The sacred tie between the Hollywood silver screen and music is a union that has been around since silent shorts of the early 1900s. Some of these unions were the obvious choices and others were unlikely pairings. For the most part, Elvis Costello falls into the latter. And while the relationship has always been a very fragile one, it is those moments that proved to be the most magical.
Luckily for Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), this relationship survived and on November 19, 2012, UMe will release In Motion Pictures, a 15-song collection almost 30 years in the making. 'In Motion Pictures' features the songs of Elvis Costello used in movies, originally brokered and now hand-picked, with the sometimes reluctant and defiant blessing of Mr. Costello, by the mysterious Tinsel Town insider known as Moon Conway.
Featured are songs from Costello’s vast, past repertoire as well as songs specifically written and/or recorded for films and only available on the original soundtracks. An illuminating essay paints the backdrop to the world of Elvis Costello, “In Motion Pictures.”
In Motion Pictures collects some of Costello’s magical, musical moments, where celluloid and music come together for one fleeting moment, to enhance and create memorable fragments of the storyline. Who did not chuckle indulgently upon recognizing the almost inaudible “My Mood Swings” playing on The Dude’s headphones during his “dental” examination in The Big Lebowski? Or the use of “Miracle Man” during the seduction of Michael Corelone’s daughter in Godfather III? Who can deny the tawdry thrill of “I Want You” being laced through Michael Winterbottom’s movie of the same name, starring Rachel Weisz?
Sometimes Costello was even tapped for on-screen roles, mostly as “guitar player with glasses” or later as “singer with hat and glasses.” Once in a blue moon he was offered the chance to play more unusual characters. In 1987 he popped up in Alex Cox’s salute to Italian Westerns, Straight To Hell, with Costello playing the part of a pump-action shotgun-toting butler called “Hives,” who dies in a hail of bullets, Cagney-style. He even contributed the original track “A Town Called Big Nothing,” by the MacManus Gang, featuring Elvis Costello and his father Ross MacManus.
For Darnell Martin's 2001 “hip-hop opera” Prison Song, Costello took not one, but two unlikely supporting roles, as both a school teacher and a public defender in addition to providing the track “Oh Well,” co-written with Q-Tip.
However, the most unlikely piece of casting against type came not on-screen but when Richard Curtis offered to “ruin his career” by employing Costello as an unambiguous romantic balladeer over the closing titles of Notting Hill.
His rendition of “She,” the Charles Aznavour/Herbert Kretzmer song, was recorded at Abbey Road Studios while luminescent images of Julia Roberts were projected onto a giant screen hung above the orchestra. The song reached a modest No. 19 in the U.K. but was, however, a hit around the world, from Brazil to the Philippines, and remains Costello’s calling card in a number of countries in which exposure to the rest of his catalogue triggers everything from bemusement to outrage.
It’s with all this I say, thank goodness that we now have In Motion Pictures to recall those occasions when Elvis Costello’s peculiar talents were in accord with the flickering shadows, galloping tintypes and lingering dreams of those imaginings.
1. Accidents Will Happen
2. Lover's Walk
3. Miracle Man
4. Life Shrinks
5. Crawling To The U.S.A.
6. Seven Day Weekend (featuring
Jimmy Cliff & Elvis Costello)
8. I Want You
9. You Stole My Bell
10. My Mood Swings
11. Oh Well
12. God Give Me Strength
13. Sparkling Day
15. A Town Called Big Nothing
(featuring The MacManus Gang)
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