Song: “I’m a prisoner because of fabric softener”

A song by Jonathan Richman

I had never heard of Jonathan Richman before this song about not being able to walk outside at night because of dryer sheets, fabric softener, air “fresheners”,   and having to close doors and windows because of them,  so I looked him up and found he had done a song about cell phones too. Here they are:


“I’m a prisoner because of fabric softener”



“You can have a cell phone that’s okay but not me”


These really make me think he too has  MCS/ES.

I looked for information about him (especially his views and experiences about the environment) but couldn’t find anything to learn if his dislike of technology was due to health effects he experiences, or if the fabric softener song was his story or someone else’s.

I was told he often improvises and makes up stuff on the spot that never gets heard again (unless someone tapes it and posts it to you tube), so thanks to whoever recorded and posted it!


I did find this article about his early days in the music scene, if you want to learn  more general stuff about him:


Jonathan Richman: In Love with the Modern World

and this

We Tried to Chat With Pop-Rock God Jonathan Richman, But He Sent Us a Letter Instead

“Before long, we got word that our interview request had been forwarded to the singer by priority mail, Richman’s connection to the outside world runs through the United States Postal Service. He does not do phone interviews; he does not own a computer.”


and this from the Guardian

10 of the best: Jonathan Richman
From the Modern Lovers to acoustic whimsy, it’s time to look at the best moments in the career of Jonathan Richman



Here’s some recent music of his that I really like when I am up to listening to music, from his record label (there’s more there too):

Ishkode! Ishkode!



8 responses to “Song: “I’m a prisoner because of fabric softener”

  1. Great post Linda! I have been a huge Jonathan Richman fan since the 80’s and so I immediately clicked the play button to hear the song. I wonder if he is one of us? Great find.

    • Thanks Margaret!

      It was shared by someone in the summer and it didn’t occur to me to post it here until I went looking for it last night! If I forget to bookmark something, it’s not easy to find some things on fb anymore (where I share a lot of things before they end up here), so as with a number of other things, I park them here so I can find and share them again!!!

      I’d love it if someone could interview him about these things! And encourage him to do a whole album of songs on the subject!

  2. Jeanette Marfield

    thank you for doing what you do to help MCS be better understood

  3. The Case Against Fragrance is a book by Kate Grenville is a must read for people like us.

    • I’ve read some articles and listened to interviews with the author, Kate Granville (who is normally a fiction writer), and it definitely seems worthwhile!
      Hopefully others will read it! We already know that there’s something wrong with fragranced products!

      Another recent and worthwhile for everyone to read book is by Alan Bell, a lawyer. It’s called “Poisoned How a Crime-Busting Prosecutor Turned His Medical Mystery into a Crusade for Environmental Victims”.

  4. I love this song, and it seems like a good time to share it now:

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