Brinsley Schwarz is a 1970s English pub rock band named for guitarist Brinsley Schwarz. With Nick Lowe on bass and vocals, keyboardist Bob Andrews and drummer Billy Rankin, the band had evolved into its most well-known form by 1969 (see 1969 in music) after achieving some success as Kippington Lodge.
Brinsley Schwarz signed a contract with manager Dave Robinson, who developed a plan to earn the band much publicity. They were to open for Van Morrison at the Fillmore East in New York City, and Robinson would fly all the leading British rock critics to the show so they could review it. Though the band had planned on leaving a few days early so they could rehearse, visa problems prevented this and they arrived in New York right before they were to begin. The critics' plane was delayed for four hours, and they arrived at the show either drunk or hung over. The show did not go over well, and the band received a flood of negative reviews over the course of the next few weeks.
In 1970 (see 1970 in music), Brinsley Schwarz released Despite It All, which had a definite country sound to it, after adding Ian Gomm. Their wild performances soon garnered the band a large fanbase at English pubs, such as Tally Ho in Kentish Town. Along with other bands like Eggs Over Easy, Brinsley Schwarz was soon dubbed "pub rock" by rock journalists. They sounded, at times, very much like the Band, with Schwarz's guitar work influenced greatly by Robbie Robertson's.
1972's (see 1972 in music) ironic take on country-rock, Nervous on the Road, received excellent reviews but didn't reach the charts; neither did a series of singles or Please Don't Ever Change (1973; see 1973 in music). They continued recording for a time, but broke up in 1975 (see 1975 in music). Schwarz and Andrews joined Graham Parker & the Rumour, while Ranking joined Terraplane and then Big Jim Sullivan's Tiger. Ian Gomm and Nick Lowe both began solo careers, with Lowe achieving moderate mainstream success, including the 1980 (see 1980 in music) single "Cruel to Be Kind", an unrecorded Brinsley composition.
The original version of Elvis Costello's hit "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding," written by Lowe, was released by the band in 1974 on their album New Favourites of Brinsley Schwarz.