
Richman and his original bandmates -- Jerry Harrison, David Robinson and Ernie Brooks -- are also seeking restitution of the defendants' gains and profits. Lawsuit was filed in Superior Court of California in L.A.
Suit charges that Sanctuary has issued three albums, licensed the music to another record company for another album as well as film and TV but never paid any royalties or supplied royalty statements.
Sanctuary, a U.K. company with U.S. offices, took ownership of the original recordings of Richman and the Modern Lovers in 2000.
-- Phil Gallo Variety
In 2007 Castle Music (owned by Sanctuary Records Group) re-released The Modern Lovers (02182-36294-2). Here's a review:
Excellent reissue of a kick-ass classic. Only thing better would be seeing this on vinyl. But for a CD version, Castle Music superbly re-creates this masterpiece, keeping the original song order intact and the bonus pieces at the back--unlike the late-1980s Rhino CD. The bonus cuts are all well-chosen, too. Appearing again is the original cover (the heart around the words "The Modern Lovers"), sans that ugly blow-dried-haircut photo Rhino slapped on their cover. The cover is a weird purple, and this has been problematic for the album's reissues all along--nobody seems to want to recreate the original Beserkley cover intact, meaning the simple heart cover in plain black and the concert poster on the back cover. Your best bet for a near replica is the 2000 gatefold Get Back Records LP reissue, which, though a gatefold while the original was not, nevertheless replicates the poster inside the gatefold--though oddly, Get Back's single-fold version does not include the poster copy on its back cover. Welcome to the strange world of reprints. In any case, Castle does a superb job here, including a huge foldout CD packet with more history on the Modern Lovers than we have a right to expect. Of the bonus cuts, Dignified & Old, and I'm Straight, would not seem out of place on the original issue, but Government Center forecasts the goofier Modern Lovers that fills Richman's catalog after this one-hit wonder. The remaining bonus cuts range from forgettable (Dance with Me, and I Wanna Sleep in Your Arms) to jitteringly fascinating alternate verisons of key original LP cuts--Roadrunner, Modern World, and Someone I Care About.
This is the fifth copy of this lovely gem I've owned, including my "disappeared" original Beserkley LP purchased for a mere 8 bucks in a Minneapolis Wax Trax in 1980, the ugly Rhino CD that was stolen from my home, and the two recent Get Back reprints. If any of those versions of this great work of art has ever gotten under your skin, you'll understand the compulsion to add yet another incarnation to your collection. If you've not yet been smitten by the Lovers, there's a big juicy kiss waiting for you in this jewel case. Pucker up! And join the modern world, with me.
-- Gary Kuhlmann (originally posted here)
The Modern Lovers Castle Reissue 2007
The Modern Lovers