Happy birthday to Richard Hawley, born January 17, 1967!
Richard Hawley is probably best known as the “fifth member of Pulp,” in the sense that he was in the band for quick bit and didn’t get much of a chance to enjoy their success, but he’s also the guy who wrote one of my favorite modern soul songs: Tonight the Streets Are Ours. The song isn’t even Hawley’s best known work. But it is his best work. Coming off his fifth record, Lady’s Bridge, the song has everything you need for a white boy soul classic: It’s a desperate love story, it feels like a dark and rainy night, and it’s full of passionate longing. It (and most of the album, which is fantastic) feels timeless—the first time I heard it, I swore it was a cover of a late 1950s classic.
Further listening: Don’t Stare At The Sun; Baby, You’re My Light (recorded with his first band, The Longpigs); Don’t Get Hung Up in Your Soul; and the Haagen-Dazs commercial tune, “Open Up Your Door.”
Covers: Before we look at covers of this song, check out Hawley himself playing lead guitar for the All Saints, on their cover of “Under the Bridge,” and his own take on this great song.