Elvis Costello: Mystery Dance


Elvis Costello: Mystery Dance

Profile of singer-songwriter Elvis Costello, from a Catholic upbringing to success with The Attractions, multiple reinventions and collaborations with the likes of Paul McCartney.


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Transcript


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This programme contains some strong language

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People have been trying to get me

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to write my biography since I was 24.

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It took me a while to get round to the idea

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there might be some book to write.

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So the only book I can write is the one that nobody else can know

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but me - the things that I was actually feeling,

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the experiences that aren't on any other public record.

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Cos they're things that happened out of the picture.

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I don't mean in my professional life,

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even before it, in the life of my family before I was born,

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or after I was born, when I was a child,

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that had something to do with the way I hear music.

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Not that I want to make that sound like some sort of magical story,

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but everyone's way of listening is different,

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and mine's the way it is because of these things,

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and that's all I want to raise a glass to, you know.

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Declan MacManus, better known as Elvis Costello, is widely regarded

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as the most brilliant British songwriter of his generation.

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He came of age at a time when rock music had lost its innocence

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and become aware of its history.

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His sources draw from ragtime to country and '60s soul,

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from Schubert to Abba and the Beatles,

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from eclectic jazz to the Great American Songbook.

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MUSIC: "Pump it Up" by Elvis Costello

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# I've been on tenterhooks Ending in dirty looks

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# Listenin' to the Muzak Thinking 'bout this 'n' that

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# She said that's that I don't wanna chitter-chat

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# Turn it down a little bit Or turn it down flat

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-# Pump it up!

-When you don't really need it

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# Pump it up!

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# Until you can feel it... #

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What was thrilling about him at the time was that punk rock had

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a lot of excitement, pace, acceleration,

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and the press were waiting for someone who would come along and add

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a little depth and three-dimensional quality to the words.

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And in came Elvis with his strange kind of geeky, weird look and

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his aggression and pace, a few minor chords

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and a few extraordinary songs that you could relate to.

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And all that was condensed into one great cocktail

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which had enormous impact.

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# Oliver's army is here to stay

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# Oliver's army are on their way

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# And I would rather be anywhere else but here today... #

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The New Wave geek was the first of a series of personae

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that Elvis would explore,

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playfully reinventing his image over the next 30 years in a way

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that parallels his uniquely wide-ranging musical adventures.

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He comes through the Beatles, he comes through the blues,

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soul, he comes through '60s music, '70s music, and beyond.

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# What would you say? What would you do?

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# Children and animals Two by two... #

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He likes people not to get too in a comfort zone.

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He wants to keep things dangerous,

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because that's when the best things happen.

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# Everyone dreams of him just as they can

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# But he's only the humble delivery man... #

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Other musicians hope a little bit of his thing

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will rub off on them as well.

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Because he's got this wild, slightly feral quality that they all like.

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# In a certain light...

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# He looked like Elvis

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# In a certain way He felt like Jesus... #

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He had such an incredibly strong, muscular voice

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and could sing anything, I mean, really, and yet it's always Elvis.

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# Well, I hope you live long now... #

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Elvis is a master of melody,

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but what distinguishes him above all is an almost uncanny way with words,

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from the creative use of the well-worn cliche

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to daring poetic associations,

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whether he is writing about the sorrow of love

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or the burning fire of desire,

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the power play of the bedroom or the world of politics.

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# I never thought for a moment

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# That human life could be so cheap

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# But when they finally put you in the ground... #

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# ..I'll stand there laughing

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# And tramp the dirt down. #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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HE SNIFFS

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It's a nice smell.

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# When that I was and a little tiny boy

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# With a hey-ho The wind and the rain

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# A foolish thing was but a toy

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# For the rain It raineth every day... #

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And we lived down here,

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just in the little modern estate that was built in the late '50s.

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We lived in the top flat there.

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There was a back way that we could get down to the river.

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My bedroom was at the back.

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JAZZ MUSIC PLAYS

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What I knew was what I saw through my parents' experience.

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I knew that my parents' friends were mostly jazz musicians, and that

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my dad had played jazz, and most of the music in the house was jazz,

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Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Stan Kenton,

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Nat Cole instrumental records,

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or American vocal music, Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat Cole, Eckstine.

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Later on, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee...

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That's the records that we had on the shelf.

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Elvis' father, Ross MacManus, had been one of Liverpool's

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daring bebop pioneers,

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modelling himself on Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.

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Discovering a talent for singing,

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he started working as a dance-band vocalist.

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He was taken on by the Joe Loss Orchestra - leaders in the field.

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There were all these jazz bands, they were all over the radio,

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and Joe Loss hired my dad.

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I remember him going to work,

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yeah, he would just get in the car and drive to work,

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so his office on the weekday was the Hammersmith Palais.

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BIG BAND MUSIC PLAYS

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They were a 16-piece Glenn Miller-style dance band

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and they could play all the dances of the day,

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they'd have their Latin section,

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they would do quicksteps, foxtrots, waltzes,

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they'd play two sets a night, and they'd play on a Saturday afternoon,

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people would go and practise ballroom dancing there in the afternoon,

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it was a very vivid scene to me.

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When I was only seven or eight,

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I was just put up in the balcony with a bag of crisps and a bottle of pop

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and the lady from the cloakroom was given the charge of looking after me.

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I wasn't going anywhere, there was nobody in the balcony except me. It was just me.

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And then little by little through the '60s, they start to have shows

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that featured beat groups and that's how, you know...

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And Joe Loss was very shrewd, he was a guy who knew a hit

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when he heard it.

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-# If I had a bell

-If I had a bell

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-# I'd ring it in the morning

-I'd ring it in the morning

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-# I'd ring it in the evening

-Ring it in the... #

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And in my dad, he was fortunate that he had somebody who was

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very versatile and a very good mimic.

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# I'd ring out a warning, yeah

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# I'd ring about the love between my brothers and my sisters

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# All over this land

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# Oh-oh-oh-oh... #

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He would be in the front room with a stack of records and sheet music

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and listening to the records over and over again until he had it memorised.

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I think it's early '63 when Please Please Me came out.

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I asked him for Please Please Me, I said,

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"What are you going to do with that record?"

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He didn't keep any of the records, so he must have given them

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to friends' kids or something, and then I started asking for them

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and I got them every week, like, five, six records at a time.

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It was a lot of records for a nine- or ten-year-old to have.

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I had 500% more records than pocket money could have bought me

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if I spent every penny of my pocket money on a record every week.

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Yeah, so that's why I know so many songs!

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BELL RINGS

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MUSIC: "Turpentine"

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# I can't tell if this is real or if I am sleeping... #

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I'm just looking for problematic songs on here for sound.

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You've got a lot of those sort of tom-tommy songs.

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It's the tom-tom... It's the tom-tom ones that are the problem.

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If it's too much, it'll get oppressive,

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so in a way, the placing of the wheel will help with that

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because it's really a symphony hall, that's what I was afraid of.

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Watch Your Step, let's put that up,

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-because we haven't done that transition.

-OK, yeah.

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Then what is the transition?

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THEY LAUGH

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Whichever one I start singing first!

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At least we're not freaked out now when I get it wrong.

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HE SINGS

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I knew I was a writer from when I was about eight.

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I knew that, I used to write plays, I don't know why,

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I used to answer essays in play form,

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and I was a sort of argumentative kid,

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I always have been argumentative, and I suppose a bit precocious,

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and I remember doing that and thinking this was funny,

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and I wrote poetry.

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It was all nonsense, you know, just like you have to learn,

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and when I was 13, I started setting things to music.

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I'd had a guitar since I was about ten, but I had never played it,

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it was like a kid's one, and eventually when I was about 13,

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I put steel strings on it, which wrecked it, of course,

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and somebody had the chord changes of Man Of The World by Fleetwood Mac

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written out in chord symbols, which isn't exactly an easy song,

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it's not three chords, it's quite complicated,

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but I was so enamoured of the song, I taught myself how to play it.

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It was the first song I ever learned how to play,

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and then went backwards and learned more simplified chords.

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I just literally learned, memorised all of them and worked and worked

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until I could play that one song, that was the only song I could play.

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MUSIC: "Man Of The World" by Fleetwood Mac

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I also inherited some clothes from my dad, because we were the same size.

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So when I was, like, 13, I had some Nehru jackets, and he would

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also get handmade shoes - by this point, he was earning a bit of money.

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He was getting shoes made, and he was getting Chelsea boots made,

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and they'd get a little worn from being on stage, and he'd get

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some new ones, and they were perfectly serviceable for a teenager.

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And then, of course, my feet grew, and I got a little taller

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and I couldn't do it any more.

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And then you go through that period

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where you don't know what you are, who you are, you're all lumpy

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and spotty and horrible, like most kids go through,

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and I just never felt very good after that.

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So I just found what worked for me, which was a suit jacket,

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and I've worn that ever since, it doesn't matter how hot it is.

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After his parents' separation, Elvis moved to Liverpool

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with his mother, and continued his studies

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at a Catholic secondary school.

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We had this history teacher, he came into class every day,

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opened a book and he dictated his own university notes to us.

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I think we all resented the fact that he wasn't really teaching us,

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so I would argue with him,

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and I knew enough about history that I could argue with him.

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That's how I knew...how I learned how to be provocative,

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because he just pissed me off.

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My friend was killed down there when I was 17.

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Came out of an annexe...

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..and then tried to get a lift from one of the teachers,

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the 300 yards back to the school, and didn't see a car coming.

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And to die at 17 like that, right in front of us, was terrible, you know.

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HE WHISTLES

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At 17, you think you're pretty much immortal,

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so when that was brought home that we're not...

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Although intellectually I knew we weren't immortal,

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you still sort of thought, "Well, I've got lots of time,"

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and I thought, "Well, I'd better get on with it, then."

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# Sitting in a park in Paris, France

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# Reading the news and it sure looks bad

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# They won't give peace a chance

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# That was just a dream some of us had... #

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He once told me that he'd gone out

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and bought a copy of Joni Mitchell's Blue when it came out,

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and he would have been, I guess, 17 at the time.

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And he told me he physically wore out the grooves of the record

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listening to Joni Mitchell's Blue.

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Over and over again, in bed at night.

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He had to go out and buy another copy in the end.

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# I'll even kiss a Sunset pig

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# California, I'm coming home... #

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Elvis always had aspirations as a songwriter.

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His earliest performances were in Liverpool's folk and country clubs.

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I mostly played my own songs to begin with.

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I didn't know how that was going to make a living, but...

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Because my dad was a singer professionally,

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I knew I didn't want to do what he did.

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Because at some point, I didn't judge him for it,

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but I knew he'd made a decision to go into entertainment.

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Really when I was born, he went from playing the music that he loved

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to playing music he could get paid for playing,

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or singing, in his case.

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By the way, there, just there, pull up, pull up.

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That's called the St George's Project, and it used to be

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called "The Blackie"

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cos like most of the sandstone buildings in Liverpool,

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they used to be black from the soot

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and I was paid 50p, my first ever paying gig, to play there,

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in 1970.

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Nobody saw me and said, "I'm now going to make you a success."

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I think the distance between what we were doing

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and the reality of pop music at that moment was so great.

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You had epic stadium music, or you had Slade and Gary Glitter.

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You couldn't summon up anything that sounded like that

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with two acoustic guitars.

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# Don't lose your grip on love

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# Don't lose your grip on love... #

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He could see that I had been earning my living in a band

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pretty much playing American roots music, which is what...

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That was the key to it for him, the entrance was American roots music.

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# I was tuning in the shine on the light night dial

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# On the front of my radio... #

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I heard demos of Flip City. I didn't really think much of them,

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because none of them were very good players, including Declan.

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But the ambition he had for himself

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was way, way beyond his actual ability.

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# What we need is a little music So here to entertain you... #

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I sent tapes out, all around London to different publishers

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because I believed I was a songwriter, not a performer,

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and just got rejection notices,

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so obviously, the songs I was writing,

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either they didn't see anything in them

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for the other artists they had...

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The sort of artists they had,

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when I think about it now, logically, the songs may have had some merit,

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but it is hard to imagine how anybody who was currently in the pop scene

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could have interpreted them.

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Soon after, Elvis signed with a new indie,

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created by mavericks Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera.

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Just after I got my record contract, or around the time I did,

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I lived in a block of flats behind there.

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I used to get the train to Willesden Junction

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and walk from Willesden past the Walls factory to Elizabeth Arden,

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where I was working, I was working as a computer operator

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because I was working an IBM 360 on my own,

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and what I was doing was great because nobody knew what I was doing!

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I was just pushing these buttons

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and acting like it was much more difficult than it was,

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and the machine took as long as it took to do the calculations.

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If things went wrong,

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it was because the printer physically chewed up the cards

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and you'd have to get them retyped.

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They were all things that delayed what you were doing

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and give you lots of time to mess about,

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and that messing about was writing my first record.

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What I didn't write up in the bedroom there, I wrote at work.

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I Cannot Turn It Off, take one.

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# Basement babies strangling saxophones

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# They got twisted motives

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# They got eyes of stone

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# And it's a terminal condition that is tattooed on their shoes

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# It's not that they don't need you

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# They're too mixed up to choose

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# Broken noses hung up high on the wall

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# Back-slapping drinkers cheer the championship brawl

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# But they're so punch-drunk They don't understand the word defeat

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# They can take you out and shoot you

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# They can't confiscate that beat... #

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# ..Cut loose in a nightmare Cast off in my dreams

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# If home is anywhere that I can hang my hat

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# Then it's coming apart at the seams

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# My luck is hanging upside down

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# I try to hold on tight

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# But money's rolling out of town and love slips right out of sight

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# And these bones don't look so good to me

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# Jokers talk and they all disagree

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# One day soon, I will laugh right in the face of the poison moon... #

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You know, I didn't have any audience, I didn't have any knowledge of

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an audience when I was writing the songs on My Aim Was True,

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I just knew I had to write some songs...

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..that would get me out the bedroom.

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I was married to my first wife, and my young son,

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and I didn't really have the money to be going out to join in what

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was going on uptown, there was a new scene happening.

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I'd always felt like I lived slightly off the pace

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of where it was happening.

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When I was a little kid, the Rolling Stones were playing

0:21:080:21:11

the other side of Richmond Bridge, but I was too young to go.

0:21:110:21:15

The Who were down the river, I was too young to go.

0:21:150:21:18

By the time I was out and about, it was all gone!

0:21:180:21:21

They'd left town.

0:21:210:21:22

# One day soon, I will laugh right in the face of the poison moon. #

0:21:240:21:32

And that wouldn't really go anywhere, that song, except now I can sing it.

0:21:340:21:38

And then I heard the first cues of punk, and I thought,

0:21:400:21:43

"Oh, it's a simpler, narrower thing that's getting people's attention."

0:21:430:21:47

# Calling Mister Oswald with the swastika tattoo

0:21:470:21:51

# There is a vacancy waiting in the English voodoo

0:21:510:21:56

# Carving "V" for vandal on the guilty boy's head... #

0:21:560:21:58

Even the very name of the company, it was daring people to say,

0:21:580:22:01

"You're not going to call it Marvellous Records,

0:22:010:22:03

"we'll call it Stiff Records."

0:22:030:22:05

And everything proceeded from that reverse way of looking at everything.

0:22:050:22:09

I think there was a great mythology about Stiff at the time.

0:22:140:22:18

It had a lot of pace and a lot of magic and very hard-hitting slogans.

0:22:180:22:22

Elvis had a very charismatic manager, Jake Riviera,

0:22:240:22:28

and that package was something that really helped his arrival, I think.

0:22:280:22:32

I remember being egged on, "Go on, do that, more extreme."

0:22:400:22:45

I got the impression that a lot of that was a very clever contrivance

0:22:450:22:49

between himself and his management and his record label, actually.

0:22:490:22:53

It was a cartoonish character that they had jointly invented,

0:22:530:22:56

beneath which he could operate - it gave him some manoeuvrability.

0:22:560:22:59

They knew that the image was inherently ridiculous

0:23:000:23:04

because I was so the opposite in appearance

0:23:040:23:06

to what a rock and roll star looked like in those days,

0:23:060:23:09

which was a guy with a shirt open to the navel

0:23:090:23:12

and a big mane of hair like Robert Plant or something,

0:23:120:23:14

so it was sort of satirical, in a sense, and it was a thin line,

0:23:140:23:18

even the name, and the adoption of a name

0:23:180:23:21

which was seen almost as a heresy to adopt Elvis,

0:23:210:23:26

Elvis was still alive, obviously.

0:23:260:23:28

It was just a dare that there could be two people with that name,

0:23:290:23:32

as previously there'd only been one.

0:23:320:23:34

APPLAUSE

0:23:340:23:36

You and I share something, in that we both...

0:23:360:23:38

er, adopted a new identity to get started,

0:23:380:23:41

-and I know it helped me sort of start again with songwriting.

-Yes.

0:23:410:23:45

I had a group of songs, and then I found the way I was thinking

0:23:450:23:48

and the way I looked and the way I was named all fitted together,

0:23:480:23:51

but it took me a while to work out

0:23:510:23:53

whether this new identity was supposed to be a suit of armour

0:23:530:23:58

or this sort of Superman suit that I got into in a telephone box.

0:23:580:24:03

But you made a wise choice. I mean, Declan McManus,

0:24:030:24:05

-people were thinking...

-They were expecting a guy

0:24:050:24:08

in a cable-knit sweater singing whaling songs.

0:24:080:24:10

One gentleman last May was relatively unknown.

0:24:130:24:16

He had hardly even played one proper date, and yet his aim was true.

0:24:160:24:20

# It's so funny to be seeing you after so long, girl

0:24:200:24:24

# And with the way you look

0:24:240:24:25

# I understand that you were not impressed

0:24:250:24:29

# But I heard you let that little friend of mine

0:24:290:24:34

# Take off your party dress

0:24:340:24:37

# I'm not going to get too sentimental

0:24:390:24:43

# Like those other sticky Valentines

0:24:430:24:47

# Cos I don't know if you've been loving somebody... #

0:24:490:24:52

Elvis' breakthrough first album, My Aim Is True,

0:24:520:24:54

was produced by Nick Lowe

0:24:540:24:56

with backing from the laid-back Californian country rockers Clover.

0:24:560:24:59

# Alison... #

0:24:590:25:02

But to match the explosive feel of punk,

0:25:040:25:06

Elvis needed a band with more edge.

0:25:060:25:08

The Attractions had a mixture of high energy and musical talent

0:25:100:25:14

that suited Elvis perfectly.

0:25:140:25:16

# See her picture in a thousand places, she's this year's girl

0:25:180:25:22

# You think you all own little pieces of this year's girl

0:25:240:25:28

# Forget your fancy manners... #

0:25:300:25:33

'It's always curious when it's a group,

0:25:330:25:35

'when it's one man's songs, but it's four men's delivery of it,

0:25:350:25:39

'but I couldn't have done what I did

0:25:390:25:41

'if it hadn't been for those individual players of Steve Nieve

0:25:410:25:44

'and Bruce Thomas and Pete Thomas, but in terms of the way

0:25:440:25:47

'the whole ship was being steered, that was largely my idea.'

0:25:470:25:51

# No surprises for this year's girl

0:25:510:25:53

# All this, but no surprises for this year's girl... #

0:25:550:25:59

He always was a pretty benign dictator. He knew the value of,

0:26:020:26:06

you know, what's the point of getting great inventive musicians

0:26:060:26:10

around you and then telling them what to do?

0:26:100:26:13

There's absolutely no point in that.

0:26:130:26:15

When it came down to it, he'd say, "Look, it's my record," you know,

0:26:150:26:19

"I don't like that, that's got to go."

0:26:190:26:22

Then also he wanted to try stuff which I just thought,

0:26:220:26:25

"This will never work, this will never, ever work.

0:26:250:26:28

"Trust me, this will never work."

0:26:280:26:29

But it blooming well did.

0:26:290:26:31

# Some of my friends sit around every evening

0:26:310:26:34

# And they worry about the times ahead

0:26:340:26:37

# But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference

0:26:370:26:40

# And the promise of an early bed

0:26:400:26:43

# You either shut up or get cut out They don't wanna hear about it

0:26:430:26:47

# It's only inches on the reel-to-reel

0:26:470:26:51

# And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools

0:26:510:26:54

# Trying to anaesthetise the way that you feel

0:26:540:26:57

# Radio is a sound salvation

0:26:570:27:00

# Radio is cleaning up the nation

0:27:000:27:03

# They say you'd better listen to the voice of reason

0:27:050:27:08

# But they don't give you any choice cos they think that it's treason

0:27:100:27:14

# So you had better do as you are told

0:27:150:27:18

# You'd better listen to the radio

0:27:180:27:21

# Wonderful radio

0:27:230:27:25

# Marvellous radio

0:27:270:27:29

# Wonderful radio

0:27:300:27:32

# Radio, radio

0:27:330:27:35

# Radio, radio... #

0:27:360:27:38

Please welcome Elvis Costello and The Attractions!

0:27:400:27:44

CHEERING

0:27:440:27:47

You! Up!

0:27:570:27:59

This song's called Pump It Up!

0:27:590:28:01

I think it's about time you showed some life!

0:28:010:28:04

This is supposed to be a good town!

0:28:040:28:06

Are you going to let us down?

0:28:060:28:08

'I wasn't on the, "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, how are you doing?" side of it.

0:28:080:28:13

'I was on the, "Let's make people uncomfortable temporarily

0:28:130:28:17

'"so it takes away the preconceived ideas

0:28:170:28:19

'"or who they think you are and what this is about'

0:28:190:28:22

"and maybe they'll hear it differently."

0:28:220:28:24

That was maybe a little bit of youthful arrogance.

0:28:240:28:27

# Not just another mouth in the lipstick vogue

0:28:270:28:32

# It's you

0:28:330:28:36

# Not just another mouth in the lipstick vogue

0:28:380:28:42

# Oh, yeah... #

0:28:430:28:45

'People thought that the first album that I wrote with The Attractions

0:28:470:28:50

'was somehow a misogynistic record.

0:28:500:28:53

'It actually wasn't. It was the opposite of that.'

0:28:530:28:55

It was like... It was a love letter to the idea of something

0:28:550:29:01

that sustained beyond superficial appearance,

0:29:010:29:06

'that you were better than the lipstick you wore,

0:29:060:29:09

'you know, that you were a better person than that.'

0:29:090:29:11

I just didn't really express it very articulately.

0:29:110:29:14

It came out as being embittered or some sort of male frustration thing.

0:29:140:29:18

I think that was mainly in the eye of the beholder.

0:29:180:29:21

# Not just another mouth in the lipstick vogue

0:29:220:29:26

# It's you

0:29:270:29:29

# Not just another mouth in the lipstick vogue

0:29:320:29:35

# Oh, yeah... #

0:29:370:29:39

'I suppose that goes right back to the beginning of my career -

0:29:420:29:45

'being on Stiff Records,

0:29:450:29:46

'there was always a little bit of that double talk in everything we did

0:29:460:29:50

'and it kind of got me in a lot of trouble in the late '70s

0:29:500:29:54

'when I got in a bar fight with Stephen Stills' band

0:29:540:29:57

'and it started with a sort of one-upmanship thing'

0:29:570:30:01

of, "You guys don't really like music,

0:30:010:30:03

"you don't even know the great music under your nose,"

0:30:030:30:05

and I ended up, because I was so drunk and on drugs,

0:30:050:30:08

saying really the most despicable things and, of course,

0:30:080:30:12

it should have not gone any further than the idiotic bar fight it was,

0:30:120:30:15

but it did, and you lose all of your compass

0:30:150:30:18

in life, as much as in work or anything,

0:30:180:30:22

and you realise the thin line between joking

0:30:220:30:25

and then using words that don't belong to you.

0:30:250:30:28

# Just want to hear you say

0:30:280:30:29

# Just want to hear you tell me... #

0:30:310:30:33

'I stood outside of it a lot.

0:30:330:30:34

'I never really felt like I was the person,

0:30:340:30:37

'you know, there was a character that I was writing a lot of the time.

0:30:370:30:41

'People just made the assumption it had to be true.'

0:30:410:30:44

# I'm not lyrical

0:30:440:30:46

# I'm not

0:30:460:30:47

# I'm not

0:30:490:30:51

# I'm not

0:30:520:30:54

# I'm not... #

0:30:540:30:55

And I suppose the tumultuous nature of it

0:30:570:31:00

and some of the tormenting nature of it

0:31:000:31:03

ended up stimulating or generating songs

0:31:030:31:06

and it became sort of like a catchphrase

0:31:060:31:09

that the songs were about revenge and guilt.

0:31:090:31:11

They were actually much more about guilt than revenge.

0:31:110:31:14

# I'm not

0:31:140:31:15

# I'm not

0:31:170:31:18

# I'm not

0:31:200:31:21

# I'm not... #

0:31:220:31:24

MUSIC OVER SPEECH

0:31:370:31:40

Thank you! And good night!

0:31:450:31:47

FEEDBACK ECHOES

0:31:490:31:51

I think at a certain point he realised that

0:31:580:32:02

our sort of shenanigans had to come to an end

0:32:020:32:06

if he was going to transcend

0:32:060:32:08

and go forward further, which obviously he did.

0:32:080:32:12

# High fidelity

0:32:120:32:16

# Can you hear me? Can you hear me?

0:32:190:32:23

# Can you hear me? #

0:32:230:32:26

We just copied little bits of records,

0:32:270:32:29

kind of the way people do it now with samplers.

0:32:290:32:31

We were just replaying bits of things we had absorbed.

0:32:310:32:35

As a teenager, all you needed to listen to at a party

0:32:350:32:39

was a Motown compilation

0:32:390:32:41

and early reggae records that caught on in the late '60s.

0:32:410:32:45

That's where the sound of my first records, it comes from that,

0:32:450:32:50

it's a mixture of the Small Faces... version of R&B,

0:32:500:32:56

because I couldn't play...I didn't have big guitars like the Stones

0:32:560:32:59

and didn't have any vocal harmony in the band,

0:32:590:33:01

so as much as I love the Beatles, I couldn't imitate them,

0:33:010:33:04

just a few chord changes I could steal from them.

0:33:040:33:06

What I'm saying is, the foundation in listening that began

0:33:060:33:11

with going and seeing my dad have to synthesise all this music,

0:33:110:33:15

it gave me a different way of looking at music

0:33:150:33:18

than somebody who just liked that group.

0:33:180:33:21

I actually saw how that thing was constructed.

0:33:210:33:24

I could actually hear into it.

0:33:240:33:26

# Can you hear me? #

0:33:260:33:30

In 1980, I actually took my band, The Attractions,

0:33:380:33:41

to a choreographer so that we could learn

0:33:410:33:44

what we thought were some Motown-style steps for a music video.

0:33:440:33:49

Now, in my mind, we were going to look exactly like the Temptations...

0:33:490:33:52

LAUGHTER

0:33:520:33:54

..ignoring the fact that we were ill-assorted shapes and sizes,

0:33:540:33:57

and I personally have the dancing skill of a cement mixer, but...

0:33:570:34:00

being too embarrassed to get out of my chair,

0:34:000:34:03

I decided to have a little glass of wine to loosen my inhibitions,

0:34:030:34:06

and after four or five glasses, I arrived at the theory

0:34:060:34:10

that Smokey used to stand pretty still and look cool

0:34:100:34:13

and the Miracles went through their paces,

0:34:130:34:17

and here is the grisly evidence.

0:34:170:34:19

LAUGHTER

0:34:220:34:25

'Have you any... have you any tips for me?'

0:34:260:34:29

# I'm the living result

0:34:290:34:31

# I'm a man

0:34:320:34:35

# Who's been hurt a little too much

0:34:360:34:38

# And I've tasted the bitterness of my own tears

0:34:400:34:45

# Sadness is all my lonely heart can feel... #

0:34:460:34:52

'After the first five years, you know, we'd been pop stars of a kind,

0:34:520:34:56

'we'd had loads of hits in England.

0:34:560:34:58

'We'd had some minor hits in places in Europe and had toured around,

0:34:580:35:02

'but I could see that it was kind of silly,

0:35:020:35:05

'that being in pop music, it was kind of silly.'

0:35:050:35:09

We were actually in pop magazines with colour pictures

0:35:090:35:12

people were supposed to put on their wall. It felt ludicrous.

0:35:120:35:16

I mean, I became disenchanted with the whole idea

0:35:160:35:19

of keeping the songs in the pop mainstream

0:35:190:35:22

and we made records that I immediately disliked.

0:35:220:35:25

I mean, I was sort of on the routine of making records

0:35:250:35:29

because it said that this day we had to make a record.

0:35:290:35:32

I always said I'd never let myself do that

0:35:320:35:34

and suddenly found myself doing exactly that.

0:35:340:35:36

We made a record because it said at this hour we must have a record.

0:35:360:35:39

# What's on his mind now is anyone's guess

0:35:390:35:44

# Losing his touch with each caress

0:35:440:35:47

# Spend every evening looking so appealing

0:35:470:35:52

# Comes without warning Leaves without feeling

0:35:520:35:56

# Shot with his own gun

0:35:580:36:00

# Now dad is keeping mum

0:36:020:36:05

# Shot with his own gun

0:36:060:36:09

# On your marks, ready, set

0:36:110:36:16

# Let's get loaded and forget... #

0:36:160:36:21

Turning his back on the pop mainstream, Elvis concentrated

0:36:220:36:26

on exploring the formative elements of his musical identity.

0:36:260:36:29

It's as if each new experiment or collaboration,

0:36:290:36:32

however surprising to his fans, were part of a journey of self-discovery.

0:36:320:36:37

There are times when you'd realise

0:36:370:36:39

that it didn't matter what you were writing about,

0:36:390:36:42

people weren't really hearing it.

0:36:420:36:44

So I remember I wasn't really feeling...

0:36:440:36:46

I couldn't really get at the feelings I had in the songs I was writing,

0:36:460:36:50

so I decided to do a bunch of songs that I liked by other people.

0:36:500:36:53

# Why don't you love me like used to do?

0:37:060:37:08

# How come you treat me like a worn-out shoe?

0:37:080:37:11

# My hair is still curly and my eyes are still blue

0:37:110:37:13

# Why don't you love me like you used to do?

0:37:130:37:16

# Ain't had no lovin'... #

0:37:160:37:17

Sometimes it meant trying to take people with you

0:37:170:37:19

into your own curiosity or your own particular love of the moment,

0:37:190:37:23

which was what happened, I suppose, when I wanted to sing country songs,

0:37:230:37:28

because there's no logical reason why I should want to do that.

0:37:280:37:31

# I'm the same old trouble that you've always been through

0:37:310:37:34

# Why don't you love me like you used to do? #

0:37:340:37:36

Once we got Billy Sherrill involved, I was most pleased to have him

0:37:380:37:42

because he was Charlie Rich's producer, as much as anything else,

0:37:420:37:46

and George Jones',

0:37:460:37:47

but I knew I couldn't sing half as well as those guys,

0:37:470:37:50

but I imagined there would be this tension

0:37:500:37:53

between my voice being the way it was

0:37:530:37:55

and the more finished way his record sounded.

0:37:550:37:58

We took the band, which immediately threw a spanner in the works,

0:37:580:38:02

because we didn't play like anybody had ever heard, you know,

0:38:020:38:06

so the tension was palpable

0:38:060:38:08

and we were up all night sort of drinking and carousing

0:38:080:38:11

and then dragged to the studio to record this country record.

0:38:110:38:15

-# Sweet

-Sweet

0:38:170:38:20

# Dreams

0:38:200:38:22

# Of you

0:38:220:38:25

-# Every night

-Every night

0:38:250:38:29

# I go through

0:38:290:38:33

# I should hate you, girl

0:38:360:38:41

# The whole night through

0:38:410:38:45

# Instead of having sweet dreams all about you

0:38:450:38:52

# Instead of having sweet dreams about you. #

0:38:530:39:01

It was brave of them to do it, and a symptom of the time when

0:39:110:39:16

they thought that you could do anything,

0:39:160:39:18

if you wanted to do it enough, you could do anything,

0:39:180:39:21

and that's what he's always thought.

0:39:210:39:23

And weirdly enough, it was a hit.

0:39:230:39:27

At least, in England it was a hit,

0:39:270:39:28

and a bunch of other countries in Europe. We had a huge hit single,

0:39:280:39:31

A Good Year For The Roses,

0:39:310:39:33

which reversed the fortunes of the previous two or three years,

0:39:330:39:36

where things had been tailing off,

0:39:360:39:37

and suddenly we were in the Top 10 again. So it just goes to show.

0:39:370:39:41

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:39:410:39:43

I wrote a song for a lark once, with just ten minutes to spare,

0:39:430:39:48

and the song sort of went on to be a little bit of a hit.

0:39:480:39:52

I always kind of thought that we made a hash of the recording,

0:39:520:39:55

but people seemed to like it plenty,

0:39:550:39:57

then one night I was on tour with Ron in Japan,

0:39:570:39:59

and you played this version of this song of mine.

0:39:590:40:02

So, you know what? I'm not even going to say what it is.

0:40:020:40:05

It's a song he rescued for me.

0:40:050:40:08

# Don't tell me you don't know

0:40:190:40:23

# What love is

0:40:230:40:25

# When you're old enough to know better

0:40:250:40:30

# When you find strange hands in your sweater

0:40:300:40:36

# When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote

0:40:360:40:42

# I'm a man with a mission in two or three editions

0:40:420:40:48

# Yeah, I'm giving you a longing look

0:40:480:40:53

# Every day, every day, every day

0:40:530:40:57

# Every day I write the book... #

0:40:570:41:00

APPLAUSE

0:41:000:41:02

# Chapter one We didn't really get along

0:41:040:41:10

# Chapter two I think I fell in love with you

0:41:100:41:15

# You said you'd stand by me in the middle of chapter three

0:41:160:41:22

# But you were up to your old tricks in chapters four, five and six

0:41:220:41:29

# And I'm giving you a longing look

0:41:290:41:34

# Every day, every day, every day Every day I write the book... #

0:41:340:41:41

You come across as actually very serious-minded about your work.

0:41:410:41:45

No, I'm not. I enjoy it

0:41:450:41:46

and I enjoy it a lot more than going to a lot of empty-headed parties

0:41:460:41:50

with a lot of boring people that I don't want to meet.

0:41:500:41:52

Are you actually a political artist?

0:41:520:41:55

Do you sit down and try to write political songs that have a message?

0:41:550:41:58

I don't see politics as something that you keep in a box

0:41:580:42:00

and take out once a day and play with like a dog.

0:42:000:42:03

You know, I think it's inside of all your life

0:42:030:42:05

and I write about things that matter to me, that I feel strongly about,

0:42:050:42:09

and if some people... other people call them political

0:42:090:42:11

-then that's fair enough.

-Which, indeed, sometimes they are.

0:42:110:42:14

Yeah, I suppose if they deal, rather than affairs of the heart,

0:42:140:42:18

with just affairs of state, if you like,

0:42:180:42:20

then I suppose you can't avoid calling them political.

0:42:200:42:22

I love the way he uses words.

0:42:220:42:25

He can use metaphors

0:42:250:42:27

and poetic images to have enormous soulful impact.

0:42:270:42:30

There's a great song, Shipbuilding,

0:42:300:42:32

which was the song he wrote about the conflict in the Falkland Islands

0:42:320:42:37

in 1982, this war that was so controversial.

0:42:370:42:41

Margaret Thatcher had gone into battle over the ownership

0:42:410:42:44

of this tiny piece of real estate

0:42:440:42:46

that no-one in their right minds really appeared to care about,

0:42:460:42:50

and Elvis' song, which when he wrote it,

0:42:500:42:52

he thought was the greatest lyric he'd written in his life.

0:42:520:42:55

I remember him coming into the office where I work to tell me,

0:42:550:42:57

to give me a copy, to tell me this,

0:42:570:42:59

and I thought he had every right to say so,

0:42:590:43:01

and in that lyric he talks about

0:43:010:43:03

diving for dear life when we should be diving for pearls,

0:43:030:43:07

which is an extraordinary... I can't think of a greater example

0:43:070:43:10

of a kind of velvet glove with an iron fist inside it, lyrically.

0:43:100:43:14

# Is it worth it?

0:43:210:43:24

# A new winter coat and shoes for the wife

0:43:260:43:31

# And a bicycle on the boy's birthday

0:43:330:43:38

# It's just a rumour that was spread around town

0:43:380:43:42

# By the women and children

0:43:440:43:46

# Soon we'll be shipbuilding... #

0:43:460:43:50

I think Elvis actually preferred Robert's version of it.

0:43:540:43:56

It was more passive.

0:43:560:43:59

I mean, Elvis, by his very nature, is a little bit more aggressive

0:43:590:44:03

but Robert's is so mournful and so forlorn

0:44:030:44:07

and so it paints such a pitiful picture.

0:44:070:44:10

# It's just a rumour that was spread around town

0:44:100:44:15

# Somebody said that someone got filled in

0:44:150:44:21

# For saying that people get killed in

0:44:210:44:26

# The result of this shipbuilding

0:44:260:44:32

# With all the will in the world

0:44:340:44:39

# Diving for dear life

0:44:390:44:43

# When we could be diving for pearls. #

0:44:430:44:49

My grandfather Patrick was put in an orphanage in Southall.

0:44:540:44:58

And when he left the orphanage, he went into Kneller Hall,

0:44:580:45:01

military school of music.

0:45:010:45:03

Became a boy soldier.

0:45:040:45:05

His father had come over from Northern Ireland

0:45:060:45:09

sometime in the 19th century.

0:45:090:45:11

He had married an older woman who had died childless

0:45:110:45:14

and then he had married a younger woman, Elizabeth Costello.

0:45:140:45:18

And I think she had seven or eight kids.

0:45:180:45:25

And my grandfather was wounded in the First World War.

0:45:250:45:28

He was a noncombatant anyway, he was an orderly, being a musician,

0:45:280:45:31

he wasn't trained as a fighting soldier.

0:45:310:45:34

He eventually left the Army at 21, I think.

0:45:340:45:39

He joined the White Star Line and he worked for ten years on liners.

0:45:390:45:44

Travelling all over the place, but predominantly to New York.

0:45:440:45:48

They were playing formal music.

0:45:500:45:54

They weren't playing jazz or anything.

0:45:540:45:56

They were playing light classics and sentimental tunes,

0:45:560:45:59

that's mostly what they played.

0:45:590:46:01

The fact I ended up doing the same job as my dad

0:46:330:46:37

disguises the fact that I come from a...

0:46:370:46:40

a...

0:46:400:46:41

Well, we come from here.

0:46:430:46:46

This is where my mother was born.

0:46:470:46:50

So, this one. 36.

0:46:530:46:55

And, um...

0:46:570:46:59

But my memory of it is, coming to this house to see my grandad,

0:46:590:47:04

Jim Ablett. By the time he became a man, the war came, the first war.

0:47:040:47:09

And in '15 he got captured. He spent four years on a farm in Germany.

0:47:090:47:15

But he didn't talk at all about what he had seen. Such traumatic things.

0:47:150:47:21

And he wasn't particularly an easy man, he was quite violent.

0:47:210:47:25

He would stand in the front room, when I was leaving...

0:47:260:47:29

Every time I left, he would do this. That is my main memory of him.

0:47:290:47:33

He had wavy auburn hair, standing there, and he would do this.

0:47:330:47:36

"Punch my hands.

0:47:360:47:38

"Harder. Punch my hands."

0:47:380:47:40

And that's what he thought I should learn how to do.

0:47:420:47:45

And I have never been a fighter.

0:47:450:47:47

Never been into boxing or anything, or hitting people.

0:47:470:47:50

But he was convinced that

0:47:500:47:52

if he didn't do that, it would be the ruin of me.

0:47:520:47:55

There were four members of the family, the Ablett family,

0:47:560:47:59

living in this street at one point,

0:47:590:48:01

this little short street, Holmes Street.

0:48:010:48:04

You know, all of the virtues that people talk about,

0:48:040:48:07

doors being open, all that stuff that people romanticise - actually true.

0:48:070:48:11

You know, this is like half a mile from Penny Lane,

0:48:110:48:15

so when the Beatles were singing about that,

0:48:150:48:18

it's just a neighbourhood place,

0:48:180:48:20

and that was sort of the magic of it, really, that they made

0:48:200:48:24

something really magical about something actually quite mundane.

0:48:240:48:27

If you drive to Penny Lane, it's nothing at all.

0:48:270:48:30

# Here we go!

0:48:300:48:32

# One! Two! One, two, three

0:48:320:48:34

# Twenty-five fingers, baby

0:48:340:48:36

# I love your nails, I love your touch, I love to touch you, baby

0:48:360:48:39

# It never fails to kill me

0:48:390:48:40

# Some say gimme five But I'll give you ten

0:48:400:48:43

# You could make it twenty But you're holding out again

0:48:430:48:45

# Think it over, think it over, baby

0:48:450:48:48

# Well, think it over Think it over, baby

0:48:480:48:51

# I will always love you... #

0:48:510:48:53

So, one day my manager said, "Do you fancy writing with Elvis Costello?"

0:48:530:48:59

"Yeah, that'd be good. I would like to write with him."

0:48:590:49:03

I know that he was into the Beatles

0:49:030:49:06

and he knew a lot of what we did.

0:49:060:49:10

He's from Liverpool, so I thought we'd probably get on well,

0:49:100:49:15

and I admired his songwriting,

0:49:150:49:17

so I thought, yeah, it'd be worth giving it a go.

0:49:170:49:20

So we were set up on a date.

0:49:200:49:23

I was sitting across from him, we were firing lines back and forward

0:49:230:49:26

and I'm singing harmony with him and I can't believe this is happening,

0:49:260:49:30

and we wrote a bunch of songs,

0:49:300:49:32

we wrote about 12 songs over a couple of years.

0:49:320:49:34

And we really, for me,

0:49:340:49:36

we were copying the system that I'd used with John,

0:49:360:49:39

and in fact, the only system I really have ever known,

0:49:390:49:44

face to face, looking each other in the eye,

0:49:440:49:48

pad of paper and pencil,

0:49:480:49:52

two guitars, and you just start strumming.

0:49:520:49:55

And we did virtually what John and I did,

0:49:550:49:59

which was just made up a song a day.

0:49:590:50:01

We wrote a really wonderful song called The Lovers That Never Were,

0:50:010:50:05

that was almost like a big, epic ballad.

0:50:050:50:09

I remember I was playing piano

0:50:100:50:12

and it was unusual because he's a much better pianist than me,

0:50:120:50:15

but for some reason I played the piano on the demo,

0:50:150:50:18

and I was just trying not to mess it up,

0:50:180:50:20

and he starts singing over my shoulder

0:50:200:50:22

this most extraordinary vocal.

0:50:220:50:24

One of the best things I've ever heard in my life was him

0:50:240:50:27

singing flat out, this really raw kind of singing,

0:50:270:50:31

like the singing on I'm Down, only it's a ballad.

0:50:310:50:34

# I have always needed somebody, girl

0:50:350:50:43

# Oh

0:50:440:50:46

# But I close the door to keep out the world

0:50:460:50:51

# But for you

0:50:510:50:54

# I would be here all alone

0:50:540:50:58

# Locked in a photograph

0:50:580:51:01

# All of the clocks have run down

0:51:010:51:06

# Lover beware

0:51:060:51:11

# We'll be the lovers that never were... #

0:51:110:51:18

You know, that was a potential worry,

0:51:180:51:22

that we were just going to sort of write Beatles songs again,

0:51:220:51:25

but time had gone by for both of us,

0:51:250:51:27

so it was always going to be different,

0:51:270:51:29

but I think at the back of our minds, you know,

0:51:290:51:33

we were writing Beatle-esque songs.

0:51:330:51:37

# Here lies the powder and perfume

0:51:370:51:41

# The pretty clothes are scattered round the room

0:51:430:51:49

# And it's so like Candy... #

0:51:490:51:55

He was good on the old lyrics, I must say.

0:51:550:51:59

I think probably in the end,

0:51:590:52:02

we contributed roughly the same to the song,

0:52:020:52:06

but he might have had a little more to do with the lyrics than I did.

0:52:060:52:11

I think he also had a clear idea of what he wanted to do,

0:52:110:52:16

whereas I was kind of all, "Let's see where this leads us."

0:52:160:52:20

# What did I do to make her go?

0:52:200:52:25

# Why must she be the one that I have to love so?

0:52:250:52:32

# So like Candy

0:52:320:52:34

# Here lies a picture of a girl

0:52:360:52:40

# Her arms are tight around that lucky guy

0:52:420:52:48

# And it's so like Candy

0:52:480:52:53

# What did I do to make her go?

0:52:540:53:00

# Why must she be the one that I have to love so?

0:53:000:53:07

# I remember the day that that picture was taken

0:53:070:53:13

# We were so happy then

0:53:130:53:16

# But that's so like Candy

0:53:160:53:19

# She seemed so sweet to me

0:53:190:53:22

# I was mistaken

0:53:220:53:24

# Oh, no, not that again

0:53:240:53:27

# But that's so like Candy

0:53:270:53:30

# She just can't face the day

0:53:300:53:35

# So she turns and melts away... #

0:53:350:53:41

It frightened people because it was such an aggressive record, lyrically.

0:53:430:53:48

And much more aggressive than the first albums. And darker.

0:53:480:53:52

And I looked wild because I grew my hair long, I had a beard.

0:53:520:53:55

I did it deliberately to make a break with the past

0:53:550:54:00

and say I'm not just still the signature guy.

0:54:000:54:03

I want to be somebody different. I changed my name, I changed it back.

0:54:030:54:07

I did a bunch of things which were just done with a...

0:54:070:54:10

just to put a comma in the sentence

0:54:100:54:12

but people wanted to read much more psychological stuff into it.

0:54:120:54:15

It was nonsense. It was nothing to do with that. I always knew who I was.

0:54:150:54:20

# He thought he was the King of America

0:54:300:54:35

# Where they pour Coca-Cola just like vintage wine... #

0:54:350:54:40

When I first went to America, everything that I saw was a song.

0:54:400:54:45

Every road sign, every shop name, every magazine article,

0:54:450:54:50

it was like all the words fell away

0:54:500:54:52

and just the essential lines of songs,

0:54:520:54:56

fragments of things people said, mixed up with some sign

0:54:560:55:00

that seemed to symbolise something that maybe only I saw in it,

0:55:000:55:04

but it was all so strange and discombobulating,

0:55:040:55:07

disorientating, in a good way.

0:55:070:55:10

# It was a fine idea at the time

0:55:100:55:16

# Now it's a brill- Now it's a brilliant mistake... #

0:55:160:55:23

Elvis eventually grew out of his formative relationship with The Attractions.

0:55:250:55:28

There was a painful break, although he's worked regularly

0:55:280:55:31

with Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas ever since.

0:55:310:55:34

He felt a need to reinvent his way of working in a studio.

0:55:350:55:39

King of America was the first of a number of collaborations

0:55:390:55:43

with musician and producer T-Bone Burnett.

0:55:430:55:46

I had the experience of playing with a group of American musicians,

0:55:460:55:49

Jim Keltner, Ron Tutt, totally different feel,

0:55:490:55:53

a lot of acoustic bass,

0:55:530:55:55

the acoustic guitar rather than the electric guitar central,

0:55:550:55:58

and a guitar soloist, rather than somebody playing a lot of noise,

0:55:580:56:02

and not a big, expansive keyboard player like Steve Nieve,

0:56:020:56:06

who could completely dominate a track very easily,

0:56:060:56:10

but people who played more discreetly

0:56:100:56:12

just in service of the movement of the song.

0:56:120:56:14

He wanted to work with some of these other people.

0:56:140:56:17

Ray Brown, you know, that was a great chance

0:56:170:56:21

to meet and work with Ray Brown,

0:56:210:56:23

who is one of the most profound musicians of the last century,

0:56:230:56:28

and certainly the most intense, one of the very most intense musicians

0:56:280:56:33

I've ever had the great privilege to work with, really,

0:56:330:56:38

he was so far out of our league.

0:56:380:56:40

# The poisoned rose

0:56:400:56:46

# That you wear at your best... #

0:56:470:56:53

Ray Brown, just before we did the take of Poisoned Rose,

0:56:530:56:59

said, "OK, just don't anybody play any ideas."

0:56:590:57:03

And there was that...

0:57:030:57:05

There was a dead silence,

0:57:060:57:08

and everybody looked at each other

0:57:080:57:10

and everybody went, "OK, he's exactly right,"

0:57:100:57:14

and that was a great challenge,

0:57:140:57:16

you know, against the idea of playing licks, or playing...

0:57:160:57:19

rather than playing the song,

0:57:190:57:21

he was really just focusing everybody on playing the song

0:57:210:57:25

and I so appreciated that and, you know, that's...you know...

0:57:250:57:31

How about that? Elvis calls up Ray Brown to play, you know.

0:57:310:57:35

That was the quality that I was starting to go after,

0:57:350:57:39

that not everything had to sound like

0:57:390:57:41

it existed within the history of rock and roll.

0:57:410:57:44

# This poisoned

0:57:440:57:50

# Rose. #

0:57:500:57:57

CLASSICAL PIANO MUSIC

0:57:590:58:02

I had a period of time where I left one record label

0:58:070:58:11

and then I didn't really have a band or anything,

0:58:110:58:14

so I wasn't going on the road, just playing shows for the hell of it.

0:58:140:58:17

I started going, sometimes five, even six nights a week, to concerts.

0:58:170:58:23

I suppose I just wanted something fresh to listen to

0:58:230:58:29

and I saw a lot of Alfred Brendel concerts.

0:58:290:58:31

I tried to see as many of his... Whenever he played,

0:58:310:58:34

I tried to get tickets for everything he did.

0:58:340:58:36

I had a very big love of Schubert, late piano sonatas.

0:58:460:58:51

I was just interested in late music, for some reason,

0:58:510:58:54

I really liked the late Beethoven quartets,

0:58:540:58:56

so whenever they were performed, I wanted to hear them.

0:58:560:58:58

And then I was really interested in,

0:58:580:59:02

you know, period instrument groups,

0:59:020:59:06

particularly John Eliot Gardiner and Roger Norrington.

0:59:060:59:09

# Summertime withers as

0:59:200:59:25

# The sun sets

0:59:250:59:28

# He wants to kiss you Will you condescend?

0:59:280:59:35

# Before you wake and find a chill within your bones

0:59:360:59:44

# Under a fine canopy

0:59:440:59:48

# Of lover's dust and humerus bones

0:59:480:59:52

# Banish all dismay

0:59:520:59:56

# Extinguish every sorrow... #

0:59:561:00:01

'It sounds like we're in a very English,'

1:00:031:00:06

folk-songy way, but...

1:00:061:00:08

And then what does he do?

1:00:261:00:27

It's so amazing.

1:00:361:00:37

And even to sing it, it's... It must be amazing for a singer.

1:00:391:00:42

So, you see, it's the same thing as his lyrics.

1:00:451:00:48

You're kind of... You think you're inside something

1:00:481:00:52

and then, all of a sudden, you're surprised,

1:00:521:00:55

'because he loves to stretch his voice.

1:00:551:00:59

'I'm sure that there's something of that.

1:00:591:01:02

'When he writes, he's thinking about that.'

1:01:021:01:04

# Spare me the lily-white lily

1:01:051:01:09

# With the awful perfume of decay

1:01:091:01:13

# Banish all dismay

1:01:131:01:17

# Extinguish every sorrow

1:01:171:01:22

# If I'm lost or I'm forgiven

1:01:221:01:26

# The birds will still be singing... #

1:01:261:01:31

'I became friends with the Brodsky Quartet'

1:01:351:01:37

'in the early '90s and tried to find a way that we could work together

1:01:371:01:42

'that wasn't sort of Eleanor Rigby, cos it had already been done so well.'

1:01:421:01:45

I didn't want to just have a pop song, even one of that complexity

1:01:451:01:49

and beauty. I wanted to try and write something where my voice was

1:01:491:01:53

the fifth part of a quintet.

1:01:531:01:55

'He could have written the album himself, but to be so generous

1:01:571:02:02

'and to welcome us in

1:02:021:02:04

'and for all five of us to play a such a huge part,'

1:02:041:02:07

you know. Now, of course, with the benefit of hindsight,

1:02:071:02:10

that was...that was yet another stroke of genius on his part.

1:02:101:02:15

# Thank you for the flowers

1:02:151:02:20

# I threw them on the fire

1:02:201:02:27

# And I burned the photographs that you had enclosed

1:02:271:02:30

# God, they were ugly children

1:02:301:02:33

# So, you're that little bastard of that brother of mine

1:02:331:02:37

# Trying to trick a poor old woman

1:02:371:02:40

# Till I

1:02:401:02:41

# Almost had a weakness.... #

1:02:411:02:48

'We were able to teach him quite a lot about

1:02:501:02:53

'putting his ideas into that structure and he appreciated that.'

1:02:531:02:58

During the course of us working together, I think he went from

1:02:581:03:01

not being able to notate at all to being able to write in full score -

1:03:011:03:05

not just for quartets, but for symphony orchestras.

1:03:051:03:08

# Said that he looked like the devil

1:03:081:03:10

# Then she said, "Pass the vinegar"

1:03:101:03:13

# I'm beginning to think

1:03:131:03:15

# That I'm the only one who hasn't taken to the drinking of it

1:03:151:03:18

# Though I

1:03:181:03:20

# Almost had a weakness... #

1:03:201:03:25

'Of course, whenever you do anything

1:03:311:03:33

'the slightest bit different, like that, you get people thinking'

1:03:331:03:37

the world is ending, but it isn't, it's just some music and, now,

1:03:371:03:41

there's four or five recordings of The Juliet Letters by other quartets

1:03:411:03:45

and there's somebody did a piano transcription for piano and voice.

1:03:451:03:48

I love the fact that it ended up being repertoire.

1:03:481:03:52

He's done an enormous amount of collaboration.

1:03:571:04:00

McCartney, Lucinda Williams, Roy Orbison, Bacharach -

1:04:001:04:03

countless people.

1:04:031:04:05

And one of the reasons for that, I think, is that he's no threat.

1:04:051:04:09

He looks like the kind of collaborator

1:04:091:04:11

that would bring out the best in you, in the same way as

1:04:111:04:13

a great director would find your internal performance

1:04:131:04:16

that no-one had ever seen. And he doesn't look like he's going to

1:04:161:04:20

overshadow you, in terms of publicity.

1:04:201:04:22

When the project comes out, he's not necessarily going to be

1:04:221:04:25

the one looking for the limelight and milking all the press.

1:04:251:04:29

Burt Bacharach's pretty famous, but his songs are even more famous

1:04:301:04:34

than he is. You can't really get through a day without hearing

1:04:341:04:38

one of his songs somewhere.

1:04:381:04:39

People say, "Burt Bacharach - I'm not sure I know his work."

1:04:391:04:42

"Yes, you do." And then you reel off five songs.

1:04:421:04:45

"He wrote all of those?" "Oh, yeah, and the other 25

1:04:451:04:48

"that you've absorbed along the way."

1:04:481:04:49

MUSIC: "Anyone Who Had A Heart" by Cilla Black

1:04:521:04:54

# Anyone who ever loved

1:04:541:04:55

# Could look at me

1:04:571:04:59

# And know that I love you... #

1:04:591:05:03

'Most people in England heard Burt Bacharach songs interpreted

1:05:031:05:07

'by English pop singers. My dad brought home some of the songs,'

1:05:071:05:10

so I perhaps heard them even a little bit more than other people of my age.

1:05:101:05:14

# Knowing I love you so

1:05:141:05:18

# Anyone who had a heart

1:05:201:05:21

# Would take me in his arms

1:05:211:05:25

# And love me too, too... #

1:05:251:05:28

'Songs like Anyone Who Had A Heart, I can remember that.'

1:05:281:05:32

I think that's 1964, so I was ten.

1:05:321:05:35

I remember that making me feel peculiar, that song.

1:05:361:05:41

# Every time you go away

1:05:411:05:44

# I always say

1:05:441:05:45

# This time it's goodbye, dear... #

1:05:461:05:50

'I mean, it's a really thrilling'

1:05:501:05:52

song. It's sort of erotic. The music itself, I now can sense

1:05:521:05:57

that it's the music that's created that erotic...

1:05:571:06:00

It certainly wasn't Cilla.

1:06:001:06:01

Spin that wheel. Spin that big wheel. Round it goes!

1:06:011:06:05

Round it goes!

1:06:051:06:06

Never one to be shy of collaborating with a great,

1:06:061:06:09

Elvis found an opportunity to work with the great American songwriter.

1:06:091:06:12

CHEERING

1:06:121:06:15

"God, give me strength."

1:06:151:06:18

Burt and I were asked to write the big dramatic bow-out

1:06:211:06:25

for the movie called Grace Of My Heart, by Allison Anders,

1:06:251:06:29

which was God Give Me Strength.

1:06:291:06:31

# Now I have nothing

1:06:321:06:35

# So God give me strength... #

1:06:351:06:41

'I actually sketched out a verse and chorus'

1:06:411:06:44

which, when I think of it now, was crazy.

1:06:441:06:48

I mean, I wrote both the words and music

1:06:481:06:51

'of the song and sent it to him.

1:06:511:06:54

'And instead of saying,'

1:06:551:06:56

"Hold on a second - you're the lyricist, I'm the melodist,"

1:06:561:07:01

he just sent me back a piece of sheet music with all of the suggestions

1:07:011:07:05

that he had. He was just so open.

1:07:051:07:07

'He'd stretched out some phrases and instead of it being over two bars,

1:07:091:07:14

'it was suddenly over four,'

1:07:141:07:15

or three, even, you know. There were just subtle little changes

1:07:151:07:18

in the harmony that made it more memorable and less predictable.

1:07:181:07:23

# She was the light that I'd bless... #

1:07:231:07:29

'I worked on that'

1:07:291:07:30

'and I was then able to write the second verse lyrics

1:07:301:07:33

'and then we realised that the song was going around twice, but needed

1:07:331:07:37

'to release from that shape. It was getting to be this big song.'

1:07:371:07:40

And he wrote this bridge, which was just extraordinary.

1:07:421:07:46

Incredibly difficult to sing.

1:07:461:07:47

# She'd grant me her indulgence and decline

1:07:471:07:53

# I might as well wipe her from my memory

1:07:531:08:00

# Fracture the spell As she becomes my enemy

1:08:021:08:09

# Maybe I was washed out

1:08:111:08:13

# Like a lip-print on his shirt

1:08:131:08:17

# See, I'm only human

1:08:171:08:21

# I want him to hurt

1:08:211:08:27

# I want him

1:08:281:08:30

# I want him to hurt... #

1:08:321:08:35

APPLAUSE

1:08:381:08:40

'You know, I had never paid any attention

1:08:411:08:43

'to these awards-type things. He was of that world.

1:08:431:08:46

'This is a guy who's won an Oscar, you know.

1:08:461:08:48

'It's like, it sort of... I could see it mattered to him,

1:08:481:08:51

'to be in the race, you know.'

1:08:511:08:53

Of course, we didn't win, but we did, you know,

1:08:531:08:55

we were up against Natalie Cole and her father singing together,

1:08:551:08:59

so that was pretty tough to beat.

1:08:591:09:01

But it was great, you know.

1:09:011:09:03

To go to the awards with Burt was something.

1:09:031:09:05

We did eventually win one together a few years later

1:09:051:09:09

after we did the album, you know.

1:09:091:09:11

'You know, the Ryman is considered the mother church of country music.

1:09:191:09:23

'Of course, it has amazing history.

1:09:231:09:25

'And it's very special to do just the regular Opry, you know,

1:09:251:09:29

'the Friday and Saturday nights.'

1:09:291:09:31

But to be able to do a special Opry with Elvis and Dave and Gill,

1:09:311:09:35

that was...

1:09:351:09:36

That's something I am very proud of.

1:09:361:09:39

# I thought I heard a black bell toll

1:09:391:09:44

# A little bird did sing

1:09:441:09:49

# Man has no choice

1:09:491:09:52

# When he wants everything

1:09:521:09:57

# We rise above the scarlet tide

1:09:591:10:05

# That trickles down through the mountain

1:10:051:10:10

# And separates the widow from the bride... #

1:10:101:10:18

'It's one of the best sounding venues around.

1:10:201:10:22

'And just like an old guitar, it just sort of gets mellowed with

1:10:221:10:25

'all the music that it has absorbed over the years.

1:10:251:10:29

'And I think his choice of Dave and Gill was really special,

1:10:291:10:33

'because they kind of embody that too, that sense of,

1:10:331:10:36

"Let's bring a little bit of the history along with us."

1:10:361:10:39

# I thought I heard a black bell toll

1:10:391:10:45

# Up in the highest dome

1:10:451:10:50

# Admit you lied

1:10:501:10:53

# And bring the boys back home

1:10:531:10:59

# We rise above the scarlet tide

1:11:011:11:07

# That trickles down through the mountain

1:11:071:11:13

# And separates the widow from the bride. #

1:11:131:11:23

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

1:11:351:11:37

Thank you, everyone. Thank you so much.

1:11:401:11:42

In 2003, Elvis married the jazz pianist and vocalist Diana Krall.

1:11:511:11:56

They now have twin sons.

1:11:561:11:57

# These few lines

1:11:591:12:02

# I'll devote

1:12:021:12:04

# To a marvellous girl

1:12:041:12:07

# Covered up in my coat

1:12:071:12:11

# Pull it

1:12:111:12:14

# Up to your chin... #

1:12:141:12:16

The whole record, North,

1:12:161:12:17

was triggered by a transition in my life and meeting Diana.

1:12:171:12:21

But it wasn't a literal recitation of everything that happened.

1:12:211:12:25

It was trying to capture the confusion of recognising

1:12:251:12:28

that you've come to the end of a way of living,

1:12:281:12:30

to the light coming into the room.

1:12:301:12:32

# Now you speak my name

1:12:321:12:34

# And set my pulse to race

1:12:341:12:38

# Sometimes words may tumble out

1:12:381:12:40

# But can't eclipse

1:12:401:12:44

# The feeling when you press your face

1:12:441:12:47

# To my lips

1:12:471:12:50

# I want to kiss you in a rush

1:12:501:12:52

# And whisper things To make you blush

1:12:521:12:56

# And you say, darling, hush

1:12:561:12:59

# Hush... #

1:12:591:13:00

# Picture a little love-nest

1:13:071:13:12

# Down where the roses cling

1:13:131:13:17

# Picture the same sweet love nest

1:13:201:13:24

# Think what a year can bring

1:13:261:13:32

# He's washing dishes... #

1:13:321:13:34

That's for sure.

1:13:341:13:35

# And baby clothes... #

1:13:351:13:37

That's for damn sure!

1:13:371:13:39

# He's so ambitious

1:13:391:13:42

# He even sews

1:13:421:13:45

# But don't forget, folks

1:13:451:13:47

# That's what you get, folks

1:13:491:13:52

# For makin'

1:13:521:13:54

# Whoopee... #

1:13:541:13:58

Allen Toussaint, one of the giants of New Orleans music,

1:14:331:14:36

lost his house and recording studio to Hurricane Katrina.

1:14:361:14:40

Elvis, a long-time fan,

1:14:401:14:42

enticed him back to the disaster-stricken city

1:14:421:14:45

well before the curfew had been lifted.

1:14:451:14:48

So, prey tell, prey tell.

1:14:481:14:50

# Prey tell What's going to happen to us?

1:14:501:14:53

# It's going to happen further... #

1:14:531:14:56

'Doing a whole album was Elvis' idea

1:14:581:15:00

'and he said he had always considered doing

1:15:001:15:03

'an Allen Toussaint songbook album.

1:15:031:15:06

'And, after Katrina, there we were in the same place at the same time.

1:15:061:15:10

'So, how about it?'

1:15:111:15:13

And I pondered over that for every bit of two seconds and said,

1:15:131:15:17

"That's a great idea and we've got to work on it."

1:15:171:15:21

And he resurrected some songs that I thought

1:15:211:15:24

would be laid to rest for ever.

1:15:241:15:26

But they were so applicable to the times.

1:15:261:15:29

And...

1:15:291:15:31

..it gave them such a new vigour...

1:15:321:15:34

..and it gave me a new sense of respect for some things

1:15:351:15:39

that I had laid to rest, thinking that there was no more life in them.

1:15:391:15:42

# We may seem happy

1:15:431:15:45

# Like everything's all right

1:15:471:15:49

# But from the outside lookin' in

1:15:491:15:52

# Everything's uptight

1:15:531:15:56

# But deep down inside

1:15:571:15:59

# We're covering up the pain

1:16:001:16:03

# It's an old thing

1:16:031:16:05

# It's a soul thing

1:16:051:16:06

# But it's a real thing

1:16:061:16:08

# Prey tell What's gonna happen, brother?

1:16:101:16:13

# Who's gonna help him get further?

1:16:141:16:17

# One another

1:16:171:16:18

# One another

1:16:201:16:21

# There's a old dude... #

1:16:231:16:25

He's not like a guy who just goes, "It's our side or your side."

1:16:251:16:29

He's a human person and I really learnt a lot from working with him

1:16:291:16:33

and the way he tempered his...

1:16:331:16:36

The anger he must have felt.

1:16:361:16:38

'He seemed to rise above his stoicism

1:16:381:16:40

'in the face of losing everything.'

1:16:401:16:43

He really put across, in a good-humoured way, the inequality.

1:16:431:16:48

There was never any pity in the songs.

1:16:481:16:51

# Mama, get up early

1:16:511:16:52

# Early in the morning

1:16:521:16:54

# Papa's already gone

1:16:541:16:56

# Gone and gone and gone

1:16:561:16:58

# Goin' out to work For half of what he's worth now

1:16:581:17:01

# You know that's so wrong

1:17:011:17:04

# What happened to the liberty bell

1:17:041:17:06

# I heard so much about?

1:17:081:17:10

# Did it really ding-dong?

1:17:101:17:12

# Ding-dong

1:17:121:17:14

# It must have dinged wrong

1:17:141:17:15

# It didn't ding long... #

1:17:151:17:18

'I got to know that he cares

1:17:181:17:20

'so dearly about the music beyond the glazed tops.'

1:17:201:17:25

But he cares all the in-betweens...

1:17:251:17:27

I always referred to him that he not only paid attention

1:17:291:17:33

to the A-sides but the B-sides,

1:17:331:17:35

the D-sides,

1:17:351:17:36

the F-sides, the Z-sides.

1:17:361:17:39

He's truly gifted.

1:17:391:17:41

And his gifts were given to the right person

1:17:411:17:43

because he shared them so freely.

1:17:431:17:45

UKULELE CHORDS STRUM

1:18:111:18:14

'I used to hum things to myself until I could memorise them.

1:18:201:18:24

'Then Walkmen, you know, cassette Walkmen

1:18:241:18:27

'with mics in them came in.

1:18:271:18:29

'And they were a boon to songwriters.

1:18:291:18:31

'Anything where you could easily hit two buttons and play the guitar,

1:18:311:18:35

'catch a sketch of a song, meant that it didn't get away.'

1:18:351:18:39

Now we've come to the situation where these devices

1:18:391:18:42

we carry in our pocket, they all have memo functions on them,

1:18:421:18:44

so I don't need a Dictaphone any more.

1:18:441:18:46

This has got at least two or three ways to capture sound.

1:18:461:18:50

It really just mimics what you see here.

1:18:501:18:53

It mimics some of the functions of a recording studio,

1:18:531:18:56

but it is just in your hand-held device or this little tablet device,

1:18:561:18:59

so I locked myself in the bathroom with this,

1:18:591:19:02

this little gadget, which has a version of this programme on it,

1:19:021:19:07

that you wouldn't believe. And I'm singing into it like this.

1:19:071:19:10

It's like I used to do when I got my Dictaphones,

1:19:101:19:13

except now I can actually play on the face of this thing.

1:19:131:19:19

You just press button chords

1:19:191:19:20

and I will show you in a second something really funny.

1:19:201:19:23

And I'm singing and there is this little bit of a song that

1:19:231:19:26

I had just written on the way to the airport.

1:19:261:19:29

# The moon is high

1:19:291:19:32

# And it's not the only one

1:19:321:19:35

# I'm a lone wolf and I'm prowling...#

1:19:351:19:41

These new gadgets,

1:19:421:19:44

I still don't really care for computerised sound or digital sound.

1:19:441:19:48

I'm pretty much an advocate of analogue recording and I prefer

1:19:481:19:54

to listen to music from vinyl or shellac than I do from CD or MP3.

1:19:541:19:59

The flip side of that is you've got the ability to catch things

1:19:591:20:03

in the moment effortlessly.

1:20:031:20:06

# And the moon is high... #

1:20:061:20:12

That's the wolf howling at the moon!

1:20:171:20:20

So, you know, it's an instant Egyptian string section.

1:20:281:20:32

I think there's another one that I did of a Jesse Winchester record.

1:20:341:20:37

GUITAR INTRO

1:20:411:20:42

# Be of good cheer... #

1:20:521:20:56

Jesse was really sick and had oesophageal cancer

1:20:561:20:59

and the record was a sort of "get well card" from a lot of people.

1:20:591:21:03

He has recovered now.

1:21:031:21:05

He has written some of the best songs of the last 40 years.

1:21:051:21:08

A lot of people don't even know his name. It's just crazy.

1:21:081:21:12

It's a song about dread, about mortality,

1:21:131:21:16

and being lonely in the face of that.

1:21:161:21:18

He obviously, in the song, has faith which is sustaining.

1:21:181:21:22

# Call it my fear

1:21:231:21:26

# That I will die alone

1:21:291:21:33

# And even He won't be there... #

1:21:331:21:37

I was in New York, I got the request and my wife had bought me a ukulele

1:21:401:21:44

for my birthday, that's what you hear.

1:21:441:21:46

I just started playing it and I thought,

1:21:461:21:48

"Well, that really is a different way to think of that song."

1:21:481:21:50

Cos I had this gadget, I just had to then go

1:21:501:21:53

and sketch the other parts, and by the time I went back to Vancouver,

1:21:531:21:56

I had the whole arrangement.

1:21:561:21:57

Then I went to the studio and transferred it over...

1:21:571:22:00

into tape.

1:22:001:22:02

The day that I went into... that I was going in to record it,

1:22:041:22:07

I heard that my father was dying.

1:22:071:22:09

And I couldn't think of anything better to do

1:22:091:22:12

than go and finish the record.

1:22:121:22:13

Cos I knew if I stayed home, I would...

1:22:131:22:16

I was thousands of miles away and...

1:22:161:22:18

..I thought this is the best thing to do, this is what I'm built to do.

1:22:201:22:23

I went in and I recorded it.

1:22:231:22:25

So, the fact that I could capture the initial performance...

1:22:261:22:29

So, sort of like, just when I felt the mood of the song...

1:22:311:22:36

And then ended up using the...

1:22:361:22:38

maximum amount of technology to do the simplest of things -

1:22:381:22:41

it was just to play these few decorative parts on the record

1:22:411:22:45

on a day that meant so much

1:22:451:22:47

that opened up a door to another way of living.

1:22:471:22:50

That I would be the senior member of my family

1:22:511:22:54

and I'd have to watch my dad be...

1:22:541:22:56

You know, his humour and...

1:22:581:23:01

dignity be erased by illness.

1:23:011:23:03

Makes... Means...

1:23:041:23:05

Makes it very...

1:23:081:23:09

Makes it worthwhile.

1:23:111:23:12

# When I feel this way

1:23:151:23:18

# I thirst and I want to shout

1:23:211:23:25

# Trust me, Lord

1:23:281:23:31

# To be

1:23:321:23:34

# Quiet about it... #

1:23:341:23:37

# Romeo was restless He was ready to kill

1:23:581:24:01

# He jumped out the window Cos he couldn't sit still

1:24:011:24:04

# Juliet was waiting with a safety net

1:24:041:24:08

# He said don't bury me Cos I'm not dead yet... #

1:24:081:24:13

'The experience of being in pop music for five minutes

1:24:131:24:15

'now seems kind of ludicrous.'

1:24:151:24:18

But some songs really came out of that, that I'm...

1:24:181:24:23

I'm still singing and I'm not singing them for nostalgic reasons.

1:24:231:24:26

I still feel something for them

1:24:261:24:28

and people seem to want to hear them, so that's a great thing.

1:24:281:24:31

'And it carries you through to the next foundation

1:24:311:24:33

'on which you can do other things.

1:24:331:24:34

'It's not like I'll get those out of the way

1:24:341:24:36

'and then I'll play the ones I really care about.'

1:24:361:24:38

I care about all of them, otherwise I wouldn't be singing them.

1:24:381:24:41

# Well, I remember when the lights went out

1:24:411:24:43

# And I was trying to make it look like it was never in doubt

1:24:431:24:46

# She thought that I knew

1:24:461:24:48

# And I thought that she knew

1:24:481:24:50

# So both of us were willing But we didn't know how to do it

1:24:511:24:55

# Why don't you tell me about the mystery dance?

1:24:551:24:59

# I want to know about the mystery dance

1:24:591:25:02

# Why don't you show me Cos I've tried and I've tried

1:25:021:25:05

# And I'm still mystified

1:25:051:25:08

# I can't do it any more

1:25:081:25:09

# And I'm not satisfied

1:25:091:25:11

# I can't do it any more

1:25:111:25:12

# And I'm not satisfied

1:25:121:25:14

# Do it any more And I'm not satisfied. #

1:25:141:25:17

The Sugarcanes!

1:25:291:25:30

TRIP HOP MUSIC

1:25:431:25:46

I'm not about wasting any more time doing anything foolish.

1:26:001:26:04

I'm not going to go and do some press junket because a record comes out.

1:26:041:26:08

Cos I've said everything I'm going to say.

1:26:081:26:10

I've explained the story of my life

1:26:101:26:11

about 800 times to some journalist who read about it on the internet.

1:26:111:26:14

It's just not that interesting to have that conversation.

1:26:141:26:17

It's not that interesting to read.

1:26:171:26:18

People will make up their own version of the truth anyway -

1:26:181:26:21

what does it matter what I say? And they're not going to believe me,

1:26:211:26:24

if I told them the truth they wouldn't believe me.

1:26:241:26:26

It's all really been much more wonderful

1:26:261:26:29

and much more than I ever deserved.

1:26:291:26:32

They don't believe that either.

1:26:321:26:34

They think I'm being grandiose about it or whatever.

1:26:341:26:37

I just can't believe half the stuff that's happened to me

1:26:371:26:39

when I think of it.

1:26:391:26:41

I was on the stage once with Count Basie.

1:26:411:26:43

I didn't sing very well

1:26:431:26:44

but I actually did sing with him on one occasion on a TV show.

1:26:441:26:46

Just the fact that I actually stood next to him is extraordinary to me.

1:26:461:26:50

So, I mean...

1:26:501:26:52

I've been fortunate to have T-Bone as a good friend,

1:26:521:26:55

because in his company I've met

1:26:551:26:56

Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Dixon, Kris Kristofferson, all these

1:26:561:27:02

terrific people who have given much more to the world than I'll ever do.

1:27:021:27:05

I just want to raise my sons with a bit more presence

1:27:071:27:11

and go and play shows when it's time to make some money

1:27:111:27:14

and have a good time.

1:27:141:27:15

And that's it.

1:27:171:27:19

That's the end of it.

1:27:211:27:23

# I stood at the kerb

1:27:281:27:31

# Trying not to disturb

1:27:311:27:33

# The dark carnival crew

1:27:331:27:37

# And a glittering voice

1:27:391:27:42

# Far off there said, "Rejoice

1:27:421:27:44

# "As the casualties

1:27:441:27:47

# "Are but few"

1:27:471:27:48

# Going to tell you now

1:27:501:27:53

# Before I forget myself

1:27:531:27:56

# I could let you loose

1:27:561:27:59

# But the key won't undo the lock

1:27:591:28:02

# And the face of the clock

1:28:021:28:04

# Seemed to merrily mock

1:28:041:28:06

# These five minutes with you... #

1:28:061:28:13

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Elvis Costello is one of the uncontested geniuses of the rock world. 33 albums and dozens of hit songs have established him as one of the most versatile and intelligent songwriters and performers of his generation. This film provides a definitive account of one of Britain's greatest living songwriters - the first portrait of its kind - directed by Mark Kidel, who was won numerous awards for his music documentaries, including portraits of Rod Stewart, Boy George, Tricky, Alfred Brendel, Ravi Shankar, John Adams and Robert Wyatt. Elvis is a master of melody, but what distinguishes him above all is an almost uncanny way with words, from the playful use of the well-worn cliche to daring poetic associations, whether he is writing about the sorrow of love or the burning fire of desire, the power play of the bedroom or the world of politics. The film tells the story of Elvis Costello - a childhood under the influence of his father Ross McManus, the singer with Joe Loss's popular dance band; a Catholic education which has clearly marked him deeply; his overnight success with The Attractions and subsequent disenchantment with the formatted pressures of the music business; a disillusionment which led him to reinvent himself a number of times; and writing and recording songs in various styles, including country, jazz, soul and classical.

The film focuses in particular on his collaborations with Paul McCartney and Allen Toussaint, who both contribute. It also features exclusive access to unreleased demos of songs written by McCartney and Costello. Elvis was interviewed in Liverpool, London and New York, revisiting the places in which he grew up. The main interview, shot over two days at the famed Avatar Studios in NYC, is characterised by unusual intimacy. Elvis talks for the first time at great length about his career, songwriting and music, and often breaks into song with relevant examples from his repertoire.


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