Lies & Inventions

December 21st-22nd 1983

The year closes with three shows in two days at the Hammersmith Odeon, London.

Early 1984

Sessions at Sarm West and Genetic Studios for the album "Goodbye Cruel World, produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley.

Guests included, saxophonist, Gary Barnacle and vocalists, Green Gartside and Daryl Hall.

April 10th 1984

First professional solo tour begins at the University of Virginia, Charlotteville, Virginia with T Bone Burnett as the opening act.

The Coward Brothers - Henry and Howard - make first appearance a few nights later.

May-June 1984

Role of almost mute, "Henry Scully" in Alan Bleasdale's comedic family drama series, "Scully" for which, "Turning The Town Red" is the opening theme song.

June 18th 1984

Release of "Goodbye Cruel World" by Demon and Columbia Records

Re-working of obscure Hi Records single by the Teacher's Edition, "I Wanna Be Loved", reaches #25 in the U.K charts proves to be last Top 30 single until 1992.

"Goodbye Cruel World" marks the last in a run of eight consecutive U.K. Tope Ten albums, four of which reach the Top Five.

Touring with the Attractions, solo and as The Coward Brothers alternates for the rest of the year through Australia, Japan, the U.S. and U.K. and two tours of Europe.

The Cowards Brothers' misadventures in Europe are documented in their song, "The People's Limousine" and the T Bone Burnett song, "Euro-Mad".


Elvis Costello and the Attractions play a benefit for National Union Of Miners at Logan Hall on the night the bitter 1984-85 strike is finally called off and perform the new song, "Betrayal" and Merle Haggard's "No Reason To Quit".

Spring 1985

Production of The Pogues album, "Rum, Sodomy and The Lash" at Elephant Studios, London.

May 1985

"Don't Get Above Your Raisin'" performed with Ricky Skaggs at the Dominion Theatre, London for Skaggs', "Live In London" album.

The Coward Brothers continues to tour Australia, Japan and return to London and Dublin on co-billed shows.

The Coward Brothers single, "The People's Limousine" b/w "They'll Never Take Her Love From Me" is released on the Imp label.

The A-side features a rhythm section of Ron Tutt on drums and David Miner on bass with a cameo appearance by Bonnie Raitt.

The Hank Williams song on the B-Side features the mandolin of Stephen Bruton.

Solo acoustic session at Sunset Sound Studios at which many of the song for "King of America" are first put on tape, also includes the first recording of "Next Time Round" - later cut with the Attractions for "Blood and Chocolate" - and the unpublished Costello songs, "All The Way" and "Colour Blind Drunk".

July 1985

Solo performance of "All You Need Is Love" at the "Live Aid" concert at Wembley Stadium, London.

Summer/Autumn 1985

Recording sessions for "King of America" produced by T Bone Burnett take place at Sunset Sound and Ocean Way Studios, Hollywood, California.

The Attractions feature on only one song, "Suit of Lights".

Several other line-ups provide the accompaniment for the remaining songs.

Five titles are cut with members of Elvis Presley's former "T.C.B." band members, James Burton, Ron Tutt and Jerry Scheff.

Scheff and Burton then join drummer Jim Keltner and keyboardist, Mitchell Froom for another set of recording dates.

Hall and Oates rhythm section Mickey Currey and T-Bone Wolk play on two cuts. Wolk also plays electric guitar and accordion on "Brilliant Mistake".

David Hildalgo of Los Lobos adds high harmony to "Loveable", while Jo-El Sonnier adds French accordion to "American Without Tears".

The session for "Poisoned Rose" features Ray Brown on bass, and Earl Palmer on drums, with Tom Canning on piano.


Role as inept conjurer, "Roscoe Deville" in the movie of Alan Bleasdale's "No Surrender"

"Seven Day Weekend" written and recorded with Jimmy Cliff at Eden Studios for the Robin Williams, Peter O'Toole, Twiggy comedy vehicle, "Club Paradise".

The Role of "Hives" the butler in Alex Cox's "Straight To Hell", starring Sy Richardson, Joe Strummer, The Pogues, Kathy Burke, Courtney Love and featuring cameo appearances by Jim Jarmusch, Grace Jones and Dennis Hopper"

The desert location, outside Almeria, Andalusia, inspires "The MacManus Gang" single, "A Town Called Big Nothing", which features the narration of Sy Richardson and the trumpet of Ross MacManus.

Spring 1986

Recording sessions with the Attractions for "Blood and Chocolate" produced by Nick Lowe at Olympic Studios, London.

June 6th 1986

Guest appearance with Chet Baker's drummer-less trio at "Ronnie Scott's" jazz club in London recorded for video special.

Songs performed include, "The Very Thought Of You", "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "I'm A Fool To Want You".

November 1986

"Costello Sings Again" tour commences with a five-night stand at the Beverly Theatre, Los Angeles. San Francisco, Chicago and Boston each staged three-night stands until the tour reached another five-night run at the Broadway Theatre, New York City.

Each concert features a different presentation.

One concert in each city is a solo performance, another with the Attractions presents the material from "Blood and Chocolate, while the Confederates perform songs from "King Of American" and songs by Dan Penn, Mose Allison, Allen Toussaint, Waylon Jennings and Dave Bartholomew.

The Confederates - Jim Keltner, Jerry Scheff, James Burton, Mitchell Froom augmented at different shows by Michael Blair on vibraphone and percussion, Ralph Carney on saxophones and T-Bone Wolk on accordion and vocals.

"Spectacular Spinning Songbook" is the most unpredictable evening.

Costello in the guise of host, "Napoleon Dynamite", invites audience members to spin a game show wheel, selecting the next song to be performed by the Attractions.

The guest M.C. for the very first "Spectacular Spinning Songbook" show is Tom Waits, who also joins in a duet of the Skeeter Davis hit, "I've Forgotten More Than You'll Ever Know".

Other M.C.s during the tour included Huey Lewis, members of the Chicago Bears, Buster Poindexter and, the illusionists, Penn and Teller.

When the tour reaches Rome, the guest M.C. is the comic actor, Roberto Benigni.

Guest artists appearing during the tour include, Tom Petty performing, "American Girl" with the Attractions, The Bangles, John Doe, David Hildalgo, Aimee Mann, Benmont Tench, Jackson Browne, Nick Lowe and T Bone Burnett.


The year began with a six-night stand at the Royal Albert Hall.

These include three shows with the Attractions and three nights with the Confederates.

At the last of these, Van Morrison performs "Jackie Wilson Said" and a duet on the Ray Charles' hit, "What Would I Do"

The Confederates then tour of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Solo concerts with Nick Lowe sharing the bill take up much of the year.