(Our Weekly-ish Wednesday Countdown)
It’s no secret that, here at Frontier Psychiatrist, we’re really into guys named Jonathan. True, we don’t count any No-H Johns (or NHJs for short) among our staff or contributors, but we count many among our favorite contributors to the culture at large. For example, Brooklyn’s top NHJ, Jonathan Ames, is responsible for our favorite television comedy, a series quite loosely based on the lives of three FP staffers. NHJ Jonathan Hamm has won numerous FP Emmys (Femmys?) if not actual ones. And our current #1 NHJ, Jonathan Franzen, supplied the first entry on the FP staff book club list with his psyche-altering new novel Freedom (book club discussions are held over Jack Roses and 25th Hours, of course).
None of the Jonnies above, however, inhabit the world of music, a world which represents our proverbial wheelhouse here at Frontier Psychiatrist. Lest you think we’ve forgotten our stated mission, we bring you our top 5 NHJs in pop music.
5. Jon Brion
Brion has released albums both solo and with his band The Bats (not to be confused with our favorite Kiwi band of the same name), but his most significant work has come as a producer. The list of bands assisted by Brion includes FP favorites Of Montreal, Spoon, and Punch Brothers. If that weren’t enough, he acted on co-producer on Kanye West’s Late Registration and Graduation, two records which we understand were fairly popular. Oh, and he also scored the films Punch Drunk Love and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, among others. Um…what exactly have we done?
(Rumor is Brion lent his “h” to Mary Lynn Rajskub, his former love interest. Rajskub employed the “h” in her role as C(h)loe O’Brien on the TV hit 24.)
Punch Brothers – “Rye Whiskey” (produced by Jon Brion)
Of Montreal – “Like A Tourist” (produced by Jon Brion)
4. Jonathon Fisk
This guy’s not a musician. He’s just some dude who beat up Spoon frontman Britt Daniel in middle school. Luckily for us, Daniel took these lemons and made a Tom Collins, turning his run-ins with Fisk into this author’s personal favorite Spoon-tune:
(Fisk gave his “h” to Britt Daniel as a peace offering; Daniel has since used the “h” to make himself extra (h)hhhhot.)
Spoon – “Jonathon Fisk”
3. Jonathan Richman
Despite what the good people at Urban Outfitters may have believed when they were printing all those Ramones t-shirts, Richman and his band The Modern Lovers invented punk rock in the United States. We’ve celebrated Richman’s work before, so we won’t bore you further here. Just enjoy the songs:
(Richman lost his “h” when a pretty young lady broke his (h)/eart.)
2. Jonathan “Jonny” Greenwood
As songwriter/lead guitarist/Ondes Martenot-ist for Radiohead, it’s safe to say that Jonny Greenwood (along with partner-in-crime Thom Yorke) has done as much as anyone to shape the development of popular music over the last decade. He’s also recorded with Pavement, served as composer-in-residence for the BBC, and scored the P.T. Anderson film There Will Be Blood. What a badass.
(Greenwood lent his “h” to the film (H)arry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in which he performed as a fictional rock guitarist. He hoped the addition of the consonant would make the film more intelligible to American viewers confused by British accents.)
Radiohead – “Subterranean Homesick Alien”
Radiohead – “A Wolf at the Door”
Pavement featuring Jonny Greenwood (harmonica) – “Platform Blues”
Speaking of bad-asses, we give you Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest. Whoever you are, Q-Tip is cooler than you. It turns out that good things do occasionally come out of Queens:
(Q-Tip generously gave his “h” to Tribe cohort Phife Dawg, who apparently couldn’t come up with the necessary “f”s to spell his first name correctly. 3 guesses where the “f”s went.)