Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Oliver's Army - Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello wrote 'Oliver's Army' at a time when unemployment in the UK reached the three million mark. Former workers were made dependent on state support and charity to survive. It reminded Elvis of the main character in Charles Dickens' story 'Oliver Twist'. The cheery summertime sound of the song contrasts with a bitter, melancholy lyric on comtemporary life - the chorus line saying 'And I would rather be anywhere else than here today.' During the recording of the album 'Armed forces', 'Oliver's Army' was nearly dropped, but was eventually kept after keyboardist Steve Nieve created a piano part for the song that was reminiscent of 'Dancing Queen' by Abba.

It became Elvis Costello's biggest hit ever, reaching number 2 in the UK singles chart in the summer of 1979.

My collection: 7" single no. 2296
Found: Music Machine Mailorder, Hoorn, May 18, 1995
Cost: 4 guilders
Tracks: 'Oliver's Army' / 'My funny Valentine'

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