The Elvis Costello Home Page

Frequently Asked Questions


Welcome to the Elvis Costello FAQ list! Hopefully this document will contain something for all Elvis fans, from trainspotters to newbies alike. (What's a trainspotter you say? Read on!)  New input is greatly appreciated, or if you spot any errors, can fill in some of the ?'s, or have any suggestions on format, new sections to include, etc.

There are also two other parts to this FAQ:

Note: For information about Elvis' recording career, please see the Discography.

Table of Contents

Biographical Details
Album Synopsis
Elvis' Backing Bands
Connections to Other Artists
Frequently Asked Questions
Books on Elvis
Concert Tours, TV and Radio Appearances and Gig List
Film Appearances
References to Elvis in Movies, TV, Books, etc.
EC Album Title Trivia

Biographical Details

Given Name:   Declan Patrick Aloysius* MacManus  (* added by Elvis)
Aliases:      The Beloved Entertainer, D. P. Costello, Elvis Costello, 
              The Costello Show, Roscoe DeVille, The Horace Barlow Experience,
              Howard Coward, The Emotional Toothpaste, The Imposter, King of 
              America, Little Hands of Concrete, The MacManus Gang, Napoleon
              Dynamite, Nick Lowe and His Sound (recording of Peace, Love and
              Understanding  w/ Nick Lowe) The Pope of Pop, Eamonn Singer.
Born:         St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London, England, August 25, 1954
Parents:      From Liverpool, Merseyside.
Father:       Ross MacManus, musician (trumpeter), formerly sang with the Joe
              Loss Orchestra
Mother:       Lillian MacManus,ran record store shop in Selfridges dept. store.
Siblings:     None
1st Marriage: 1974 to Mary Burgoyne, had son Matthew, born Jan. 1975
2nd Marriage: May 17, 1986 to Cait O'Riordan (Caught oh-REER-dan),former 
              bassist for The Pogues. 

Brief bio.  : Born in London, lived in outskirts, went to a secondary modern
              school in Hounslow, W. London.  Moved to Liverpool, left school 
              in 1972, got a job at a bank, then as a computer operator at 
              Elizabeth Arden cosmetics firm.
              Was originally in a duo called Rusty with Alan Mayes. 
              Played local pubs with group Flip City, left band in 1975, 
              made solo acoustic demo tape, sent to various record
              companies. Given contract by Stiff records, recorded MAIT 
              with U.S. C/W band Clover 1976. (Clover's lead singer was 
              Huey Lewis at the time, but he did not participate in the
              recording sessions) The Attractions formed through auditions, 
              recorded TYM 1977.
	      Left the Attractions in June 1987 to pursue solo career. Signed 
              to Warner label Nov 1987 and recorded Spike (1989), Mighty Like
              a Rose (1991), and The Juliet Letters (w/ the Brodsky Quartet)
              Re-united with the Attractions for the album Brutal Youth (1994).
	      Ended contract with Warner (1997) and signed w/ Mercury records.
              Recently collaborated with Burt Bacharach on the album 'Painted
              From Memory'.

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Album Synopsis

(For more detailed info., please see the discography.

Jul 1977 - My Aim is True
Mar 1978 - This Year's Model
Jan 1979 - Armed Forces
Feb 1980 - Get Happy!!
Oct 1980 - *Taking Liberties
Nov 1980 - *Ten Bloody Marys and Ten How's Your Fathers
Jan 1981 - Trust
Oct 1981 - %Almost Blue
Jul 1982 - Imperial Bedroom
Jul 1983 - Punch The Clock
Jun 1984 - Goodbye Cruel World
Apr 1985 - +The Best of Elvis Costello
Mar 1986 - King of America
Sep 1986 - Blood and Chocolate
Oct 1987 - *Out of Our Idiot
Feb 1989 - Spike
Oct 1989 - +Girls, Girls, Girls
May 1991 - Mighty Like a Rose
Jul 1991 - #Soundtrack to GBH TV Series 
Feb 1993 - The Juliet Letters
Mar 1994 - Brutal Youth
Nov 1994 - +The Very Best of Elvis Costello and the Attractions (Rykodisc)
May 1995 - %Kojak Variety
Nov 1995 - #Jakes Progress TV series soundtrack
May 1996 - All This Useless Beauty
Oct 1997 - +Extreme Honey - The Very Best of the Warner Bros. Years
Sep 1998 - Painted From Memory
Aug 1999 - +The Very Best of Elvis Costello (2-CD)

* = Collection of B-sides and out-takes
+ = contains previously released material
% = Covers album
# = Instrumentals only

N.B.: Rykodisc has re-released My Aim is True through Blood & Chocolate
      on CD (with the exception of *).  Each album contains bonus tracks 
      consisting of old B-sides and previously un-released material.

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Elvis's Backing Bands

Flip City
	Mich Kent - bass, Malcolm Dennis, Ian Powling - Drums, Steve Hazelhurst
        - guitar, Dickie Faulkner - percussion, Mike Whelan, Ken Smith.

Clover (on MAIT*) :  Alex Call, John McFee - Guitar, Vocal,  John Ciambotti -
         gte/vcb/b/v,  Sean Hopper - Keyb, Vocal,  Huey Lewis - Harmonica, 
         Vocal (not featured on MAIT),  Micky Shine - Drums, Vocal

        * 'Watching the Detectives' features Andrew Bodnar and Steve Goulding,
           with Steve Naive's keys overdubbed. 

The Attractions : Steve Naive - keyb, Bruce Thomas - bass, Pete Thomas - drums

Afrodiziak (on 'Punch the Clock'):  Caron Wheeler, Claudia Fontaine, Naomi 
                Thompson - vocal

TKO Horns (on 'Punch the Clock'):  Jimmy Paterson - Trombone, Dave Plews - 
                        Trumpet , Stuart Robson - Horn, Paul Spear - Tenor
                        Sax, Jeff Blythe - Alto Sax

Gary Barnacle - (on 'Goodbye Cruel World') - [played saxophone on GCW tour]

The Confederates : James Burton - guitar, Jerry Scheff - bass, Ron Tutt, 
                   Michael Blair - percussion, Mitchell Froom - keyboards, 
                   Jim Keltner - drums, T-Bone Burnett - rhythm guitar,
                   T-Bone Walk, David Hidalgo - guitar/accordion, 
                   Ralph Carney, Steve Douglas - saxophone, Benmont Tench
                   - keyboards.
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band (on 'Spike', 'MLAR'): Gregory Davis - trumpet, Efrem
             Towns - Trumpet, Kevin Harris - Tenor Saxophone, Roger Lewis - 
             Baritone and Soprano Saxophones, 	Charles Joseph - Trombone,
             Kirk Joseph - Sousaphone

The Rude 5 (on 'MLAR','KV') : Larry Knechtel - keyb, Mark Ribot/James Burton-
                         guitar, Pete Thomas/Jim Keltner - drums, Jerry Scheff
                         - bass, Steven Soles - vocals/guitar, Micheal Blair

The Brodsky Quartet (on 'TJL') : Michael Thomas - Violin, Ian Belton - Violin,
      	       Paul Cassidy - Viola, Jacqueline Thomas :  Violoncello  

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Connections to Other Artists

Artists that Elvis has collaborated/worked with

Larry Adler, Big Al Anderson, Burt Bacharach, Chet Baker, Martin
Belmont, Tony Bennett, Rueben Blades, The Bluebells, Billy Bremner,
Charles Brown, T-Bone Burnett, Sammy Cahn Carlene Carter, Philip 
Chevron, The Chieftains, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Cliff, Mary Coughlan, 
Chris Difford, Dave Edmunds, Brian Eno, The Eurythmics, The Fairfield
Four, Georgie Fame, Zucchero 'Sugar' Fornaciari, Bill Frisell, Darryl
Hall, John Harle, Debby Harry, Richard Harvey, John Hiatt, Chrissie 
Hynde, Wendy James, The Jazz Passengers, George Jones, Mick Jones, 
The Kinks, Clive Langer, Nick Lowe, Madness, Paul McCartney, Roger 
McGuinn, Aimee Mann, Christy Moore, Cait O'Riordan, Roy Orbison, Tom 
Petty, Sam Phillips, The Pogues, Mark Ribot, Annie Ross, Ricky Scaggs, 
Brian Setzer, Ron Sexsmith, Jo-El Sonnier, The Specials, Dusty 
Springfield, Bruce Springsteen, Squeeze, The Stiff Gang, Marty Stuart, 
Rachel Sweet, Benmont Tench, Glenn Tilbrook, Allen Toussaint, 'Til 
Tuesday, Anne Sofie von Otter, David Was, Rob Wasserman, Paul Weller, 
Robert Wyatt

Some artists that have influenced Elvis
The Band, The Beatles, Hoagy Carmichael, The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan,
Georgie Fame, Lowell George, George Jones, Randy Newman, Gram Parsons,
John Prine, Brinsley Schwarz, Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones, 
Tom Waits, Hank Williams

Other artists often mentioned on the EC mailing list
Tasmin Archer, Billy Bragg, Aztec Camera, Nick Drake, Joe Jackson,
Yoko Ono, Graham Parker, Liz Phair, The Replacements, Linda Ronstadt,
Richard Thompson, Van Morrison, XTC

Check out related artist pages

Return to Table of Contents


Resource Questions
Q. What are Elvis' e-mail/snail mail addresses?
A. EC has no e-mail address, but can be reached by mail at 

      Elvis Costello c/o Island/Mercury
      8920 Sunset Boulevard
      2nd Floor
      Los Angeles, CA 90069

Q. Are there any Elvis Fanzines?
A. 1. The Elvis Costello Information Service is published six times a year,
      and contains concert reviews, information regarding new releases, etc.
      For more information write to  
      Richard Groothuizen, Primulastraat 46, 1441 HC Purmerend,The Netherlands.

   2. An excellent Elvis fanzine called Beyond Belief has been running for some 
      time now, but has now ceased. For more information contact Mike Bodayle.
Q. How do I join the Elvis Costello Internet mailing list?
A. Click here for info.

Q. Where are the archives to the Elvis Costello mailing list kept?
A. These are contained on the same page as the information about how to join.
    See the previous question for the link.

Q. What exactly is a tape tree?
A. A tape tree is a method of distributing a tape to members of the mailing 
   list. Individuals volunteer to become either 'branches' or 'leaves'.
   Several copies of an original 'seed tape' are made, and one is sent to
   each branch leader. The branch leaders in turn make several copies. Armed
   with several copies of the 'seed tape', the branches then arrange individual
   tape trades (for blank or other tapes) with the 'leaves' on their
   particular branch. The tape trees are established based on interest in the
   product being distributed, and are announced on the Internet mailing list.
   Each time a new tape makes its way to the list, a new tape tree is set up, 
   usually by a new administrator. 

Q. What are the song listings of the rarities tapes mentioned on the
   mailing list? 
A. They can be found here. (Please join the mailing list for more
   details - I do not have any more information regarding these -ed.)

Q. Has anyone on the EC mailing list done a poll of people's favorite
   EC songs/albums?
A. Every few months polls are conducted on the mailing list, and
   occasionally there are polls in Beyond Belief.

   The results of a 1996 mailing list poll: (47 respondents)

     Rank      Score     Album
     1         9.43       Imperial Bedroom
     2         9.00       Get Happy!!
     3         8.69       King of America
     4         8.55       This Year's Model
     5         8.31       Armed Forces
     6         8.11       All This Useless Beauty
     7         7.90       My Aim Is True
     8         7.73       Trust
     9         7.73       Brutal Youth
     10        7.71       Blood & Chocolate
     11        6.91       Spike
     12        6.70       The Juliet Letters
     13        6.46       Punch The Clock
     14        6.03       Mighty Like a Rose
     15        5.24       Almost Blue
     16        5.07       Kojak Variety
     17        4.29       Goodbye Cruel World

   The most recent Beyond Belief Poll results:

   Top ten songs:			Top Five Albums:
           Beyond Belief		   King of America
	   Brilliant Mistake     	   Imperial Bedroom 
	   No Action 			   Get Happy!!
	   New Lace Sleeves		   This Years Model
	   Kinder Murder		   Trust
	   All the Rage
	   I Want You
	   Man out of Time
	   Red Shoes   
	   Riot Act

Q. What exactly is a 'trainspotter' and what does it have to do with EC
A. 'trainspotters' is the UK way of describing obsessive detail collecting stems from a certain group of people who lurk in the country-
   side and at train stations collecting the serial numbers of railway trains.
   EC in an interview once referred to some of his more obsessive fans (us?)
   by this moniker. 

Elvis Questions

Q. What was EC's first ever official release?
A. The 7 inch single on Stiff Records (BUY 11) 'Less Than Zero' b/w 'Radio
     Sweetheart' was EC's debut release in March 1977.

Q. What is Elvis' all-time top selling album?
A. Spike.

Q. How have EC's albums/songs fared on the Billboard Top 40 Album charts?
   USA List:
   MAIT: entered top 40 3/4/78, went to #32, 5 weeks on charts
   TYM:     5/ 6/78  #30      4 wks
   AF:      2/ 3/79  #10     11 wks
   GH!!:    3/22/80  #11      8 wks
   TL:     10/25/80  #28      3 wks
   Trust:   2/21/81  #28      4 wks
   IB:      8/28/82  #30      7 wks
   PTC:     8/20/83  #24     12 wks
   GCW:     7/21/84  #35      3 wks
   KoA:     4/ 5/86  #39      3 wks
   Spike:   3/18/89  #32     11 wks
   BY:      3/26/94  #34      1 wk

   MAIT is certified platinum, the only EC album to be.  TYM, AF, and Spike
   are all certified gold.

ATUB and BY sold 103,000 and 181,000 copies in the USA, respectively. (BB #17)

   UK Rankings (through 1988):
	My Aim Is True				#14	8/77    12 wks
	This Year's Model			#4	4/78
	Armed Forces				#2	1/79
	Get Happy!!				#2	2/80
	Trust					#9	1/81
	Almost Blue				#7     10/81
	Imperial Bedroom			#6	7/82
	Punch The Clock				#3	8/83
	Goodbye Cruel World			#10	7/84
	Best Of Elvis Costello - The Man	#8	4/85
	King Of America				#39	3/86
	Blood & Chocolate			#16	9/86

Q. What are his US top 40 hits? 
A. 'Everyday I Write The Book' charted at #36 in 1983.
   'Veronica' reached #19 in 1989.

   UK top 40 hits (through 1988):
	Watching The Detectives			#15	11/77
	(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea		#16	4/78
	Pump It Up				#24	5/78
	Radio Radio				#29	11/78
	Oliver's Army				#2	1/79
	Accidents Will Happen			#28	5/79
	I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down	#4	2/80
	High Fidelity				#30	4/80
	New Amsterdam				#36	6/80
	A Good Year For The Roses		#6	10/81
	Pills And Soap				#16	5/83
	Everyday I Write The Book		#28	8/83
	I Wanna Be Loved			#25	6/84
	Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood		#3	2/86
Q. I've heard that EC has done 'country' and  'classical' albums, which ones
   are they, and are they to be recommended?
A. 'Almost Blue' is a collection of country/western covers recorded by
   EC and the Attractions in Nashville. Reactions to this album are largely
   a matter of taste, but if you can't stand steel pedal guitars I wouldn't
   recommend it. 
   'King of America' was also recorded with a c/w flair, and is the favourite
   Elvis album of many fans.
   'The Juliet Letters' features Elvis and the Brodsky Quartet, a well known
   string quartet in classical musical circles. Again, EC fans either 
   love or hate this album. In any case, it provides an interesting showcase
   for Elvis' vocal abilities. 

Q. I'd like to get a couple of 'live import recordings' (bootlegs) by
   EC, which ones would you recommend?
A. For starters the following are good performances in good quality:
       Aim To Please [CD] - Early Flip City demos.
       Do The Rhumba [CAS] - Japan TV broadcast from 21-Nov-87.
       Elvis Goes To Washington & Dave Edmunds & Rockpile Don't [CD] - Stereo
         FM radio broadcast 02/28/78. One of the best 'early' EC boots.
       Every Day I Write The Book [CD] - Philadelphia 11/08/84.
       Nashville And More [CD] - studio demos for _Almost Blue_.
       Riot Act '83 [CD] - Hammersmith Palace, London, 17-Oct-83.
       This is Tomorrow [CD] - London concert 11/23/86 from BBC tapes
       Unauthorized Live Vol.1 - burnin'!
	(from Paul Hosken (
       Buddy Holly on Acid / Brutal Youth Tour, Italy 1994
       Live at the Beacon Theatre - August 1995 

Q. A number of live tracks have appeared on various b-sides, how come EC
   has never released a live album (excluding the _El Mocambo_ promo and
   EC and Steve Nieve Box Set)?

A. In an interview with Simon Grigg (BB #18/19), EC says 'right at the
   moment, I don't have the patience to listen to music that's that
   old. Not when I've got so much on my plate going forward.'

Q. Where did he come up with the pseudonym 'Elvis Costello'?
A. His great-grandmother's name was Costello, and he started out after Flip
   City disbanded in 1975 using the name 'D. P. Costello'. After signing with
   Stiff records, he changed the first name to Elvis, purportedly at Jake
   Riviera's suggestion. According to EC: 'I thought Elvis was a
   better name than Jesus, and almost as exclusive'.

Q. What was the Bonnie Bramlett/Ray Charles incident?
A. Elvis back in early 1979 made some not-so-politically-correct comments  
   about Ray Charles (calling him a 'blind, ignorant nigger') while drinking
   with Bonnie Bramlett and Stephen Stills in the bar of the Holiday Inn
   -Downtown in Columbus, Ohio. He also called Stills 'steel nose', in 
   reference to Stills' one-time cocaine habit.  A fight then ensued between 
   the Attractions and Stills' backing band.  He was later forced to make a
   public apology at a press conference.

>From an interview with Greil Marcus in Rolling Stone, September 2, 1982: 

'What actually happened was this: we were in the bar--Bruce Thomas and I
were in the bar after the show in Columbus, Ohio.  And we very very drunk.
Well, we weren't drunk to begin with--we were reasonably drunk.  And we
started into what you'd probably call joshing.  Gentle gibes between the
two camps of the Stills Band and us.  It developed as it got drunker and
drunker into a nastier and nastier argument.  And I suppose that in the
drunkenness, my contempt for them was probably exaggerated beyond my real
contempt for them.  I don't think I had a real opinion.  But they just
seemed in some way to typify a lot of things that I thought were wrong with
American music.  And that's probably quite unfair.  But at the exact
moment--they did.'

'...What it was about was that I said the most outrageous thing I could
possibly say to them--that I knew, in my drunken logic, would anger them
more than anything else.'
(contributed by

Q. What was the story behind Less Than Zero/Radio Radio performance on SNL?
A. According to an interview with EC, they were bored and drunk
   (supposedly, Lorne Michaels wanted the Sex Pistols, but they
   declined), and decided to pull a 'Jimi Hendrix' (Hendrix did a
   similar thing on Lulu's 1960's BBC show--stopped in the middle
   of one song and started another). EC later commented that 'obviously, it 
   isn't THAT live'.  According to Lorne Michaels, both NBC and Lorne didn't
   want Elvis to perform 'Radio, Radio' on SNL because it was an anti-media 
   song, hence EC's lead-in to 'Less Than Zero' and then 'I'm sorry, ladies
   and gentlemen.  There's no reason to do this song here'

Q. Where does he currently reside?
A. He lives with his wife Cait near Enniskerry, Ireland.

Q. Did he really get his record contract by setting up an amp on the side-
   walk in front of a record company? 
A. Elvis got his contract with Stiff Records after he mailed them his demo
   tape. In order to get an international deal (purportedly at Jake Riveria's 
   suggestion) on July 26, 1977 he strapped a pignose amp on his back and 
   played in front of the Hilton, Park Lane in London where a CBS Records 
   annual international convention was taking place. He was arrested for 
   obstructing the footpath, and had to have someone pay the 5 pound fine, 
   as he didn't have it on him. 
   EC also went into Stiff with his guitar (after sending the tape), according
   to Nick Lowe, as EC had a romantic idea gleaned from 40s films where the
   young songwriter is discovered by the star overhearing said songwriter.
   (contributed by Roger Goodgroves (

Q. What guitars does he play?
A. The list currently includes:

    - 2 Fender Jazzmasters, with 'Elvis Costello' inlaid on the fretboard
    - a Fender Telecaster (first played in Tokyo, 8/1/98 - BB#17)
    - an oldish Martin D-28
    - a Gold-Top Les Paul with P-90 Soapbar Pickups
    - a Martin D-45
    - a 12 String Epiphone Riviera
    - a blue Magnatone Typhoon bought in Nashville Aug. 1996
    - Martin Santa Cruz
    - a 1954 Gibson J-160E acoustic bought at Route 66 Guitars in 1992
    - a later model Gibson J-160E (green?)
    - Gretsch Country Gent
    - Gretsch Country Club, mid-'60s
    - a hot-rodded National electric
    - '54 Telecaster (stolen while on tour in Melbourne 1984, retrieved 1989)
        EC: 'When I went there last year, a guy came and gave it back to me.  
         He'd stolen it from the guy who stole it from me! I never heard of 
         anyone getting on instrument back. So l figured it would be all over 
         this record [Spike]. I think I used it once.  It sounds different, 
         it's been voodooed.  I can't play it anymore.'
    - Gibson F-5 mandolin
    - a Rickenbacker, 60's model-full-scale, six string.
    - a beige Gibson Les Paul custom.  
    - Ernie Ball heavy gauge guitar strings
    - 3 Ferringtons: a small 17 inch and a normal 25 3/8 inch both with 'Elvis
      Costello' inlaid on the neck, and a 34 inch fretless (Hofner) bass (what
      look like frets are really just inlaid plastic strips)
    - (from the 'Ferrington Guitars' book) : EC has three guitars that
      Ferrington made for him: A black small size acoustic with 'Elvis
      Costello' in script on the fretboard and a rose near the bridge on the
      top of the guitar (made in 1981); a full size black acoustic guitar,
      also with a rose and script name (1981) and an acoustic bass with
      E.C.' near the pickguard (1982).  The book notes the full size
      acoustic was used on 'Man Out of Time' on the 'Imperial Bedroom' album
      and that EC was so pleased with it '...he had propped it at one end of
      his hallway so that he could look at it from a distance whenever he
      walked through his house' (p 26).

Q. What were EC's jobs before becoming a recording artist?
A. EC started in a job at Midland Bank on Merseyside prior to moving down to 
   London and becoming a computer operator (IBM 360) for the Elizabeth Arden 
   cosmetics firm in London.

Q. When did he first start wearing glasses?
A. At age 18, working at the Elizabeth Arden cosmetics firm (the 'vanity 
   factory' in 'I'm Not Angry'), where the computer screens were giving him 
   headaches. He adopted a pair of peardrop-shaped tinted glasses. 
Q. Why are some EC tunes credited to MacManus, and others Costello?
A. EC changed his name legally back to DPAM, so for international 
   copyright reasons, all songs after KOA are published under DPAM.
   ('I Hope You're Happy Now' was written in 1984)

Q. Why are there so many references to 'Hammersmith' in EC songs?
   (Crimes of Paris, London's Brilliant Parade, Fish 'n' Chip Paper)
A. Possibly because EC's father used to play the Hammersmith Palais in London 
   frequently with the Joe Loss Orchestra. Elvis later himself performed there.

Q. Who is that saying the words 'Poor Napoleon' in the song of the same name?
A. EC's wife, Cait. She also says the words 'In Dusseldorf' in 'Chewing Gum'.

Q. What is the translation of the Italian dedication in the Brutal Youth
   CD booklet?
A1. 'I toot! I dedicate this absurd scribble and murmuring to my brutal youth
     with amazing desire' (From: Luca Furlani (
A2. 'I proclaim, I dedicate this absurd scribble and babble to my youthful
     brute with amazing desire' (from

Q. Who painted the cover painting of Imperial Bedroom?
A. The artist was Barney Bubbles, a popular new wave graphic artist who
   committed suicide in 1983. The credit on the sleeve 'Sal Forlenza, 1942'
   is false, as EC describes in the IB liner notes how he
   commissioned Barney to paint the cover in 1981.  Barney also painted
   the U.S. cover of 'Armed Forces', and directed the videos for 'Clubland'
   and 'New Lace Sleeves'.

Q. Did EC paint the cover of B&C under the pseudonym of Eamonn Singer?
A. Yes, as well as the inner sleeve cover of 'Goodbye Cruel World'. He is 
   again listed on ATUB as contributing to the cover design.

Q. Does Elvis know about the homepage/FAQ/mailing list?
A. Yes indeed. After a recent show in Nashville (Aug 1996), EC met Mark
   Schnitzius (keeper of the Web page), and a few other members of 
   the mailing list. EC commented on how much he loved the listmembers
   tribute tape (ed.: Hats off to all the contributors!). He also received
   a copy of this FAQ.

   From an interview with Mike Gee July 1996:
     'Elvis Costello - who has very mixed feelings about the Net (he is a
      regular surfer) and has a very strong and large chat group - conceded 
      to me recently that the depth of knowledge about his work on the Net
      and the support of the fans at the various homepages and the chat group
      was inspiring ... and for artists these days who are constantly 
      pressurised by record companies to sell, sell, sell, record this, record
      that, etc.. it was a welcome humanity.'

   Regarding the Brilliant Mistakes tribute CD featuring performances of
   EC songs by members of the internet mailing list:
    'I got a lovely gift recently from America.  Two CDs worth of my stuff that
     had been covered by people on the Internet.  There was a version of 'No
     Action' off THIS YEAR'S MODEL that sounded like 20 Homer Simpsons at the
     bowling alley! F**ing marvelous!  That'll be the end of the record 
     industry if that happens, and good luck!  Brilliant!  It'll all go 
     completely random. Let's take all the paintings out of the galleries and
     put 'em on the Internet.  Then we have all this useless beauty.  See, 
     that's what I meant, it's a prediction!  I've no idea whether it's a
     good or bad thing, but there's one thing it isn't and that's a safe 
     thing.' (NME, July 1996)

Q.   What is bakelite? (mentioned in 'No Action')
A.   Bakelite is a form of hard plastic formerly used in telephones. 
Questions regarding The Attractions
Q. What is Steve Naive's real name?
A. Steve Naive's (pronounced like the word naive) real name is Steve Mason. 
   His other stage names include Steve Young, Steve Thomas, Steve Hart, 
   Steve Nieve, Norman Brain, and Maurice Worm. 

Q. Are Bruce and Pete Thomas related?
A. No.

Q. What keyboards does Steve Naive use on stage? 
A. A Farfisa and a Vox Continental (among others), both popular organs
   in the mid-sixties and was all Steve had/could afford at the time.
   - Yamaha electric piano - CS-80; a CS-70 (
   - Hammond XB2
   - a blue Yahama CS-1X

Q. What's the title of the Attractions' solo album, and is it to be
A. 'Mad About the Wrong Boy' was recorded by Bruce, Pete, and Steve in 
   1980 and is a fine example of early 80's pop. Although the songs are
   fairly well written, and the instrumental performances are excellent, 
   you quickly become aware of the reason why the Attractions are very rarely 
   featured as singers on EC albums.

Q. Who are Brain/Hart? (writers of Sad About Girls and other tracks on the
   Attractions solo album)
A. It has been suggested that it's Steve Naive (and Faye Hart?).
   EC refers to 'Mad About Girls' as SN's song in the liner notes for Ryko's
   Trust.  The song is credited to Brain/Hart.  SN was sometimes
   introduced on stage as 'Norman Brain', and on the back of the Trust LP
   (& Ryko CD booklet) SN appears as 'Steve Hart'.
   According to the book 'Elvis Costello -  A Completely False Biography
   Based On Rumor, Innuendo, and Lies' by Krista Reese (1981) on page
   105, it says, Steve Naive's girlfriend at the time was a lady by the
   name of Faye Hart. It's written that she had a very abrasive
   personality and was fond of calling herself, 'Farrah Fuck-It Minor'.

Ryko Re-issue Questions 
   Ryko's email: 
   Ryko's Homepage

Q. The jewel-box sprockets on my Ryko re-issues are broken. How do I get 
A. Write a letter saying how many replacement cases you need to: 
	Rykodisc, Shetland Park 27 Congress, Salem MA, USA 01970
   or call 1-800-232-7385.

Q. Why weren't all of Elvis' B-sides being released on the Ryko
A. The re-issues were under Elvis' direct control. He was apparently
   more concerned about quality in the extended play selections, rather than 
   completeness. It has been rumoured on the mailing list that EC may be
   considering releasing another CD of 'missing' tracks, a la 'Taking Liberties'.

Q. Is it worth replacing my old CDs with the new Ryko releases?
A. The bonus tracks are obviously a strong enticement, and many people
   on the list have noticed a marked improvement in sound quality, especially
   on the earlier albums. 

Q. Why were the titles of 'Lovers Walk' and 'Man Called Uncle' changed to
   'Lovers' Walk' and 'Men Called Uncle' on the Ryko re-issues?
A. According to Elvis, the original titles were printed incorrectly, the
   Ryko versions are the correct ones.

Q. Why does 'Black Sails in the Sunset' on the ryko re-issue of 'Trust' fade
   out 11 seconds earlier than the 'Out of Our Idiot' version?
A. According to ICE (International CD Exchange), 'the Rykodisc reissues
   originated with Demon, the British label that Costello partially owns,
   and that Elvis himself oversaw the entire process, so any minor
   changes merely reflect his wishes.'

Q. Is my CD defective, or is there a missing beat 23 seconds into 'I'm
   Not Angry' on the Ryko re-issue of 'My Aim is True'? Is there also
   a glitch at 4:12 into 'I'll Wear it Proudly' (on KOA)?
A. All the Ryko (and Demon) CD's seem to have these problems, which may have
   originated during the re-mastering process. 

Q. What's with the extra track (31) on the Ryko re-issue of 'Get Happy!!'?
A. Jeff Rougvie, Ryko product manager says: 'The demo version of 'Love
   For Tender' which closes the album is intentionally cut, which is why
   it is not listed as an extended play track. As I'm sure you've
   noticed, the album is now 30 tracks long (up from the original 20).
   When the first song on the disc (albeit a different version) begins
   again after track 30, it almost heralds the whole album starting
   again. Mr. Costello thought that this would be humorous, and we

Q. What are the names of the extra tracks not listed on the Ryko re-issues
   of 'Goodbye Cruel World' and 'Blood and Chocolate'?
A. 'Withered and Died', written by Richard Thompson, and 'Return to Big
    Nothing', by EC.

Return to Table of Contents


'Rock and Roll Revealed' (author = ?) Includes a list of rock stars' former 
 jobs. EC is listed as 'computer programmer' Also, one section of the book, 
 devoted to accidental deaths of rockers id titled 'Accidents will Happen'
 and in the back of the book, where a diagram explaining rockers love trysts
 and professional collaborations is pictued, EC is linked with Bebe Buell and
 Cait. (

'Encarta' 1996 (Microsoft CD ROM) A twenty second or so cutting of 'Pump it
	 Up' is available as an example of rock music along with Elvis Presly,
	 Little Richard, and an early Soundgarden song.

'Music Central' 1996. (Microsoft CD ROM). Includes a brief clip of EC singing
  'Everyday I write the book.' on the BBC. Also includes a career bio
  and ten album cover pictures.

'Surf This Disc' 1996 (Rykodisc CD-ROM) Includes an EC timeline, bio, photos,
    cover art of all his current Ryko/Demon albums, and various sound bites
    and video clips.

'Love is the Drug' edited by John Aizelwood, 1994, Penguin ISBN 014 024199 X.
    Has a chapter 'Get Happy' by Stuart Maconie on EC.

'Elvis Costello: Testi Con Traduzione A Fronte' by Paolo Bertando. 1989 Arcana
   Editrice ISBN 8885859364. Book #28 in a series on rock stars. Includes
   a biography (in Italian), plus English/Italian lyrics for various songs. 
'Punk: The Illustrated History of a Music Revolution' 1986 Adrian Boot & Chris
   Salewicz (Penguin Studio). Features a single color page layout of EC plus
   a pic of he and Cait from 'Straight to Hell'

'Elvis Costello: A Biography' Tony Clayton-Lea. 1998 (ISBN 0233992952)

'A Singing Dictionary' Elvis Costello. 1980 Warner Bros. Publications VF0813
   Music scores and lyrics to: MAIT, TYM, AF, GH!!, TL plus the obscure
   'That's What Friends Are For'

'Everyday I Write The Song (Grumbling Appendix To The Singing
   Dictionary)'. Elvis Costello. 1983 Warner Bros. Publications VF1080
   Music scores and lyrics to: T, IB, PTC plus some great photos

'Spike' Elvis Costello. 1989 Warner Bros. Publications VF1573.  Words
   and music score to the album.

'Brutal Youth' Elvis Costello. 1994 Music Sales ISBN 0711941106.
   Words and music score to the album.

'The Juliet Letters' Elvis Costello. 1996 Chester Music ISBN
   0711954747 (Full Score) ISBN 0711957991 (Instrumental parts) Words and
   music score to the album.

'Fender: Classic Moments' 1996 Alan Di Perna (Hal Leonard Corp.) - features 
   EC and his Jazzmaster on someone else's front lawn.

'Elvis Costello:  Testi con traduzione a fronte,' (translation: Lyrics with 
   facing-page translations) c. 1989 Arcana Editrice, Milano (#28 in a series
   on songwriters) Contains an introduction dealing with EC's personality and
   career, a chronology, 'Costello viewed by Costello' - quotes on various
   subjects translated into Italian. Also has lyrics for many songs from MAIT
   through Spike in English and Italian . 

'Written in My Soul' Bill Flanagan. Contains 1986 interview with EC @ King 
  of America, originally published in Musician magazine.

'Ferrington Guitars' ed. Kate Giel 1992 Harper Collins. This book is
  about American luthier Danny Ferrington, who has made several guitars for 
  EC.  It comes with a CD featuring renowned customers of Mr Ferrington
  playing their instruments.  EC features on the CD (as does Neil Finn,
  Richard Thompson, Albert Lee and Ry Cooder, among others).

Punk Diary: 1970-1979 George Gimarc 1994 St. Martin's Publishing.
 Follows Elvis through his days from Rusty, Flip City to his early days
 with the Attractions and Stiff Records. It's also a good source of info about
 early releases, demos and rarities.

'Elvis Costello: A Man Out Of Time (A Critical Companion To His Lyrics
   And Music)'. David Gouldstone. 1989 Sidgwick & Jackson ISBN 0283997079.
   The author gives his own personal interpretations of EC's lyrics. Covers 
   through B&C

'God's Comic' David Gouldstone. 1990 St. Martin's Press ISBN
   0312043090 (Revised Version of EC: A Man Out of Time) Covers through 'Spike'

'Going Through the Motions' 1986.  Richard Groothuizen & Kees den Heyer.
   A comprehensive listing of lyrics,setlists and all sorts of neat info on EC.
   Available for $13 US + $7 postage. Contact Richard Groothuizen,
   Primulastraat 46, 1441 HC Purmerend, The Netherlands.

'So Far' 1983. Richard Groothuizen. Contains lyrics and setlists up to end of
  1981.  Available through the Elvis Costello Information Service. 

'Let Them All Talk' Brian Hinton, due out Summer 1998.

'The Dark Stuff' Nick Kent. Features two interviews with Elvis, from 1977 and

'Ranters & Crowd Pleasers' by Greil Marcus  ISBN number 0-385-41720-9.
   (punk in pop music, 1977-92). Our El is devoted a well-deserved nine
   chapters, including the 'Elvis Costello Repents' article from Rolling
   Stone, perhaps the last word on the infamous Bonnie Bramlett incident.

'Book of Rock Lists' by David Marsh. EC is mentioned many times in various

'Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk' by Legs McNeil and
  Gillian McCain (Grove Press, 1996; $25). EC crops up in several places 
  throughout the book, which is basically a cut-and-paste job of interviews
  with a number of musicians. It also includes some comments from Bebe Buell
  on seeing EC in concert for the first time. 

'Stiff: The Story Of A Record Label' by Bert Muirhead. 
  Details all Stiff releases 1976-1982. 

'Elvis Costello: The Illustrated Disco Biography'. Geoff Parkyn. 1984 Omnibus
   Press ISBN 0711905312. Covers to release of GCW

'Elvis Costello: A Completely False Biography Based On Rumour, Innuendo
   And Lies'. Krista Reese 1981 Proteus Publishing ISBN 0906071623. Covers
   through Trust.
'Elvis Costello: An Illustrated Biography'. Mick St.Michael. 1986 Omnibus
   Press ISBN 0711907722. Covers through GCW and release of Best Of.

'And Then I Wrote - The Song-writer Speaks' eds. Tom Russell & Sylvia Tyson.
   1996 Arsenal Pulp Press. Insights by the songwriters themselves (including
   EC) into the how and why of what they do.

'Lost in Music' by Giles Smith, 1995, Picador ISBN 0330 339176.
    Includes a chapter entitled Elvis Costello, which is really about the 
    takeover of CD from vinyl.  
'The Complete Costello' ed. K.L. Stuart. 1991 Clark MacKent Publishing Co.,
   Palo Alto, CA. ISBN 0 413 654206 6  This lyric collection purports to
   be the complete EC guide for all the songs thru MLAR...Including 
   compilations and European versions.
'The Big Wheel'. Bruce Thomas. 1990 Viking 0670834432.  Also Faber & Faber, 
   Inc., Winchester, MA  ISBN 0-571-12944-7. EC penned the song 
  'How To Be Dumb' in response to this book by the Attractions' bassist about
  life on the road with EC & the Attractions.

'Moods For Moderns: A Collection of Works' Veda/Yamahita. 1993 Shinko Music 
  ISBN 4401613864. English/Japanese lyrics up to and including Punch the Clock.

'Rock Lives'. Timothy White. 1990 Henry Holt. Contains an interview
  with EC reprinted from a Musician magazine cover story in 1983, just as
  Punch the Clock was coming out.

Return to Table of Contents

Film Appearances

Americathon :     Elvis seen briefly singing on a street corner as 'Earl
                  Manchester'. Sings 'Crawling to the USA' and 'IDWTGT Chelsea'
                  on the soundtrack. 'Chelsea' is not featured in the movie.

Austin Powers II: Elvis plays a street musician and serenades Mike Meyers and Heather 

No Surrender:     Elvis plays an incompetent magician in a dilapidated

Spice World:      Elvis has a 10 second cameo as a barman in this Spice
                  Girls movie.

Straight to Hell: Elvis has a cameo as a waiter, and his song 'A Town
                  Called Big Nothing' is featured on the soundtrack.
		  Cait O'Riordan sings 'Danny Boy' with the Pogues in the film.

200 Cigarettes:   Elvis is seen at one point going down the stairs and
                  there are several references to him at the end,
                  including several pictures of him at a party in the
                  movie. He also winds up in bed with Jeanine Garofalo in the end.

Music-Related Films

The Aims Gala: Concert recorded at Royal Albert Hall 20th Feb 1988, EC appears
    with Chrissie Hynde and performs Windows of the World, and Days.

A Black & White Night: 1988 video featuring Roy Orbison & Friends (released 
    on HBO VIDEO) and featuring Elvis Costello, T-Bone Burnett,Tom Waits, Bruce
    Springsteen and Bonnie Raitt among others. ( )

Dusty: This 1994 video biography of Dusty Springfield features two short
        interviews with Elvis, hosted by Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders 

Freedom Beat - video of an anti-apartheid concert where EC plays 'Don't
     Let Me Be Misunderstood', also features a short interview. 

The Juliet Letters: Full length video featuring EC and Brodsky Quartet 
       performing the entire album..

Rock for Kampuchea: 12/29/79 benefit concert video featuring various bands at
                    the Hammersmith Odeon, London. Brief clip of EC & A's 
		    performing 'The Imposter'

September Songs - The music of Kurt Weill :(1995) directed by Larry Weinstein. 
   Elvis Costello, with the Brodsky String Quartet sings 'Lost in the stars'.

Weird Nightmare : Ray Davies of the Kinks and EC worked together on
                  this film Ray made on the life of Charles Mingus,
                  available only on Japanese laser disc. 
                  It is a documentary-style film, with quite a lot of
                  commentary from E and some studio work!

Return to Table of Contents


Almost Grown - 'Peace Love and Understanding' was the theme song to the
              pilot of this short-lived CBS TV series (1988).

Americathon - features 'Crawling to the USA', 'Wednesday Week'

The Big Lebowski - features 'My Mood Swings' during a bowling scene, and in a
                   walkman while Jeff Bridges is waiting in a doctor's office.

The Bodyguard - features 'Peace, Love and Understanding (written by N. Lowe)'
                in the closing credits

Club Paradise - features 'Seven Day Weekend' in opening credits

The Courier - stars EC's wife, Cait O'Riordan
	    - features 8 instrumentals composed and arranged by EC

'The Family' (BBC series). EC contributed 4 unreleased songs to play
    over the credits of 4 episodes. 
	Week 1: 'Step inside love' (Lennon/McCartney)
	Week 2: 'You`ve got to hide your love away'  (Lennon/McCartney)
	Week 3: 'Sticks and Stones' (Titus Turner)
	Week 4: 'Kinder Murder' from BY. 

Georgia - features cover rendition of 'Almost Blue' by Jennifer Jason Leigh
          After she performs it in the film, someone compliments her for it
	        and she corrects him by saying 'Thank Mr. Costello - he wrote it'

Get Over It - Alison is sung twice in this movie starring Kirsten 
              Dunst of 2 young men trying to woo the same young lady:
              - 1 young man sings Alison to her from her rooftop whilst drunk
              - the other sings it as his audition for the school play

Grace of My Heart - features 'Unwanted Number' by EC and 'God Give Me
          Strength' by Burt Bacharach and EC.

GBH (Grievous Bodily Harm) TV Series Soundtrack (All instrumentals)

I Want You - features love scene with 'I Want You' playing in the background.

Jake's Progress - Soundtrack to the TV series (series of short orchestral

Let's Get Lost - Chet Baker does cover version of 'Almost Blue'

Mad About You - soundtrack for the TV series includes 'Sneaky Feelings'

Metroland - movie soundtrack includes `Alison'

Party Party - EC does the title track

PCU - Mudhoney does a cover of 'Pump it Up' that can be heard during
      the ultimate frisbee game and over the closing credits.  

Scully (British TV show) - 'Turning the Town Red' is theme song.

Self Catering (made for TV movie) - features 'I Can't Stand Up For Falling
               'Down' and 'Pump it Up'

Short Cuts -- Nightclub singer Annie Ross sings 'Punishing Kiss' in this film.

Straight To Hell - features 'A Town Called Big Nothing'

That Summer - 'Chelsea' appears on the soundtrack of this British film.

Until the End of the World - features Elvis cover of the Kinks' 'Days' 

War of the Buttons - The original Irish version of this film featured
 	 'Life Shrinks' over the credits, but was dropped in later versions.

The Wedding Singer - features 'Everyday I Write the Book' in the soundtrack.

Zero Effect - Mystery Dance is played over the opening credits of this
              Ben Stiller movie. 

Return to Table of Contents

Elvis References in Movies, TV, Books, etc.

All My Children - Aug 31/1996: While Julia and Anita were discussing their
    troubles in the Pine Valley coffeehouse, the title track from All This
    Useless beauty could be heard playing quite clearly in the background.

     Oct 23/97: When Belinda and Mateo are talking in the bar, 'At the other 
    end of the Telescope' is playing very loudly in the background.
      (, (

All Talk - this chat show on BBC featuring Clive Anderson uses 'Let Them All 
      Talk' as its theme song. 

Almost Blue - this novel by Carlo Lucarelli about a serial killer in Bologna
    has a main character obsessed by Chet Baker's 'Almost Blue' (hence the 
    title), but the quotation at the beginning of PART I of the novel is a 
    verse from 'Almost Blue' by EC. (

Almost Grown - several episodes of feature EC's music. One episode centers on
               the live version of Accidents Will Happen. The show's producer
               (David Chase) is a huge EC fan. (

The Arsenio Hall Show - Mayim Bialik, star of the tv show 'Blossom,'
	appeared on this show and mentioned that she is a big EC fan.
	When Arsenio asked why, she cited his excellent lyrics.
	Arsenio asked for an example and Mayim drew a blank, but
	promised she'd have one if she were ever on the show again. Several
	months later, she was a guest again and Arsenio reminded her of that
	promise.  She recited the first verse of 'The Loved Ones.' 

Backberner, ABC TV Australia, 2002-11-08
   When I Was Cruel #2 was played in the background of the piece by Kim Gingell
   in this comedy program.

Beastie Boys - lyric from 'Do It' on 'Ill Communication' CD:
             'You see me coming down the block with the funky cuts
              you say Mike D and I say mic these nuts
              I've got Attractions like I'm Elvis Costello
              Adam Yauch grab the mic 'cause you know you're my mellow'

             - Paul's Boutique LP features a sample from 'Pump it Up'

Beavis and Butthead - Title of one episode is 'Radio Sweethearts'
           Once, while watching a Proclaimers video, one of
           them asked if that was 'that Abbott Costello guy.'

Beverly Hills 90210 - 'The Other Side of Summer' is featured as background
                       music during one episode

Blossom - In one episode, Blossom's father and his girlfriend went to see
       E.C. and the Brodsky Quartet. (

Brain Storm - (Novel: Random House) this novel by Richard Dooling features
    a character wearing an EC t-shirt.
Bright Lights, Big City - this book by Jay McInerney contains the passage
    said at a party near the end, 'Elvis Costello says pump it up when you
    don't really need it.' (

The Butcher's Theater (novel by Jonathan Kellerman, p175) One of the
	policeman characters gets in his car with a girl and pops in
	an Elvis Costello tape.  The girl he's with is described as 
        'grooving to Costello, snapping her fingers and singing along with 
        'Girl Talk' ' (

    Reference to Costello and playing of various songs. (Terry Cane)
    (Please advise me if you know the songs and dates of the episodes.)

Conan O'Brien - On the Feb. 5th, 1998 episode, the show's house band, 
      played an instrumental version of 'Goon Squad' for about fifteen seconds
      as Conan took his seat after delivering the opening monologue.  

The Coriolis Effect - Dialogue from this movie goes 'The truth can't
    hurt you, It's just like the dark. It scares the shit out of you but
    that's about all...'. One of the characters also wears an EC & Rude 5

CNBC - Segment on mutual funds concluded with the reporter saying 'So
    although you may feel you're getting more money throughout the year, at
    tax time you may have to pay it back.', while in the background the
    music to 'Pay It Back' played. (

The Daily Show (Comedy Central) did a slam piece on Oliver North and the story
     was introduced with 'Oliver's Army is here to stay'. (micheleh@IPO.NET)
    One episode started with host Craig Kilborn opening with the line,' I'm
    Craig Kilborn, and everyday I write the book.' (

    One show included five questions on EC.  The question posed to Dan 
    Cortese  was 'What Elvis Costello song made the top ten'?  He answered
    'Alison'.  Kilborn said something like 'a lot of people say that.  No,
    it was Veronica'.  (

Dead at 21 - 'Accidents Will Happen' features as background music as two
              people are changing a baby.

Debt - One of the categories on this game show was 'The Songs of Elvis
       Costello' - the contestant failed to identify a snippet from 
       'Taking My Life in Your Hands'

Delores Clairborne - 'TYM poster is featured prominently in the Delores' 
            daughter's bedroom.

Dennis Miller - In one of Dennis Miller's rants on crime and violence
	he notes that people with a liberal, softy view on criminal
	punishment will 'change their tune faster than Elvis Costello on
	Saturday Night Live' when they find themselves a victim. 

Dr. Katz Professional Therapist - in one episode of this cartoon 
    a patient describes his fantasy of creating a musical with the theme
    being frozen food. The patient  wonders if he can get 'that guy, Elvis
    Costello' to contribute a song. Then, as he goes into an EC imitation,
    the cartoon of the patient changes to EC, who appears to sing, a lyric 
    along the lines of 'What's gonna become of me, I lost the recipe' etc. 

ER - on an episode entitled 'Calling Dr. Hathaway',  at the very end
     while the nurses are meeting at a bar,  'Everyday I write the book' 
     can be heard on a jukebox. ( (

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial -- older son sings 'Accidents Will Happen' for
	    a few seconds while opening the fridge door
            (EC still gets royalties for this apparently)
 	- the older brother in 'E.T.' has an EC poster in his room.

Entertainment Weekly - Dec 20/1996 issue featured a parodied 'Tickle Me
         Elvis Costello Doll', after the Sesame Street character.

Fashion Television - used a considerable chunk of 'Accidents Will Happen'
     behind a short feature about Naomi Campbell taking a dive on a runway 
     as the result of tripping in six-inch platforms. (tqc8542@IS.NYU.EDU)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High -  Mike Damone has 'Trust' and 'Taking Liberties'
          posters on his bedroom wall.
          The lead singer in the band at the end bears a striking resemblance
          to EC circa 1978. (

Freddy's Dead (Nightmare on Elm Street 6) - D.P.A. MacManus is mentioned in
 	the 'Special Thanks To' section of the credits.

Friends - In one episode where one of the characters tries to quit smoking, 
          the bass-line from 'Jack of All Parades' can be heard in one scene.

Georgia - this movie features a cover of 'Almost Blue' sung by the film's
        star, Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Godfather III - features 'Miracle Man' in scene in Italian villa w/ Andy
              Garcia and Sofia Coppola.

Grace of My Heart -  At one point, during a film shoot, Patsy Kensit's
   character tells the girl-group she's working with that 'This is supposed
   to be upbeat, not uptight. Get happy!' (young057@GOLD.TC.UMN.EDU)

High Fidelity - novel by Nick Hornby 1995 has a number of Elvis Costello 
       references, including three of the characters debating over their top
       5 Elvis Costello songs of all time.  

Holby City - BBC 1 medical drama used Shipbuilding on the episode screened on
       2001-05-08. ()

Holly Oaks - this UK TV Ch 4 series has a character named Declan Costello.

How Late It Was, How Late - Booker prize winning novel by James Kelman.
       Main character is musing over his departed girlfriend while listening to
       'Good Year for the Roses'. He speculates that EC, just like the original
       songwriter, doesn't get it that, the fact that she's made the bed every 
       day for three years is part of why she's gone.

In the Company of Men - On the DVD release of Neil LaBute's 1997 film there
     is a commentary track where the director and other crew members are
     discussing the music they attempted to use for the film.  Originally,
     they tried to use excerpts from "The Juliet Letters," but for reasons
     not quite explained, this idea was scrapped. (

It's Alive III: Island of the Alive - Michael Moriarity's character is
	in a prostitute's apartment, and she has a poster of Elvis Costello
	(circa 'Armed Forces') hanging up amongst posters of Elvis, Hendrix,
	Joplin, Jagger, and Morrison. (

Jag - Lt. Williams says in 'Desert Son' episode: 'Accidents will happen...
            that's an old Elvis Costello tune...'

Jake's Progress - In the final epiode Jamie mutters: 'Brutal 
       youth' after an encounter with some smart-ass schoolkids.

Jeopardy - A question read 'This Let's Make a Deal creator shares the
   same birthday with Sean Connery and Elvis Costello' 
    -Answer: Who is Monty Hall?.

Jocks - One of the characters asks if he can play some EC in the car.

Just One of the Guys - Two women in the movie mention that the lead
 			  actress 'dresses like Elvis Costello'

Law & Order
   US TV show, episode: "Tragedy on Rye". Opening sequence before the
   credits. Detectives survey crime scene and find a Rickenbacher Guitar
   (or bass I wasn't paying attention). Detective 1 says to the Detective
   2: "It was good enough for Elvis" to which Detective 2 replies 'Now
   you're talking my language' to which Detective 1 says 'I'm talking about
   Elvis Costello' to which Detective 2 says 'Who's on First'.

Let Them All Talk - This British TV show uses 'Let Them All Talk' as its
        theme music.

Less Than Zero - EC's 'Trust' poster appears prominently in this book (but
          there are no references to EC in the movie) 
          The novel's author based the title on EC's song, and a psychiatrist
          in the story has the Rolling Stone 'Elvis Costello Repents' cover 
          hanging in his office. (

The Liar - this Stephen Fry novel features a university don who is a rampant
          Costello-phile. (lovechunks@HOTMAIL.COM)

Mad TV - One skit features college students scalping tickets; one character
    says 'I got to see some great concerts though! Elvis Costello came there
     right after King Of America came out!!'

Mad About You - in one episode 'Everyday I write the book' cam be heard.

The Marshall Chronicles - this short-lived 1990 sitcom opened its first 
     episode with the main character being woken up by 'Miracle Man' on his
     clock radio. (

Melrose Place - Alison Parker's ex-boyfriend sings a horrendous version of
                'Alison' in one episode.

Minimum Wage -  In Bob Fingerman's TPB 'Minimum Wage', a shot of the 
    protagonist's apartment room shows EC in 3 consecutive panels (pp. 
    35-36).  Two are just random drawings/photos of the man (with 'EC' next 
    to one of them), and the other is a poster of the camera shot from TYM.  
    Also, on the sketchbook in the back, another chaacter is holding yet 
    another EC album. (yarlas@PSYCH.UCLA.EDU)

Mystery Date - main character (Nathan Hawke) has a MAIT poster in his room.

MST3K - Crow & Gypsy the wise-cracking robots frequently make Elvis references
        (some of them rather obscure - apparently Jim Mallon (voice of Gypsy)
         is a big Elvis fan) 

The Newz - Featured a comedy skit entitled 'The Abbott and Costello Show',
           in which the actors impersonating Bud Abbott and *Elvis* Costello.

Night Stand With Dick Dietrick - Smart-ass talk show host Dick Dietrick 
	responds to his guest confusion over a characters name (a la 'Whose on 
	First) by saying 'Here we go with another Elvis and Costello routine.' 
	(Dick is always mangling peoples names and facts on the show)

Out of the Blue (BBC) -  One of the leading actors was drunk in a pub and was
 softly heard saying the lyrics from _Deep dark truthful mirror_ 'A butterfly
 drinks a turtle`s tear....Jesus wept, he felt abandoned'.

Party of Five -  The girlfriend of one of the main characters does a version 
            of 'The Angels Wanna Wear my Red Shoes' with her band (and
           sings the wrong lyric - 'Since I went and got arrested') (
           One of Julia's friends in a bar sings Alison in an early 
           episode.  (

The Pogues: Their song 'Fiesta' includes the lyric 'y Costello, el rey de

The Pooh Sticks: Their CD 'Million Seller' has lead singer Hue flying
      through the air on EC's gold 45 Accidents Will Happen single. 

The Rockford Files - EC mentioned in one episode as an example of modern 

Rumble in the Bronx -  a poster ad for the 2.5 yrs boxed set appears in the 
    background of a scene in this Jackie Chan movie, where some men are shot 
    in their car. (
Sabrina, Teenage Witch ((ABC) -  On one episode they were copying the
    'Pop-ups' usually seen on VH1.  At one point, Sabrina is dropping
    textbooks from a tower, trying to knock out a troll.  On her last
    try, she says: 'My Aim is True'.  The pop-up reads: 'My Aim is True'
    was Elvis Costello's first album.

The Sandman - This comic book series frequently contains EC refs. Issue #1
              is titled 'Sleep of the Just' and issue #37 is titled 'I Woke
              Up and One of Us Was Crying' (lyric from 'I Want You')
              A woman is talking to Death, telling her about an wonderful
              evening she'd had taking a walk with her girlfriend a long time
              ago. The crystal moment of the evening was when she, the woman,
              started humming 'this old Elvis Costello song, Hoover Factory.'
              She didn't think anyone else in the world knew it, but her 
              girlfriend started humming it along with her. (andy@WIRED.COM)

Sandman Mystery Theatre - in an issue of this DC comic book from about a year
    and a half ago, the editor writes: 'As Elvis Costello once said, accidents
    will happen' in response to a reader's notification of some kind of error.

    "High Fidelity" is played during the final moment of the first episode, the 
    clip - "high fidelity, can you hear me, can you hear me" - is playing over 
    a shot of a bugged table lamp. (Jennifer Senft)
    "High Fidelity" The second episode played the 1st chorus, the bridge, the 
    2nd verse, and the second chorus but ended before the fade. This was over 
    the closing credits. (Steve Horan)
    "High Fidelity" is played over the end credits of Season 3, Episode 1, after
    the feds have planted a listening device in Tony's basement.
    "Complicated Shadows" is played in Season 1, Episode 4 and in Episode 3 in 
    the "scenes from next week". (Peter Kneute)

Satisfaction - Justine Bateman does a version of 'Mystery Dance' on the 

Saturday Night Live - (1994) Michael McKean (Spinal Tap) does Elvis
                           Costello impersonation in one skit .
    - Colin Quinn impersonates EC in a 'Set Our Nanny Free' sketch -- a
      send-up of those 'We are the World' type sessions, in this case with a
      bunch of British celebrities recording a song in support of the British
      nanny Louise Woodward. It was on the 11/8/97 Jon Lovitz/Jane's Addiction
      episode.  Also, Colin Quinn has had a recurring sketch called 'Colin 
      Quinn Explains the New York Times' which plays a snippet of 'Waiting 
      for the End of the World' as it comes on.  (

SCTV - 'Elvis and Costello' skit features players impersonating Elvis Presley
        and Lou Costello.

Seymour the Fractal Cat - 'I Almost Had A Weakness' is used as the theme
    song for this BBC radio comedy series which stars Greg Proops.

A Short Series of Discrete Problems - by Steven Jacobi (published by Secker
    & Warburg in January 1997). A passage from this book reads:  
    'Armitage was busy playing with the cassette deck on the other side of
     the room . 'I'm not sure I like this,' she said. 'Do you have anything 
     less monotonous? Some words, maybe?'
        Wislon gathered himself together, his face a riot of disgrace. He
     tugged his hair back into some kind of shape and ambled over, though
     not all the way.
        'Elvis Costello?'  
         'Mmmm,' she almost replied. 'And I'll give you a hand with the
          washing-up. Then I really must be going.'' 

Shudder to Think - Their enhanced CD '50,000 Yeras BC' features singer Craig
   doing an EC impersonation while demo`ing a song he wrote for EC.

Singles - a guy meets an old friend who used to be a DJ and talks about
          how he used to mix 'Peace, Love..' by EC and a Public Enemy song
          on the radio.

Singled Out (MTV) -  one one episode a girl was told to choose the body type
     of her potential date as either being 'Elvis Costello or Lou Costello.'
Spiderman - EC references can be found occasionally in this comic strip.
        eg. one comic Spiderman (SM) is at the mercy of the Purpleman who has
	the ability to make anyone do anything he says through
	some sort of mental capability.  Purpleman tells SM to hang
	from a lamp post and recite from Hamlet.  SM replies that he
	doesn't know any Shakespeare, how about 'Oliver's Army' and then
	proceeds to hang from a lamp post and recite EC lyrics.

	In the January, 1976 comic book 'Superman Vs. Spider-Man', Spidey's
        alter-ego Peter Parker flubs his chance at a date with a young beauty
        when he can't scrape the scratch together for tickets to an EC & the 
        Attractions concert. (

        Peter Parker had what appeared to be a highly-stylized version
        of the Trust poster up on the wall of his low-rent apartment for 
        years and years during the early-eighties.

Square Pegs - dialogue on one episode mentions EC: 'I mean look at Elvis
              Costello (reply): Do I have to?' (

Star Cops (BBC TV) - In one episode a ship returns to Earth's environs with 
       all the crew dead. When one of the investigators plays a 'music tile' 
       belonging to one of the dead crew 'I'm Not Angry' blares out.

Steven Banks Show - 'Spike' poster on wall of main character's apartment.
		  - woman on show goes to a concert where EC jams with
                    Dylan, Van Morrison, Harrison and others. 

The Story of My Life - (by Jay McInereny). There are several references
         to EC in this novel. The main character's name is Alison - the group
         sings part of Alison to her. She replies with some lines from 'Party 
         Girl'. Also, one the women shows up with 'a member of the EC band' 

Strip Jack -  authored by Ian Rankin.  Published by St. Martin's 
        Press, 1994. ISBN 0312105533. This mystery novel 
        features a character named Aloysius Costello, a university professor.

Taxi - In one episode Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman), is listening to a record
       player on headphones while he's fixing a cab.  Louie DePalma (Danny
       DeVito) goes to the record player and drags the needle. Causing Latka to
       shout 'Hey!  You just wasted Elvis Costello!' After the incident Latka says,
       "tough to get happy after that one," no doubt referring to the album GH!!.

That '70s Show  - on the 21/06/99 episode of this FOX tv show, during
       the scene in which Hyde and his punk rocker girlfriend are
       breaking up, a long excerpt from "Alison" is played. (

Thief of Hearts - In this 1984 American movie ', Steven Bauer plays a
   professional burglar who romances a bored housewife (Barbara Williams)
   after robbing her house and reading her diaries. In one scene, he tells her
   that he imagines that she listens to the radio station 'that plays Elvis
   Costello and old First Edition.'    (

Thirtysomething - one of the episodes ends with EC's Hollywood High version of
           'Accidents Will Happen'

The Tracey Ullman Show - in one skit she plays a disk jockey and sings a cover
     version of 'Radio Radio'

     On another episode, a skit featured Tracey as a high school student
     playing volleyball in a gym class led by a sadistic teacher.  The class
     revolts, and Tracey leads the other young women in a rousing rendition
     of '(What's So Funny'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding.' 

Trainspotting - novel by Irvine Welsh (1993). 'Johnny waltzed over tae
   Alison and serenaded her. --Hey-ey good-lookin, whaaat-cha got cookin...He
   turned tae Raymie, whae wis steadfastly keepin shoatie at the windae.  
   Raymie could detect a labdick in a crowded street the wey that sharks can 
   sense a few drops of blood in an ocean. -- Pit some sounds oan Raymie.  
   Ah'm seek ay that new Elvis Costello, bit ah cannae stoap playin the cunt.
   Fuckin magic man, ah'm telling ye.' (Trainspotting, p.7)
VH1 - Their Spring 1998 '100 Greatest Artists of Rock 'n' Roll' special puts
      EC at a respectable #38. (

Vicar Of Dibley
   The complete My Funny Valentine is played in the episode that Hugo proposes 
   to Alice. Short clips of Alice are played which fit in very well with the 

Watchmen - This comic book included the lyrics to 'The Comedians' as a
           postscript to the second chapter entitled 'Absent Friends'. One
           of the main characters in the series is called 'The Comedian'

White Man's Grave - (by Richard Dooling, p.205:) 
  'She's nice to look at, but she won't do nothing for you, no matter how
  hard you breathe on her.  She's here for the Third World Experience.  She's
  busy discovering a village that never existed until she arrived to
  experience it and give it deep meaning.  She's into multiculturalism and
  hates dead white males, because they have been enslaving and debasing women
  for centuries. .... She'd rather listen to some spasm band out in the bush
  banging on rusty saws than to Mozart or Elvis Costello.'

Whose Line is it Anyway - comedian Greg Proops sang out the credits in an
 			  Elvis Costello style one episode. Also does a
 			  Elvis-esque version of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer
                          Clive Anderson once introduced Greg Proops as 'The 
                          thinking man's Elvis Costello'

Wise Guy - In one episode the main character is talking to a musician and 
	trying to sell him on a shady music producer and says, 'You remember 
        what Sam Phillips did for Elvis Presley?  And what Nick Lowe did for
        Elvis Costello?'  (

WKRP  - A 'Trust' poster can be seen on the wall of the radio studio in some 

World Series Baseball Final, 2002
   FOX networks have been using "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" for 
   its World Series coverage of the Anaheim Angels. They also used 
   "Everyday I Write The Book" over a video montage of record-breaker 
   Barry Bonds.

X-Factor - in this comic book, The Beast is introduced to EC by his
    girlfriend, and for several issues makes references to how EC changed
    his life.  (

(, (,

Return to Table of Contents

EC Album Title Trivia

Origins of Album Titles
My Aim is True      - lyric from 'Alison'

This Year's Model   - variation on lyric from '(I.D.W.T.G.T.) Chelsea', also
                      variation on song title 'This Year's Girl' 

Armed Forces        - probably from 'Oliver's Army', but also general military

Get Happy!!  	    - Elvis' response to poor reviews of 'Armed Forces'

Trust               - perhaps from Squeeze song of the same name (b-side of 
                      both 'Is That Love?', and 'Tempted' which were produced
                      by EC.) ( 

Taking Liberties    - line from 'Crawling to the USA'

Almost Blue         - ? (later became a song title on 'Imperial Bedroom')

Imperial Bedroom    - ? (EC wrote title song after album was released), 

Punch the Clock     - lyric from 'The Greatest Thing'

Goodbye Cruel World - Around this time EC got sick of pop star life, things 
                      became strained with the Attractions, his first marriage
                      broke up, hence the title. (From Musician magazine, 

King of America     - first line of 'Brilliant Mistake'

Blood & Chocolate   - first line of 'Uncomplicated', possibly from Hesse's 
                      novel 'Steppenwolf' (

Ten Bloody Mary's and Ten How's Your Fathers - Ten songs on each side.
		     - '10 Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers' is a common form of
                      Penance given to Catholics after Confession - to say 10
                      of each prayer in atonement for the sins just confessed.
                      'A bit of how's your father' is an English euphemism for
                       sex. A Bloody Mary is a drink consisting of Vodka and
                      tomato juice. ( 

Out of Our Idiot    - possible word play on the phrase 'Out of Our Idiom'
                    - might alro refer to the origins of the songs (i.e. out
                      of EC's (self-deprecating!) head.  

Girls+/Girls=$+Girls - From EC's liner notes: 'I have arranged the songs
                      in four parts so as to try and tell a number of different
                      stories(...) The deciding factor in making these choices
                      is contained in the obscure arithmetic of the title, 
                      although I must caution against taking it too seriously,
                      unless you are considering a career in the legal
		                 - Interestingly, Elvis Presley starred in a 1962 movie
                      entitled 'Girls! Girls! Girls!'

Spike               - Reference to musician Spike Jones

Mighty Like A Rose  - quote in booklet (from Song 'Mighty Lak' a Rose', lyrics
		       F.L. Stanton; used in Emlyn Williams' play Night Must 
                       Fall as the 'theme song' of the murderer 
                    - also line from 'The Other Side of 
                      Summer': ('The mightiest rose / the absence of perfume')

The Juliet Letters  - inspired by an article about a Veronese professor who
                      was replying to letters written to Juliet Capulet of
                      Shakespearean fame.

Brutal Youth        - beginning of 2nd verse of 'Favourite Hour'

Kojak Variety       - 'By the way, the title came from the name of a grocery
                       store on the way to the studio' (EC interview- AOL)
                      'Kojak Variety is the name of a shop in (Parrishtown) 
                       Barbados. It's a supermarket. He was so struck by the 
                       fact that there was no reason why that shop had to be
                       called that way that he decided that there was no
                       reason why an album should not be called that way, so 
                       he did' - Pete Thomas, Beyond Belief, Mar. 1997.
All This Useless Beauty - title of one of the tracks. 'They [songs on ATUB] 
       add up to a pretty good representation of my frame of mind at the
       moment, including the breaking of my nineteen-year tradition of not
       having a title song (laughs).' Interview with EC - Hot Press July 96.

Extreme Honey       - 'I was getting told off in a write-up for not playing
             enough of my ballads--and I think I misread the translation!' 
             Costello says. ' 'This is extreme honey.'  I thought it was a 
             great phrase, connoting the sweet and the tart which often exist
             even inside the same song. And it's appropriate for this time, 
             which has not been without difficult moments for both my 
             audience and myself:  I acknowledge that there have been 
             challenges for the listeners to the point sometimes where they 
             don't want to come with me, like 'The Juliet Letters.'  Every 
             record can't appeal to everyone in the world.'  (Billboard)

Original Working Titles For EC Albums
This Year's Model   - 'Girls Girls Girls'(?) (fjw0393@is2.NYU.EDU),
		      'Little Hitler', 'The King of Belgium'.
Armed Forces        - 'Emotional Fascism', 'Platinum Project'
Trust               - 'More Songs about Fucking and Fighting', 'Cats and Dogs'
Imperial Bedroom    - 'PS I Love You, 'A Revolution of the Mind', 'Music To
                       Stop Clocks'
Blood & Chocolate   - 'The Christian Ghost of Lenny Bruce'
Spike               - 'More Important Work'
Brutal Youth        - 'Idiophone' (?)
All This Useless Beauty - 'A Case for Song'

Return to Table of Contents


Thanks to all the people on the EC mailing list, whose contributions
make up the bulk of this document. Special thanks go to Amy Coppola,
Gordon Dymowski, Melinda Hale, Paul Hosken, and Aaron Yarlas for
their help in editing the early versions, and Dave Farr at Beyond
Belief for providing substantial information.