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    Jonathan Richman sings ‘Jersey Street’ instead of ‘Yawkey Way’

    Jonathan Richman (right) with Tommy Larkins at the Somerville Theatre.
    Mark Shanahan/Globe staff
    Jonathan Richman (right) with Tommy Larkins at the Somerville Theatre.

    The proposal to change the name of Yawkey Way to Jersey Street apparently has the support of Jonathan Richman.

    The former Modern Lovers singer performed at the Somerville Theatre over the weekend, and during “As We Walk to Fenway Park in Boston Town,” a song that in concert has often name-checked Yawkey Way, Richman used the lyric “Jersey Street,” which a few folks in the audience noticed and applauded.

    Richman, who grew up in Natick, has written several great songs about Boston over the years, including “Winter Afternoon By B.U. In Boston,” “Twilight in Boston,” “The Fenway,” and, most famously, “Roadrunner,” a classic that some lawmakers would like to make the official state rock song.


    The Red Sox last week submitted a petition to the Boston Public Improvement Commission to change Yawkey Way back to Jersey Street, which is what it was called before the street was named for former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey in 1977. (Under Yawkey’s stewardship, the Red Sox were the last MLB team to integrate the roster, a dubious distinction that the current owners don’t wish to celebrate.)

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    Richman, who’s 66 now, was in fine form at the Somerville Theatre. Playing an acoustic guitar (with no strap), and accompanied only by Tommy Larkins on drums, Richman utterly charmed the audience with stories and songs, many of them sung in languages other than English.

    Among those in the crowd were celebrated defense attorney Harvey Silverglate and his wife, photographer Elsa Dorfman, who are longtime friends of Richman’s. (The singer usually stays at their place in Cambridge when he’s in town.) In an e-mail to us afterward, Silverglate, who’s seen Richman perform countless times over the years, said the show was among the best he’s seen.

    “When Elsa and I mentioned . . . that it’s too bad the concert was not recorded, Jonathan said it was enough that it’s in the minds of the people who attended,” Silverglate wrote.