As you probably know by now, The Analog Kid lives for b-sides and non-album cuts. In this continuing series, I will share some of my favorite EPs and 12″ singles from over the years in their entirety. And since it’s digital, you don’t have to worry about correctly setting the turntable speed to 33⅓ or 45!
1983’s “Everyday I Write The Book” was Elvis Costello’s first Top 40 hit in the United States. It’s a brilliantly-written pop song, but even Elvis will admit that he needed a little help in order to finally break onto the American pop charts. That help came from producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, who had previously produced big U.K. hits for Madness and Dexys Midnight Runners. Langer and Winstanley added a true pop sensibility to the Attractions’ signature sound, and together they helped mold “Everyday I Write The Book” into one of Costello’s best studio performances.
Take a listen to an early alternate version of “Everyday I Write The Book” that I have included below in the bonus tracks. It’s catchy and clever, but it would never have been a hit in that format. It is certainly possible to overproduce a song, but Langer and Winstanley got it just right with “Everyday I Write The Book.” The duo would go on to produce Costello’s 1984 album Goodbye Cruel World, of which Elvis had this to say in his liner notes for Rykodisc’s 1995 reissue:
Congratulations. You’ve just purchased our worst album.
You win some and you lose some, right?
The U.S. 12″ single for “Everyday I Write The Book” contains 2 unique mixes of the song: a “Special Club Version” from the legendary Jellybean Benitez, and a very cool instrumental version that really shows off the intricate production. Side 2 of the 12″ single contains “Heathen Town” and “Night Time,” two non-album cuts. “Heathen Town” would eventually appear on the 1987 b-sides compilation Out Of Our Idiot, but fans had to wait until Rykodisc’s 1994 reissue of Imperial Bedroom to get their hands on a digital version of “Night Time.”
Strange (and quite sad), but true: “Everyday I Write The Book” reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, and is one of only two Elvis Costello songs to reach the Top 40 in the United States. The other? The similarly brilliant “Veronica,” which peaked at #19 in 1989.
Elvis Costello & The Attractions: Everyday I Write The Book [U.S. 12″]
Columbia Records, 1983
320 kbps vinyl rip courtesy of the Analog Kid
1. “Everyday I Write The Book” [Special Club Version] (Costello)
2. “Everyday I Write The Book” [Instrumental] (Costello)
3. “Heathen Town” (Costello)
4. “Night Time” (Chambers)
The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.
Madness: “One Step Beyond” (Campbell)
From the album One Step Beyond…
Stiff Records, 1979
Dexys Midnight Runners: “Come On Eileen” (Adams/Paterson/Rowland)
From the U.K. 12″ single Come On Eileen
Mercury Records, 1982
Elvis Costello & The Attractions: “Everyday I Write The Book” (Costello)
From the album Punch The Clock
Columbia Records, 1983
Elvis Costello & The Attractions: “Everyday I Write The Book” [Alternate Version] (Costello)
From the album Punch The Clock [Special Edition]
Rhino Records, 2003
Elvis Costello & The Attractions: “Home Truth” (Costello)
From the album Goodbye Cruel World
Columbia Records, 1984
Elvis Costello: “Veronica” (MacManus/McCartney)
From the album Spike
Warner Brothers Records, 1989