The lure of the screen has long been impossible for Elvis Costello to resist, beginning with his appearance in 1979’s Americathon and continuing right through the present day. The artist born Declan Patrick MacManus has appeared onscreen in motion pictures from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me to Spice World, and written songs for even more films. Although the prolific artist hasn’t released a new studio album since 2010’s National Ransom, Universal is seeing to it that there’s some Costello under the tree at Christmastime. On November 19, the label will release In Motion Pictures, a 15-track collection of songs that have appeared in films over the years, including some penned specifically for the silver screen.
Curated by the part-time Coward Brother himself, In Motion Pictures offers tracks both familiar and rare. Most of the tracks have been anthologized elsewhere, though a couple of tracks might entice Costello collectors. One such song is 2011’s “Sparkling Day,” written and performed by Costello for the Anne Hathaway-starring tearjerker One Day. The soundtrack did not receive a CD release in the United States, so this compilation marks its commercial U.S. debut in a physical format. Another comparatively rare track is “You Stole My Bell,” previously included only on the soundtrack to Nicolas Cage’s 2000 holiday film The Family Man.
From Costello’s film debut in Americathon comes “Crawling to the U.S.A.,” originally featured on the movie’s soundtrack (alongside “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea”) and later included on various compilations and appended to the Rykodisc, Rhino and Universal reissues of This Year’s Model. Other early songs heard here include “Accidents Will Happen” from 1979’s Armed Forces, memorably referenced in Steven Spielberg’s 1982 fantasy E.T., “Miracle Man” from Costello’s album debut My Aim is True and “Lover’s Walk” from 1981’s Trust album. The latter songs were featured in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather: Part III and Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things, respectively. Elvis scored a U.K. Top 20 hit, his first in sixteen years, with 1999’s “She,” a Charles Aznavour chanson recorded for the comedy Notting Hill. The ballad, of course, appears on In Motion Pictures. Another renowned composer is represented with Costello’s recording of “Days,” the Ray Davies song, from director Wim Wenders’ 1991 Until the End of the World.
In 1996, Elvis Costello accepted an invitation from director Allison Anders to team up with one of his longtime heroes for her Brill Building-inspired film Grace of My Heart. Costello and Burt Bacharach supplied Anders with one of the best movie songs ever to have been denied an Academy Award nomination: their powerfully dramatic “God Give Me Strength.” The collaboration between Costello and Bacharach led to an acclaimed joint album, 1998’s Painted from Memory, as well as concert appearances and further pairings. Costello contributed vocals to Bacharach’s 2005 Columbia album At This Time and has been a loyal friend to Bacharach, appearing at numerous tributes over the years. The duo also appeared onscreen together serenading Mike Myers’ Austin Powers with “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” from 1999’s Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Alas, their groovy rendition of the song from Bacharach and Hal David’s Promises, Promises (a highlight of the movie and also a staple of Costello’s 1999 live performances) hasn’t been included on the new compilation.
After the jump: what else is missing from In Motion Pictures? Plus: the full track listing with discography, and a pre-order link!
Another notable omission from In Motion Pictures is “The Scarlet Tide,” written by Costello and T-Bone Burnett for 2003’s drama Cold Mountain. Performed for the film by Allison Krauss, the song earned Costello an Academy Award nomination. He recorded it on his 2004 studio album The Delivery Man. Many other tracks could have made an appearance, such as Costello’s version of Cole Porter’s “Let’s Misbehave” (from 2004’s Porter biopic De-Lovely) and two true rarities: a performance of Cat Stevens’ “Sitting” heard in The Invention of Lying (2009) and “Bright Blue Times,” from Soft Sand, Blue Sea (1998). Neither song has been released on record.
While In Motion Pictures isn’t a definitive survey of Costello’s movie music, it offers a cross-section of the man’s diverse musical styles from his early days as a punk/New Wave pioneer to his current status as an elder statesman of popular song. The compilation includes “an illuminating essay by a mysterious Tinseltown insider” (which alias shall Elvis take on now?) and a striking cover from the Trust album shoot by photographer Keith Morris. In Motion Pictures arrives from Universal on November 22. It can be ordered below!
Elvis Costello, In Motion Pictures (UMe, 2012)
- Accidents Will Happen (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, 1982)
- Lover’s Walk (The Shape of Things, 2003)
- Miracle Man (The Godfather: Part III, 1990)
- Life Shrinks (written for The War of the Buttons, 1994)
- Crawling to the U.S.A. (Americathon, 1979)
- Seven Day Weekend (with Jimmy Cliff) (Club Paradise, 1996)
- Days (Until the End of the World, 1991)
- I Want You (I Want You, 1998)
- You Stole My Bell (The Family Man, 2000)
- My Mood Swings (The Big Lebowski, 1998)
- Oh Well (Prison Song, 2001)
- God Give Me Strength (Grace of My Heart, 1996)
- Sparkling Day (One Day, 2011)
- She (Notting Hill, 1999)
- A Town Called Big Nothing (Straight to Hell, 1987)
Track 1 from Armed Forces, Radar RAD 14 (U.K.)/Columbia 45709, 1979
Track 2 from Trust, F-Beat XXLP 11 (U.K.)/Columbia 37051, 1981
Track 3 from My Aim is True, Stiff SEEZ 3 (U.K.)/Columbia 35037 (U.S.), 1977
Track 4 first issued as B-side of “It’s Time,” also released on Brutal Youth (Deluxe Edition), Rhino R2 78390(U.S.)/Edsel (U.K.), 2002
Track 5 from Americathon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Lorimar JS-36174, 1979
Track 6 from Club Paradise: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, CBS SC-40404, 1986
Track 7 from Until the End of the World: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack, Warner Bros. 26707-1, 1991
Track 8 from Blood and Chocolate, Demon XFIEND 80 (U.K.)/Columbia CK 40518 (U.S.), 1986
Track 9 from The Family Man: Music from the Motion Picture, Sire 31151, 2000
Track 10 from The Big Lebowski: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Mercury 314-536-903-2, 1998
Track 11 from When I Was Cruel (UK/Japan editions) and Cruel Smile, Island 063388, 2002
Track 12 from Grace of My Heart: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, MCA 11510, 1996
Track 13 from One Day: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, U.S. digital-only release, 2011
Track 14 from Notting Hill: Music from the Motion Picture, Island 314 546 196-2, 1999
Track 15 from Straight to Hell: Original Soundtrack, Stiff HELL/DIABLO 1, 1987
Jonathan Land says
What, no "Party, Party"?
We want "Party Party" !!!
Randall Paske says
Yeah, he must really hate "Party Party." This collection would be the perfect place to finally let it out on CD.
Jonathan Land says
I'm surprised he let it sneak out on the Singles Collection (I forget which volume)!
Why does he hate it? It's a good song.
I have it on CD, on the soundtrack to the film or some other compilation so it's out there....
Anyway, it's funny that two of us here had the same thought on reading this post, one minute apart!
Jonathan Land says
No idea. Maybe it's too goofy for him? I guess us fans want to keep it alive!
Mike Duquette says
I think it's well-known among our readers how much I love E.T. - but even I have to say including a song you only hear a character sing (and only so well, at that) is a bit of a stretch. 😉
It's been years since I've seen ET, but I have NO memory of this. Which character graces us with their interpretation? 🙂
Michael, Elliot's brother, at one point comes home from school or something, grabs something out of the fridge, and "sings" a portion of the song: "There's so many people to see/So many people you can check upon and add to your collection..." and that's it.
As Mike said, it's a stretch to include that one on the new album... Probably added because it's almost certainly the best known song on the collection.
Magnus Hägermyr says
If I'm not remember it wrong there is a Costello-poster on the wall in that scene.
Ah...what could have been...
Costello wrote a second song for "Grace of My Heart" called "Unwanted Number." That whole soundtrack album is amazing and worthy of a deluxe reissue. There were several great songs in the movie that didn't make the original CD plus the Joni Mitchell version of "Man from Mars" which accidentally ended up on a few hundred copies of the first pressing.
Boy, this is the sound of the barrel being turned over because it's empty and they need to scrape the ground underneath it...
Where's the deluxe edition of Armed Forces? I really want a good live show from that tour.
Not sure why he hates Party Party so much but I have personally seen him recoil in horror when it was mentioned as being added to one of the early reissues... I vaguely recall hearing that he did it for the $$ and regretted it immediately. Altho it's one of the lesser songs of the period I can't think of a song of his from the last ten years that I'd rather hear instead...
I can think of plenty of great Costello songs from the last ten years. The Delivery Man and The River In Reverse are a couple of fine, fine albums. His stuff's been incredibly hit and miss over the last decade, but those two albums are totally worth it.
Regarding a live show from the Armed Forces era, the Costello Show 2 release is a show that predates the album, but does include three songs that would appear on that album.
I'm very disappointed there haven't been more Costello Show releases. A release from the Armed Forces tour would be great, but I'd also like shows from a lot of different eras... The show I saw on the Spike tour (Alpine Valley '89) is still one of the best shows I've ever seen.
Magnus Hägermyr says
Shaun - I read somewhere that the plan was to release a bunch of livealbums from concerts through the years in chronological order. I don't know if that plan has come to a halt since the latest one "Live At Hollywood High 1978" now is over two years old.
The next was supposed to be a show from 1980 where Martin Belmonts guitar replaced Steve Naives keyboard since Naive was injuried in a caraccident. I got part of it on bootleg and the sound is more crude whith two guitars and no organ.
And after that the plan was a concert from the "Punch The Clock-Tour" recorded in Austin 1983. I guess we have to wait and see.
BTW I was living in London spring 89 and saw the Spike show both at Palladium and Royal Albert Hall. Fab! And to have Nick Lowe as bonus is never wrong.
Magnus, that's some good info... Thanks for that. I hope the Costello Show series hasn't been scrapped. I still need to buy a copy of "Live at Hollywood High," so I should do that while it's still available. Those shows from 1980 and 1983 sound great too.
1986 was a great year for EC, with both King of America and Blood and Chocolate being released... I mentioned already how much I enjoyed seeing him in 1989. A few years back he did some shows with David Hidalgo from Los Lobos joining EC and the band, and the tour with Allen Touissant (which I was also fortunate to catch) was excellent. Any of those tours have got to have some great shows worth releasing.
Or how about his Austin City Limits performance after The Delivery Man came out? That was a great show too.
Magnus Hägermyr says
I must disagree with you, Jroug. I think Costello this side the millenium has delivered stronger stuff than in the 90:s. Albums like "For The Stars", "When I Was Crule", Momofuko", "Secret, Profane & Sugercane" and "National Ransom" are all very solid and there is many great songs on other albums too. There's not many artists keeping such a high standard still after 35 years.
For my part I can understand if EC isn't too proud over "Party Party". Quite a stiff (no reference to the record company) song.
To each his own, I find it difficult to wade through the albums to find high points - but I listen to each one and feel underwhelmed, glad your mileage varies.
The Austin PTC show is a fine representation of that tour but it's been very widely circulated for years and years, so not so exciting to me. I'd be much happier with the similarly available Almost Blue RAH show. But my dream is still to get an Armed Forces gig (that Belmont guitar show sounds great too, though).
Magnus Hägermyr says
But I do agree that this edition feels far-fetched and unlogical. "Armed Forces"-deluxe with to match liverecordings would be a much more precious Christmas present, absolutley.
Jonathan Land says
Honestly, as a huge Costello fan, this re-re-reissue campaign is making me long for the days of the Rhino re-reissue campaign. It definitely seems like UMe has stalled big time.
I always liked "Seven Day Weekend." There's enough rare stuff here that I may consider this release, or maybe add it to my Amazon wish list and let someone else get it for me!
Magnus Hägermyr says
Lucky you who saw the Hidalgo and Touissant shows. In the absent of live-CD:s there's two smoking DVD:s that makes good substitutes: "Club Date: Live In Memphis" with several "Delivery Man"-tracks and "Hot As A Pistol Keen As A Blade" with Touissant and his brassband ( what a funky rendition of "I Don't Want To Go To Chealse"!).
I saw the "Club Date" show on the Palladia channel... Excellent! Haven't seen the DVD with Touissant yet, but I bet that's great. I should really just pick both of those up.
Of course, I'd like to be able to listen in the car/at work/on my iPod, and DVDs aren't as helpful in those cases. Anyone know of a good, preferably free, program to rip audio from a DVD?
If we could stretch, it is also missing his songs for TV, such as the theme for Weeds and his rendition of Beautiful (Christina Aguilera).
Mark Phillips says
I agree with those lamenting the lack of Party Party, which seems consigned to obscurity.. I know EC hates it, but many people love it. It's catchy, with a good groove, and a fantastic typically EC biting lyric. Advocaat and Tizer anyone? It's like he's ashamed of the song. If I'm ever on Desert Island Discs I think I'll choose it just to piss him off 🙂
Mike Cox says
Also did "Let's Misbehave" on the It's Delovely soundtrack. I guess since he didn't write the song it will not be on the cd?
Well, he didn't write "Days" either (that's an old Kinks song) so I don't know why they didn't include it.
Maybe we just need to wait for the deluxe edition to come out in 10 years, and all these currently "Unwanted Numbers" will turn up on the bonus disc.