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Some good EC Web sites

- EC's o-fficial site
- A good EC site
- Wikipedia on EC
- Bright Blue Times
- Good article on EC
- On MySpace, check out these very active Elvis Costello groups: "Elvis Costello" (several hundred members), and "Elvis Costello - the Real King" (several hundred members).

'Scarlet Tide' video

During a live performance on the Today Show (July 21, 2005), Costello expressed his feelings about the Iraq War by changing the lyrics of his Oscar-nominated song (from "Cold Mountain"), "Scarlet Tide." (watch the video). Later, he explained what he did, saying, "At 2 a.m. on the 21st July, I woke up and re-wrote a few lines of 'The Scarlet Tide' to reflect the frustration that I sense with the disastrous and dishonest prosecution of a war, an action that might have been thought treasonous in saner times."

The original lyrics are:

Man has no choice,
When he wants everything.

The rewritten lyrics are:

Admit you lied,
And bring the boys back home.

Other EC video performances

Check out this energetic 2005 live performance of "Peace, Love, and Understanding" from the "Club Date: Live in Memphis" DVD on iFilm.

From the same Memphis DVD, here's "Alison-Suspicious Minds."

Here's a cheesy, late '70s music video of "Pump It Up."

Another late '70s music video: "Radio, Radio."

Some cool live audio

Here are some rare, live Elvis Costello performances.

Accidents Will Happen
Alison (Bridge School Concerts) recommended
All This Useless Beauty (Conan) recommended
Baby Plays Around
God Only Knows (with Brodsky Quartet) recommended
Chelsea (fast)
Everyday I Write the Book (Woodstock)
Girl's Talk
I Stand Accused ('79)
I Want You (London)
Less Than Zero (Dallas version) recommended
Lipstick Vogue
Little Atoms (acoustic)
Man Out of Time recommended
Mystery Dance
No Action
Oliver's Army (acoustic)


- Elvis stuff you might not have known

"The Ray Charles Incident" - Costello's success in the US was severely bruised in 1979 when, during a drunken argument with Stephen Stills and Bonnie Bramlett in a Columbus, Ohio Holiday Inn hotel bar, Costello referred to James Brown as a "jive-ass nigger", then upped the ante by pronouncing Ray Charles a "blind, ignorant nigger." (Before you judge Costello to harshly, be sure to read about his work with Rock Against Racism in the section that follows.)

Bramlett and friends had evidently been baiting Costello with derisive comments about British rock music in general and "sawed-off Limey"-type comments aimed at him in particular. A contrite Costello apologized at a New York City press conference a few days later, claiming that he had been drunk and had been attempting to be obnoxious to bring the conversation to a swift conclusion, not anticipating that Bramlett would bring his comments to the press. But during the press conference, Costello was combative, and his apology was a limited one. He apologized only for the fact that some people took his comments the wrong way. He adamently insisted that he shouldn't actually apologize for what he said because, "I'm not a racist."

According to Costello, the original incident became heated when "it became necessary for me to outrage these people with about the most obnoxious and offensive remarks that I could muster." In his liner notes for the expanded version of Get Happy!!, Costello writes that some time after the incident he had declined an offer to meet Charles out of guilt and embarrassment, though Charles himself had graciously forgiven him, telling Costello that "Drunken talk isn't meant to be printed in the paper." Check out the 2004 Rolling Stone interview where Costello discusses the incident at length.

Costello's work with Rock Against Racism - It is notable that Costello worked extensively in Britain's Rock Against Racism campaign both before and after the Ray Charles interlude (see preceding paragraph). This incident specifically inspired his song "Riot Act" on the Get Happy!! album.


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