Co-written by Nick Lowe and first recorded by Brinsley Schwarz (1974).
Hit version by Nick Lowe (US #12/UK #12 1979).
Also recorded by Enjoh Santyuutei (as “Koi No Howan Howan”) (1982), co-writer Ian Gomm (1997), Marshall Crenshaw (2001), Stavros Michalakakos (as “Vres to Nisi”) (2010).
From the wiki: “Nick Lowe co-wrote the song with his Brinsley Schwarz band mate, Ian Gomm, for the Brinsley Schwarz album, It’s All Over Now, though said album was never officially released. In 1979, Lowe re-recorded the song for his second solo album, Labour of Lust. Released as a single, ‘Cruel to be Kind’ peaked at #12 in both the US and the UK.”
“In 1982, Enjoh Santyuutei released a Japanese-language cover of the song. Lowe’s Brinsley Schwarz band-mate. and song co-writer, Ian Gomm recorded his version of ‘Cruel to be Kind’ in 1997 for the album Crazy for You (which would also be included on the 2005 Nick Lowe tribute album Lowe Profile, and Marshall Crenshaw & Christine Ohlman covered the song in 2001 for another tribute album Labour of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe. In 2010, Stavros Michalakakos recorded ‘Cruel to be Kind’ in Greek.”