Lies & Inventions

Autumn 1979

Scandinavian and European concert appearances

Recording of "Get Happy" album produced by Nick Lowe at Wisselord Studios in Hilversum, Holland and Eden Studios, London.

Concert For Kampuchea at the Hammersmith Odeon on a bill with Rockpile featuring Robert Plant and Wings, in their last appearance.

St. Stephen's Day 1979

Records harmony vocal on "We ought to be ashamed" with Johnny Cash at Am-Pro Studios, Shepherd's Bush, London, the home studio facility of his, then, son-in-law, Nick Lowe.


The 20-track "Get Happy" album is released on F-Beat and Columbia Records, it reaches #2 in the U.K. Chart.

The single, "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" - an uptempo re-make of a Sam and Dave ballad B-side - reaches #4 in the U.K. Charts.

Elvis Costello and the Attractions play Sweetwaters Festival, Auckland, New Zealand and spend show fee on tourist, world trip via Singapore and Australia, returning via Peru and Brazil.

February-March 1980

U.K. "Get Happy" tour visits Tiffany's, Merthyr Tydfil and Frenchman's Motel, Fishguard in Wales but avoids major cities for adjacent towns - Southport rather than Liverpool, Sunderland rather than Newcastle, Hastings rather than anywhere.

April 1980

When Steve Nieve is injured in a car accident prior to the European dates, "The Elvis Costello Experience" makes a highly unsuccessful trio appearance in Guernsey in the Channel Islands before being joined for the rest of the tour by Rumour guitarist, Martin Belmont, in a twin-guitar line-up.

"High Fidelity" reaches #30 in the U.K. Charts, while the follow-up, "New Amsterdam", only makes #32, ending an unbroken run of eight, Top 30 singles.

August 23rd. 1980

Elvis Costello and the Attractions replace The Clash as the headliners of the Heatwave Festival at Mosport Park, near Toronto. Rockpile, The Pretenders, the B-52s and Talking Heads are also on the bill.

It is the band's first and only North American appearance of 1980.

Autumn/Winter 1980

Sessions for, "Trust", produced by Nick Lowe at D.J.M and Eden Studios

Production of the Squeeze album "East Side Story" with Roger Becherian - engineer of all the Nick Lowe produced sessions between "This Year's Model" and "Trust" - at Eden Studios.

Elvis Costello joins Glenn Tilbrook in the vocal group which appears in the second verse of "Tempted", which otherwise is sung by Paul Carrack.

November 1980

Columbia Records release of "Taking Liberties" - the second twenty-track album of the year - a compilation of U.K. singles, album tracks deleted from U.S. releases and B-sides designed to kill the exploitative trade in import singles and albums.

A companion U.K. release - with a slightly different running order - is released in a cassette-only format under the title "Ten Bloody Marys And Ten How's Your Fathers"


"Trust" album released

Singles "Clubland" and "From A Whisper To A Scream", a vocal duet with Glenn Tilbrook, fail to make significant chart impact.

Elvis Costello and the Attractions return to the U.S. on the "English Mugs Tour" with Squeeze as the opening act.

January 20th 1981

A Nashville date at Vanderbilt University provides an opportunity for a trial session with Billy Sherrill at legendary Columbia Studio B - venue for "Stand By Your Man", "Behind Closed Doors" and "Blonde on Blonde".

Pedal-steel player, Pete Drake, augments the Attractions for the session which yields two cuts, Hank Cochran's, "He's Got You" - a hit for Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn as "She's Got You" - and the Bobby "Blue" Bland, R&B ballad, "I'll Take Care Of You".

March 3rd 1981

Performances of "New Lace Sleeves", "Watch Your Step" and interview with Tom Snyder on the NBC show, "The Tomorrow Show", the first U.S. television appearance since 1977.

April 28th. 1981

Recording of HBO George Jones Special in Los Angeles.

Despite a visible case of the mumps - and quarantine from the other guest artists, Waylon Jennings, Tammy Wynette, Emmylou Harris and Tanya Tucker - Costello duets with George Jones on "Stranger In The House" and sings two other songs with specially convened band; John Hiatt, Nick Lowe, John McFee and Pete Thomas.

May 1981

The album, "Almost Blue" is produced by Billy Sherrill at Columbia Records Studio A, in Nashville, Tennessee.

John McFee augments the Attractions on lead guitar and pedal steel guitar.

Billy Sherrill adds strings and the Nashville Edition vocal background group to several tracks.

Some thirty songs are cut in nine days, only one of which is an Elvis Costello composition.

The repertoire is country material from the 50s and 60s with the exception of two Gram Parsons songs.

A documentary film crew records the progress of the sessions for an edition of the "South Bank Show"

August 29th 1981

In almost their last act as pop stars, Elvis Costello and Attractions headline the "Rock On The Tyne" festival in Gateshead in the North-East of England.

Other acts on the bill include, Ian Dury and the Blockheads and a rising group from Dublin called, U2.

October 1981

"Almost Blue" released to almost universally negative critical response on either side of the Atlantic.

"Good Year For The Roses" reaches #6 in the U.K. Singles Chart.

November 1981

Recording of "Imperial Bedroom" begins with Geoff Emerick overseeing the production at AIR Studios, London.

Shows presenting the songs from, "Almost Blue", are played at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, the Palladium Theatre, New York on New Year's Eve with N.R.B.Q. as the opening act.