Best Elvis Costello Songs

21 Best Elvis Costello Songs (list with chords & lyrics)

If you’re on the hunt for the top Elvis Costello songs ever recorded, you are on the right website. Here’s our picks for the most legendary Elvis Costello songs that you need to hear as soon as possible.

We have included the greatest tracks with their words plus guitar chords. So you can sing and play along to these absolute classics too!

This Years Girl

This Years Girl Guitar Chords & Lyrics
Intro:
D C D C
 
G|-6/7\6------|    |-4/5\5-------|
D|-x-x-x-7-2--|    |-x-x-x-5-4-2-|
A|-4/5\4-x-x--|    |-2/3\2-x-x-x-|
E|-------5-0--| x5 |-------3-2-0-|
 
(riff 2)
D                        Bm                           A
  See her picture in a thousand places 'cause she's this year's girl.
D                        Bm               F#m (riff 1)
  You think you all own little pieces of this year's girl.
G              A            G            A
  Forget your fancy manners, forget your English grammar,
G                          A                Dsus4           D   Dsus2 D
  'cause you don't really give a damn about this year's girl.
 
 
Repeat intro, then the same chords as verse 1.
 
 
Still you're hoping that she's well spoken 'cause she's this year's girl.
You want her broken with her mouth wide open 'cause she's this year's girl.
Never knowing (if?) it's a real attraction, all these promises of satisfaction,
while she's being bored to distraction being this year's girl.
 
 
 Bm                            G              D
Time's running out. She's not happy with the cost.
  E7                       intro riff                          E
There'd be no doubt, only she's forgotten much more than she's lost.
 
(riff 2)
D                       Bm                    A
  A bright spark might corner the market in this year's girl.
D                          Bm                  F#m (riff 1)
  You see yourself rolling on the carpet with this year's girl.
G              A           G              A
  Those disco synthezisers, those daily tranquilizers,
G             A              G              A
  those body building prizes, those bedroom alibis;
G                A               Dsus4        D     Bmsus4  Bm
  all this, but no surprises for this year's girl.
G                A                F#m              Bmsus4  Bm
  All this, but no surprises for this year's girl.
G                A               Dsus4        D
  All this, but no surprises for this year's girl.
 
 
Outro:
play intro riff then i do something like this:
 
e|-0--0~----------0-|
B|-0--0~----------0-|
G|-9--9--7~---/9--9-|
D|-9--9--7~---/9--9-|
A|-7--7--5~---/7--7-|
E|----------0~-0--0-| play a few times then end on the big E chord
 
riff 1 (between F#m and G)
G|-----2-----|
D|-2h4---4-2-|
 
riff 2 (play before the D at the start of each verse after intro riff)
A|-0-0-2-2-4-4-|
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Riot Act

Riot Act Guitar Chords & Lyrics
A   Dm    A               Dm   A
         Forever
        Dm      C            F
doesn't mean forever anymore
A Dm        A
I said forever
               Dm                      C                 F
But it doesn't look like I'm gonna be around much anymore
D                  G
When the heat gets so tropical
Bm               Em
And the talk gets  so topical
D          D/C                 Bm7 (can use B5)
Riot act - you can read me the riot act
BbMAJ7            Em7
You can make me a matter of fact
     A
Or a villain in a million
  Em7                         A
A slip of the tongue is gonna keep me civilian
C#m             C              Bm
Why do you talk such stupid nonsense
            Bb               A
When my mind could rest much easier
C#m        C                  Bm
Instead of all this dumb dumb insolence
           Bb              A
I would be happier with amnesia
A    Dm         A
They say forget her
                         Dm                C                F
Now it looks like you're either gonna be before me or against me
A  Dm          A
I  got your letter
               Dm                 C             F
Now they say I don't care for the color that it paints me
D               G
Trying to be so bad is bad enough
Bm            Em
Don't make me laugh by talking tough
D              G
Don't put your heart out on your sleeve
Em
When your remarks are off the cuff
 
Chorus . . . . . .
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Party Girl

Party Girl Guitar Chords & Lyrics
A                             C#m
They say you're nothing but a party girl
A                             C#m
Just like a million more all over the world
D        D/C#                    Bm               E
I know I shouldn't be raising my hopes up high but I've
A                    C#/F
Seen the hungry look in their eyes
F#m                        G              D
They'd settle for anything in disguise of love
 
                     F#
Seen the party girls look me over
Bm                       D7             G
Seen em leaving when the party's over
 
D                   G
They can't touch me now
D                 G
You say you don't mind
D                G       D
We're so hard to find
C                C/B          Am     G
I could give you anything but time      
D            E
Give it just one more try
D         E
Give it a chance
D            E
Starts like  fascination
D              G       E
Ends up like a trance
 
BREAK:
A C#m
A C#m
 
A                             C#m
Oh you'll never be the guilty party girl
A                       C#m
Maybe someday we can go hiding from this world
D          D/C#                Bm                 E
Maybe I'll never get over the change in style but I
A                             C#/F
Don't want to lock you up and say you're mine
F#m                       G
Don't want to lose you or say goodbye
        D                  F#
I'm the guilty party and I want my slice
      Bm                         D7               G
But I know you've got me and I'm in your grip like vise
 
D                   G
They can't touch me now
D                 G
You say you don't mind
D                G     D
We're so hard to find
C                C/B
I could give you anything
C                C/B
I would give you anything
C              C/B
I can give you anything but
C    C/B     G       A
Time                   (Give you anything but)
C    C/B     G       A
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Radio Radio

Radio Radio Guitar Chords & Lyrics
[Intro]
| E  B  E | B     | E  B  E | B     |
 
[Verse 1]
       E                              B
I was tuning in the shine on the light night dial
      A                        E
Doing anything my radio advised.
                         B
With every one of those late night stations
         A                               C#m
Playing songs, bringing tears to my eyes.
       A                        B
I was seriously thinking about hiding the receiver
        A                            B
When the switch broke 'cause it's old.
A                                 B
They're saying things that I can hardly believe.
              B                             E
They really think we're getting out of control.
 
[Chorus]
E             C#m
Radio is the sound salvation.
           B
Radio is cleaning up the nation.
      A              E             B        E
They say you better listen to the voice of reason.
                A            E                  B               C#m
But they don't give you any choice 'cause they think that it's treason.
            B                        C#m
So you had better do as you are told.
            B                  E
You better listen to the radio.
 
[Interlude]
| E  B  E | B     | E  B  E | B     |
 
[Bridge]
Am                  E
I want to bite the hand that feeds me.
Am                   E
I want to bite that hand so badly.
C#m                                  B
I want to make them wish they'd never seen me.
 
[Verse 2]
       E                              B
Some of my friends sit around every evening
      A                        E
And they worry about the times ahead.
                         B
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference
         A                               C#m
And the promise of an early bed.
       A                        B
You better shut up or get cut up;
       A                        B
They don't wanna hear about it.
       A                        B
It's only inches on the reel-to-reel.
       A                        B
And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools
          B                    E
Trying to anaesthetize the way that you feel.
 
[Chorus]
E             C#m
Radio is the sound salvation.
           B
Radio is cleaning up the nation.
      A              E             B        E
They say you better listen to the voice of reason.
                A            E                  B               C#m
But they don't give you any choice 'cause they think that it's treason.
            B                        C#m
So you had better do as you are told.
            B                  E
You better listen to the radio.
 
[Outro]
E  B  E B
 
           E    B  E B
Wonderful radio
           E    B  E B
Marvelous radio
           E    B  E B
Wonderful radio
        E    B  E B
Radio, radio.
        E    B  E B
Radio, radio.
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Man Out Of Time

Man Out Of Time Guitar Chords & Lyrics
E                                     B  E
So this is where he came to hide
E                                     B  E
When he ran from you
E
In a private detective overcoat
F#m
And dirty dead men's shoes
 
E                                     B  E
The pretty things of Knightsbridge
E                                     B  E
Lying for of Minister of State
E
Are a far cry from the nod and wink
          F#m
Here at Traitors' Gate
 
           G#m                         C#m
'Cause the high heel he used to be has been ground down
       F#sus4
And he listens for the footsteps
E/B                     B7
That would follow him around
 
E          F#m              G#m    E
To murder - my love - is a crime
    F#m  G#m   A  F#/A# Bsus4 G#/B#  C#m  A  E
But will you still love - a man out of time
 
E                                     B  E
There's a tupenny ha'ppenny millionaire
E                                     B  E
Looking for a fourpenny one
E
With a tight grip on the short hairs
        F#m
Of the public imagination
 
E                                     B  E
But for his private wife and kids somehow
      E                               B  E
Real life becomes a rumour
     E
Days of Dutch courage, just three French letters
       F#m
And a German sense of humor
 
G#m                                C#m
He's got a mind like a sewer and a heart like a fridge
   F#sus4
He stands to be insulted
       E/B               B7
And he pays for the privilege
 
E          F#m              G#m    E
To murder - my love - is a crime
    F#m  G#m   A  F#/A# Bsus4 G#/B#  C#m  A  E
But will you still love - a man out of time
 
E                                     B  E
The biggest wheels of industry
E                                     B  E
Retire sharp and short
E
And after the dinner overtures
F#m
Are nothing but an afterthought
 
E                                     B  E
Somebody's creeping in the kitchen
   E                                  B  E
There's a reputation to be made
E
Whose nerves are always on the knife's edge
    F#m
And who's up late polishing the blade
 
G#m                            C#m
Love is always scarpering or cowering or fawning
   F#sus4
You drink yourself insensitive
     E/B                    B7
And hate yourself in the morning
 
E          F#m              G#m    E
To murder - my love - is a crime
    F#m  G#m   A  F#/A# Bsus4 G#/B#  C#m  A  E
But will you still love - a man out of time
 
Seite 1 von 2
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Alison

Alison Guitar Chords & Lyrics
[Intro]
B G#m A C#m B F#m G#m G#m G#m B
 
 
[Verse]
            A                           E
Oh it's so funny to be seeing you after so long girl
 A                                      G#m            C#m      B
And by the way you look I understand that you were not impressed
 A                                G#m      C#m
But I heard you let that little friend of mine
 D                   B7sus4  B7
Take off your party dress
 A                 G#m    C#m
I'm not gonna get too sentimental
B           A                G#m  C#m  B
Like those other sticky valentines
  A                              G#m       C#m
Cause I don't know if you were loving somebody
 D                        B7sus4  B7
I only know it isn't mine
 
 
[Chorus]
A     E  A           B      G#m G#7 C#m B
Alison I know this world is killing you
A        E   A    B      E
Oh Alison     my aim is true
 
 
[Verse]
        A                 E
Well I see you've got a husband now
        A                              G#m             C#m  B
Did he leave your pretty fingers lying in the wedding cake
     A                     G#m      C#m
You used to hold him right in your hand
        D                      B7sus4  B7
But he took all that he could take
  A                            G#m            C#m
Sometimes I wish that I could stop you from talking
B        A                               G#m C#m B
When I hear those silly things that you say
    A                   G#m              C#m
I think somebody better put out the big light
             D                           B7sus4   B7
(Be)cause I can't stand to see you this way
 
 
[Chorus]
A     E   A          B      G#m G#7 C#m
Alison I know this world is killing you
   A     E  A       B      E
Oh Alison        my aim is true
A  D    B      E     A  D    B      E
     My aim is true,      my aim is true     (Repeat to fade)
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Complicated Shadows

Complicated Shadows Guitar Chords & Lyrics
[Intro]
A  D G x 4
 
[Verse]
           A                   D G
Well, you know your time has come
            A                     D G
And you're sorry for what you've done
                D                                                  A  D G
You should've never been playing with a gun in those complicated shadows
                 A                  D G
Well, there's a line that you must toe
             A              D G
And it will soon be time to go
               D                                     A     D G   A  D
But it's darker than you know in those complicated shadows
 
[Chorus]
           G                                     D
All you gangsters and rude clowns,   Who were shooting up the town
           E                                   A    D  G  A  D
When you should've found someone to put the blame on
            G                              D
Though the fury's hot and hard,   I still see that cold graveyard
            E
There's a solitary stone that's got your name on
 
[Verse]
           A                    D  G
You don't have to take it from me
       A              D  G
But I know of what I spake
            A                     D  G
You think you're like iron and steel
              E                                               A      D  G  A  D  G
But iron and steel will bend and break in these complicated shadows
 
No...
A  D  G  x3
A  D
 
[Chorus]
           G                                 D
Sometimes justice, you will find,   Is just dumb not color blind
         E                                 A      D G   A D
And your poor shattered mind can't take it all in
             G                                   D
All those phantoms and their shades, Should jump up on Judgement Day
     E
And say to the Almighty "I'm still stinking of sin"
 
[Verse]
         A            D  G
But the jury was dismissed
          A                       D  G
Took his neck and they gave it a twist
        D                                               A    D G  A D
So you see, you won't be missed in those complicated shadows
 
         A                 D  G
You can say just what you like
      A                      D  G
In a voice like a John Ford film
          A              D  G
Take the law into your hands
              D                                               A    D  G
And you will soon get tired of killing in those complicated shadows
             A      D  G
Complicated shadows x 3   
 
[Outro]
A   D G x 12
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Watching The Detectives

Watching The Detectives Guitar Chords & Lyrics
[INTRO]
 
 
Riff x2
 
     Am                   F                     Am                   F
e:||---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
B:||---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
G:||---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
D:||---------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
A:||---------0--2vvvvv-----3--2--3----------------------0--2vvvvv----3--2--3---------|
E:||-0h1h3----------------------------1vvvvv-----0h1h3------------------------1vvvvv-|
 
 Rhythm comes in 2nd bass
   Am   F   Am   F
 
 
[VERSE 1]
Am
 Nice girls, not one with a defect
F                                       G
 Cellophane shrink-wrapped, so correct
Am                      F
 Red dogs under illegal legs
Am                                       F       Am
 She looks so good that he gets down and begs
 
 
[CHORUS 1]
        C
 She is watching the detectives
        G
 "Ooh, he's so cute"
        C
 She is watching the detectives
G                Em     F      D
 When they shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot
 Am                                           G
 They beat him up until the teardrops start
 F                                          C      G
 But he can't be wounded 'cause he's got no heart
 
[VERSE 2]
Am                                G
 Long shot at that jumping sign
F                                         G
 Invisible shivers running down my spine
Am                                       G
 Cut to baby taking off her clothes
F
 Close-up of the sign that says "We never close"
 
 
[VERSE 3]
Am                                               G
 He snatched at you and you match his cigarette
F
 She pulls the eyes out with a face like a magnet
 Am                                 F
 I don't know how much more of this I can take
 Am                                   F
 She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake
 
 
[CHORUS 2]
         C
 She is watching the detectives
         G
 "Ooh, he's so cute"
C
 She is watching the detectives
G                Em      F      D
 When they shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot
 Am                                            G
 They beat him up until the teardrops start
 F                                          C      G
 But he can't be wounded 'cause he's got no heart
 
 
[VERSE 4]
Am
 You think you're alone until you realize you're in it
     F
 Now fear is here to stay, love is here for a visit
 Am
 Call it instant justice when it's past the legal limit
 F
 Someone's scratching at the window, I wonder who is it?
 
[VERSE 5]
     Am
 The detectives come to check if you belong to the parents
         F
 Who are ready to hear the worst about their daughter's disappearance
        ( G )   Am
 Though it nearly took a miracle to get you to stay
         N.C.                                C
 It only took my little fingers to blow you away
 
 
[CHORUS 3]
           G
 Just like watching the detectives
C
 Don't get cute
                G
 It's just like watching the detectives
 Am                                           G
 I get so angry when the teardrops start
 F                                          C
 But he can't be wounded 'cause he's got no heart
G
 Watching the detectives
 
ENDING]
 
Am
                F
 It's just like watching the detectives
Am
 Watching the detectives
F
 Watching the detectives
Am
 Watching the detectives
F
 Watching the detectives 
 
(REPEAT AND FADE)
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I Dont Want To Go To Chelsea

I Dont Want To Go To Chelsea Guitar Chords & Lyrics
[Intro]
     Bm    A        G     A
||:  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  /  :|| [x4]
 
[Verse 1]
Bm          A         G     A
    Photo - graphs of fancy tricks,
Bm              A        G     A
    To get your kicks at sixty six,
Bm               A       G             A
    He thinks of all the lips that he licks,
Bm              A               G        A
    And all the girls that he's going to fix
 
[Verse 2]
    Bm            A                 G             A
She gave a little flirt, gave her - self a little cuddle,
            Bm       A            G          A
But there's no place here for the mini-skirt waddle,
       Bm           A           G          A
Capi - tal punish - ment, she's last years model,
     G             A              G          A
They call her Na - tasha when she looks like Elsie,
G           F#m     Em    D
 ...I don't want to go to Chelsea
 
[Chorus]
G   D      G        D
Oh, no, it does not move me,
G       D           G        D
   Even though I've seen the movie,
G          D       G          D
   I don't want to check your pulse,
G          D         G    D
   I don't want no - body else,
G          D       E  E  N.C.
   I don't want to go to Chelsea
                   ^  ^
[Break]
     Bm    A        G     A
||:  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  /  :|| [x2]
 
[Verse 3]
Bm          A      G       A
    Every - body's got new orders,
Bm       A               G       A
    Be a nice girl, and kiss the warders,
Bm          A       G      A
    Now the teacher is a - way, 
Bm          A         G      A
    All the kids be - gin to play
 
[Break]
     Bm    A        G     A
||:  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  /  :|| [x2]
 
[Verse 4]
Bm       A         G          A
Men come sceaming, dressed in white coats,
Bm             A      G      A
Shake you very gently by the throat,
G           A    G           A
One's named Gus, one's named Alfie,
G           F#m     Em    D
 ...I don't want to go to Chelsea
 
[Chorus]
G   D      G        D
Oh, no, it does not move me,
G       D           G        D
   Even though I've seen the movie,
G          D       G          D
   I don't want to check your pulse,
G          D         G    D
   I don't want no - body else,
G          D       E  E  N.C.
   I don't want to go to Chelsea
                   ^  ^
[Break]
     Bm    A        G     A
||:  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  /  :|| [x4]
 
[Verse 5]
Bm          A         G     A
    Photo - graphs of fancy tricks,
Bm              A        G     A
    To get your kicks at sixty six,
Bm               A       G            A
    He thinks of all the lips that he licks,
Bm              A                   G        A
    And all the girls that he's a - going to fix
 
[Verse 6]
    Bm            A                 G             A
She gave a little flirt, gave her - self a little cuddle,
            Bm       A            G          A
But there's no place here for the mini-skirt waddle,
Bm      A                 G          A
Capital punishment, she's last years model,
     G             A              G          A
They call her Na - tasha when she looks like Elsie,
G           F#m     Em    D
 ...I don't want to go to Chelsea
 
[Chorus]
G   D      G        D
Oh, no, it does not move me,
G       D           G        D
   Even though I've seen the movie,
G          D       G          D
   I don't want to check your pulse,
G          D         G    D
   I don't want no - body else,
G          D       E  E  N.C.
   I don't want to go to Chelsea
                   ^  ^
[Coda]
     Bm    A        G     A                 Bm
||:  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  /  :|| [x4]  |  /  ||
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Watch Your Step

Watch Your Step Guitar Chords & Lyrics
INTRO:
C F Em     C F G  (repeat)
 
 
   C           F   Em  C         F   Cm
1.)Don't say a word,   don't say anything
2.)Ev'ry day is full   of fun,   and
3.)Ev'ry night go out     full   of
 
   C           F     Em  C        F     G
1.)Don't say a word, I'm not even listening
2.)  family spies,       they're making heroes
3.)carnival desires       end up in the
 
   C             Dm          Em
1.)I read in the papers about their escape
2.)out of fall guys     they say it's good
3.)closing time choirs       when you're
 
   F            C                      Em          F  C      F Em C
1.)They're just two bit of kids from a bunch of so-ur grapes
2.)for business                 from   Singapore to Widnes
   F                        C Dm         Em                F
3.)kicking in the car chrome  And you're drinking down the Eau de
Cologne
           C Dm       Em               F          C F Em C
3.{cont.})And you're spitting out the Kodachrome
 
       C          F         G     C   F Em C F G
1,2,3.)You better watch your step
 
C           Bm          Am          F
Watch who's knocking on your front door
        C                 Bm
Now you know that they're watching
             Am      F
What are you waiting for?
             C          Bm
Think you're young and original
Am        F        C F Em
Get out before...
C           F          G    C F Em C F G
They get to watch your step
 
 
C      Bm            Am     F
Broken noses hung up on the wall
C             Bm                 Am           F
Back slapping drinkers cheer the heavy weight brawl
C        Bm               Am   F            C F Em
So punch drunk they don't understand at all
C          F          G
You better watch your step
 
INSTRUMENTAL
 
Am  F Em C G F Em Dm  G C Bb F
 
C   Bm
Bye
  Am           F
I send you all my regards
C         Bm
You're so tough
Am        F
You're so hard
C             Bm          Am         F         G    C
Listen to the hammers falling in the breaker's yard
C          F          G    C
You better watch your step
You better watch your step
Ooh, watch your step
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Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief Guitar Chords & Lyrics
[Verse 1]
D
History repeats the old conceits
      G
The glib replies the same defeats
D
Keep your finger on important issues
        F
With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues
 
[Verse 2]
D
I'm just the oily slick
         G
On the windup world of the nervous tick
     D                F
In a very fashionable hovel
            D
I hang around dying to be tortured
              G
You'll never be alone in the bone orchard
                  D/F#                      F
This battle with the bottle is nothing so novel
 
[Verse 3]
            D          G
So in this almost empty gin palace
              D/F#
Through a two-way looking glass
           F
You see your Alice
D
You know she has no sense
    G
For all your jealousy
 
[Verse 4]
    D                             F
In a sense she still smiles very sweetly
           D
Charged with insults and flattery
           G            D
Her body moves with malice
                     F
Do you have to be so cruel to be callous
D                            G                D/F#
And now you find you fit this identikit completely
                     F
You say you have no secrets
D
And then leave discreetly
 
[Chorus]
G
I might make it California's fault
G
Be locked in Geneva's deepest vault
G
Just like the canals of Mars and the Great Barrier Reef
                       Dm
I come to you beyond belief
 
[Verse 5]
D
My hands were clammy and cunning
G
She's been suitably stunning
D                             F
But I know there's not a hope in Hades
D
All the laddies cat call and wolf whistle
G                         F
So called gentlemen and ladies
D
Dog fight like rose and thistle
 
[End]
D
I got a feeling
G
I'm going to get a lot of grief
D/F#
Once this seemed so appealing
D
Now I am beyond belief
D
I got a feeling
G
I'm going to get a lot of grief
D/F#
Once this seemed so appealing
D
Now I am beyond belief
D
I got a feeling
G
I'm going to get a lot of grief
D/F#
Once this seemed so appealing
D
Now I am beyond belief
Show more

Wave A White Flag

Wave A White Flag Guitar Chords & Lyrics
               F     Gsus4   G  Gadd9  C
Take off your shoes, hang    up your   wings
              F                  G
Stack up the chairs, roll up the rug
          E7             Am
Savor the things that sobriety brings
D7    D7sus4  D7  D7sus2  D7  (then a single note run..G on the bass Estring,then D E F
the D string...)
Drain   in    the  last  from a jug
 
     C             G7                 C                 G7
But when I hit the bottle, there's no tellin' what I'll do
       C                 G7              C                  C7
'Cause something deep inside me wants to turn you black and blue
F          Ab7      C  E7     Am
I can't resist you, I  can't  wait
   D7                                G7
To twist your loving arms 'til you capitulate
 
 
C              G7                C                 G7
Beat me in the kitchen, and I'll beat you in the hall
        C              G7            C        C7
There's nothing I love better than a free for all
   F                Ab7                C   E7  Am
To take your pretty neck and see which way it  bends
    D7                          G7
But when it is all over we will still be friends
 
 
Am     AmMaj7 G7    Am           G7
Wave a white  flag, put away the pistol
Am       G7          C         C7
Too many people just can't get kissed
               F             Ab7          A7sus4  A7
But if there's nothin' I can do to make amends,   baby
Dm            Gsus4 G  C   C7
Hope you don't mur-der me
 
 
           Am  AmMaj7            Am AmMaj7
Oh, was it all right, or was it  o--kay
             Am        E7  Am  C7
I'll make it all up to you someday
            Dm             E7         Am
Oh, but you didn't have to laugh that way
            D7                        G     G7
Oh, no, you didn't have to laugh that way
 
 
Am     AmMaj7 G7    Am           G7
Wave a white  flag, put away the pistol
Am       G7          C         C7
Too many people just can't get kissed
               F             Ab7          A7sus4  A7
But if there's nothin' I can do to make amends,   baby
Dm            Gsus4 G  C
Hope you don't mur-der me
     A7    Dm             Gsus4 G   C
Gee, baby, hope you don't mur---der me
Show more

I Want You

I Want You Guitar Chords & Lyrics
[Intro]
A      E7    A                                E
Oh, my baby, baby, I love you more than I can tell,
  A                 A7          D         D/A
I don't think I can live with - out you,
      A           E     A       E7
And I know that I never will,
A      E7    A                                  E
Oh, my baby, baby, I want you so, it scares me ...to death,
  A               A7           D           D/A
I can't say any - more than 'I love you!',
           A         G        F#m         Em *
Everything else is a waste of breath
 
[Verse 1]
Em          G         C                 B                 Em
     I want you!  You had your fun, you don't get well no more,
  G               C              B                 Ebm
I want you!  Your fingernails go dragging down the wall,
   B        C        B
Be careful, darling, you might fall
 
[Verse 2]
Em          G    C              B             Em
    I want you!  I woke up, and one of us was crying,
  G             C                   B                 Em
I want you! You said, 'Young man, I do believe you're dying!'
  G                C                 B
I want you! If you need a second o - pinion,
               Em
As you seem to do, these days,
  G          C                  B
I want you!  You can look in my eyes,
            Ebm                B    C    C    B
And you can count the ways  |  /_/  /_/  /_/  /_/  |
                               ^ ^  ^ ^  ^ ^  ^ ^
 
[Verse 3]
Em         G             C      (C6)      B        B7       Em
    I want you!  Did you mean to tell me, but seem to for - get?
  G                C        (C6)    B             B7     Em
I want you!  Since when were you so generous, and inar - ticulate?
  G             C        (C6)   B       B7      Em                G
I want you, but it's the stupid details that my heart is breaking for,
         C        (C6)      B          B7           Em
It's the way your shoulders shake, and what they're shaking for,
  G               C       (C6)    B         B7         Em
I want you!  It's knowing that he knows you now, after only guessing,
G           C                   B
   It's the thought of him un - dressing you,
    Ebm                      B    C    C    B
Or...    you undressing   |  /_/  /_/  /_/  /_/  |
                             ^ ^  ^ ^  ^ ^  ^ ^
 
[Verse 4]
Em          G         C          (C6)   B        B7        Em
     I want you!   He tossed some tatty compli - ment your way,
  G             C       (C6)      B        B7
I want you, and you were fool e - nough to love it...
   C       Ebm     Em    G          C      B
...When he said,     ...'I---- want you!'
 
[Break]
e |-------------------|----------------| [x2]
B |-------------------|----------------|
G |---~9---~9----~9---|----~9----~9----|
D |-~8---~8----~8-----|--~8----~8------|
A |-------------------|----------------|
E |-------------------|----------------|
 
[Verse 5]
Em         G         C                     B                  Em
    I want you!  The truth can't hurt you, it's just like the dark,
   G                   C                 B                    Em
It scares you witless, but, in time, you see things clear and stark,
  G             C                B                 Em
I want you!  Go on, and hurt me, then we'll let it drop,
  G          C            B                   Em
I want you!  I'm afraid I won't know where to stop,
  G              C              B                Em
I want you!  I'm not ashamed to say, I cried for you
 
[Verse 6]
  G            C                B                    Em
I want you!  I want to know the things you did, that we do too,
  G            C               B                Em
I want you!  I want to hear he pleases you more than I do,
  G            C       (C6)     B           B7     Em
I want you!  I might as well be useless for all it means to you,
  G                  C       (C6)      B     B7       Em
I want you!  Did you call his name out as he held you down?
  G              C     (C6)      B        B7        Em
I want you!  Oh, no, my darling,   ...not with that clown,
G           Cadd9  C    B   B7
I----- want you!
 
[Verse 7]
Em         G            C                 B                 Em
    I want you!  You've had your fun, you don't get well no more,
  G             C                   B                  Ebm
I want you!  No one who wants you,   ...could want you more,
Em    G    C     B                Em    G     C    B
                     I want you!                 I want you!
Em          G      C                 B           Em
     I want you!   Every night, when I go off to bed,
           G         C       B7
And when I wake up,     ...I want you!
Em    G       C            B        B7         Em            G
          I'm gonna say it once a - gain, 'til I instill it-------,
    C                  B         B7       Em              G
I'm going  ...going to feel this way un - til you ...kill it,
C      B    B7    Em    G    Cadd9 C   B  B7      Em         G
     I want you!                       I-----  ...want you--------!
Cadd9 C   B  B7  Em        G      Cadd9 C    Baug  B7    Em
          I-----  ....want you!
Show more

Mystery Dance

Mystery Dance Guitar Chords & Lyrics
G5                                         F5
Romeo was restless, he was ready to kill.
   G5                                                 F5
He jumped out the window 'cause he couldn't sit still.
G5
Juliet was waiting with a safety net.
F5        G5
He said, "Don't bury me, 'cause I'm not dead yet."
 
                                C
Why don't you tell me 'bout the mystery dance.
                       G
I wanna know about the mystery dance.
 
Why don't you show me,
            D                            C
'Cause I've tried and I've tried and I'm still mystified.
                                             F5
I can't do it anymore, and I'm not satisfied.
 
 
Well, I remember when the lights went out
And I was try'n' to make it look like it was never in doubt.
She thought that I knew, and I thought that she knew,
So both of us were willing, but we didn't know how to do it.
 
Well, I was down under the covers in the middle of the night,
Trying to discover my left foot from my right.
You can see those pictures in any magazine,
But what's the use of looking when you don't know what they mean?
Show more

Veronica

Veronica Guitar Chords & Lyrics
[Intro]
C  F  C/E  G/D  C  F  C  G
 
[Verse]
      C           F             C/E     G/D  G
Is it all in that pretty little head of yours?
          C          F            C   G
What goes on in that place in the dark?
       C              F          C/E        G/D    G
Well I used to know a girl and I would have sworn
         F        G      Csus4  C
That her name was Veronica
 
         C              F        C/E         G/D  G
Well she used to have a carefree mind of her own
      C        F           C       G
And a delicate look in her eye
C          F          C/E            G/D     G
These days I'm afraid she's not even sure
       F         G    Csus4  C
If her name is Veronica
 
[Chorus]
          Dm                 Dmmaj7
Do you suppose, that waiting hands on eyes
  Dm7        G
Veronica has gone to hide?
    Dm               Dmmaj7
And all the time she laughs at those
    Dm7                G
Who shout her name and steal her clothes
  F          F#dim7
Veronica - Veronica - Veronica
 
[Instrumental]
G  Dm/G  Em/G
G  Dm/G  Em/G  G
 
[Verse]
        C         F           C/E    G/D      G
Did the days drag by? Did the favour wane?
       C             F            C       G
Did he roam down the town all the time?
         C           F               C/E         G/D   G
Will you wake from a dream, with the wolf at the door
         F         G       Csus4  C
Reaching out for Veronica?
 
        C       F          C/E    G/D  G
Well it was all sixty-five years ago
         C             F                C       G
When the world was the street where she lived
      C         F           C/E         G/D  G
And a young man sailed on a ship in the sea
       F            G      Csus4  C
With a picture of Veronica
 
        Am              Fm
On the "Empress of India"
           Bb                       C
And as she closed her eyes upon the world
    Am                                   Fm
And picked upon the bones of last week's news
    Bb                            Bb Bb
She spoke his name out loud again
 
[Chorus]
          Dm                 Dmmaj7
Do you suppose, that waiting hands on eyes
  Dm7        G
Veronica has gone to hide?
    Dm               Dmmaj7
And all the time she laughs at those
    Dm7                G
Who shout her name and steal her clothes
  F          F#dim7
Veronica - Veronica - Veronica
 
[Instrumental]
G  Dm/G  Em/G
G  Dm/G  Em/G  G
 
[Verse]
  C      F           C/E       G/D  G
Veronica sits in her favourite chair
        C         F         C      G
And she sits very quiet and still
         C        F              C/E       G/D  G
And they call her name that they never get right
       F               G      Csus4     C
And if they don't then nobody else will
 
        C              F        C/E         G/D  G
But she used to have a carefree mind of her own
     C        F           C    G
With devilish look in her eye
        C       F       C/E          G/D  G
Saying "You can call me anything you like
       F         G     Csus4  C
But my name is Veronica"
 
[Chorus]
          Dm                 Dmmaj7
Do you suppose, that waiting hands on eyes
  Dm7        G
Veronica has gone to hide?
    Dm               Dmmaj7
And all the time she laughs at those
    Dm7                G
Who shout her name and steal her clothes
  F          F#dim7
Veronica - Veronica - Veronica
 
[Instrumental]
G  Dm/G  Em/G
G  Dm/G  Em/G  G
 
[Outro]
G  F  Em  G/D
 
  C
Veronica
Show more

You Tripped At Every Step

You Tripped At Every Step Guitar Chords & Lyrics
G                   Em/B     C          G/D
Take your tiny feet out of your mother?s shoes
   Bm              Em            Am7         D7
Or there?s is going to be a terrible scene
G                   Em/B     C             G/D
It?s not just a lipstick drawn on crooked when they
Bm            Em
Find how wicked we are
B                Bdim          C
How wicked we have been
E                       Am
How I?ve been tempted
 
C                           G/D D  C
How you tripped at every step
                         Em                    C            Em
You tripped at every step, you tripped at every step
      C                            Bm D/A   C
Oh, how you tripped at every step
 
G                      Em/B           C      G/D
There?s a merry tune that starts in "I" and ends
  Bm              Em               Am7          D7
In "You", like many famous pop songs do
G                      Em/B     C         G/D
You would sing along with little tell-tale staggers
Bm         Em
While balancing on daggers
B                      Bdim   C
Thou they were killing you
E                       Am
You looked so deadly
 
C                         G/D D  C
As you tripped at every step
                        Em                     C            Em
You tripped at every step, you tripped at every step
      C                            Bm D/A   C
Oh, how you tripped at every step
 
 
      Eb                   Cm7         Ab6           G7
And I would try to catch you anytime you call
         Cm7                                                    Bb7
Only you drank that potion and went out of control
               Eb          Cm7                 Ab6       G7
There?s nothing to stop you so how can you fall
 C                        Am
Let me take your hand
Bb/F                         D/F#
Put down that frying pan
 
G                        Em/B        C             G/D
Darkness would become me, underneath the table
Bm      Em             Am7          D7
As the fury raged around the house
G                      Em/B       C       G/D
Your despairing tread was angry and unstable
Bm   Em
You never suspected
   B               Bdim      C
Just as this cartoon mouse
E            Am
Went undetected
 
C                         G/D D  C
As you tripped at every step
                        Em                     C          Em
You tripped at every step, you tripped at every step
      C                            Bm D/A   C
Oh, how you tripped at every step
 
G              Em/B     C             G/D
In another world of gin and cigarettes
       Bm               Em        Am7              D7
Those cocktail cabinets put mud in your eye
G                  Em/B    C         G/D
Maybe that is why you find it hard to see me
Bm           Em
And if you don?t believe me
B               Bdim     C
Before you start to cry
E                Am
"Don?t eve leave me."
 
C                         G/D D  C
As you tripped at every step
                        Em                     C          Em
You tripped at every step, you tripped at every step
      C                            Bm D/A   C
Oh, how you tripped at every step
Show more

Brilliant Mistake

Brilliant Mistake Guitar Chords & Lyrics
[Intro]
G F G F
G F G F
 
 
[Verse 1]
   G                           D
He thought he was the King of America
      C                             G       D
Where they pour Coca Cola just like vintage wine
    G                          D
Now I try hard not to become hysterical
            C                        G  D
But I'm not sure if I am laughing or crying
 
[Verse 2]
  C
I wish that I could push a button
C                                F         C
And talk in the past and not the  present tense
 
And watch this hurtin' feeling disappear
            F         Em
Like it was  common sense
 
[Chorus]
G          F      G          F
  It was a fine idea at the time
G            Em C D
  Now it's a brilliant mistake
 
[Bridge]
G C
G Am
G C
C Em Am G
 
[Verse 3]
    G                                 D
She said that she was working for the ABC News
          C                       G               D
It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use
    G                           D
Her perfume was unspeakable, it lingered in the air
         C                            G            D
Like her artificial laughter like her mementos of affairs
 
[Verse 4]
 C
"Oh" I said "I see you know him"
C                  F                 C
  "Isn't that very fortunate for you"
 
And she showed me his calling card
                                      F                 Em
He came third or fourth and there were more than one or two
 
[Chorus]
G          F     G          F
  He was a fine idea at the time
G            Em  C  D
  Now he's a brilliant mistake
 
[Bridge]
G C
G Am
G C
C Em Am G
 
[Verse 5]
   G                           D
He thought he was the King of America
    C                          G      D
But it was just a boulevard of broken dreams
  G                                   D
A trick they do with mirrors and with chemicals
    C
The words of love in whispers
        G              D
And the axe of love in screams
 
[Verse 6]
  C
I wish that I could push a button
C                               F          C
And talk in the past and not the present tense
 
And watch this lovin' feeling disappear
            F         Em
Like it was  common sense
 
[Chorus]
G         F     G          F
  I was a fine idea at the time
G           Em C D
  Now I'm a brilliant mistake
 
[Outro]
G C
G Am
G C
C Em Am G
Show more

Shipbuilding

Shipbuilding Guitar Chords & Lyrics
Am | C | D | D |
 
Em      Em/D#
Is it worth it
Em/D         C#dim                  D
A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
Dm            Cm7                 D
And a bicycle on the boy's birthday
                            G
It's just a rumour that was spread around town
C                D
By the women and children
              G
Soon we'll be shipbuilding
 
Em     Em/D#
Well I ask you
Em/D          C#dim                        D
The boy said "Dad they're going to make me to task
Dm          Cm7             D
But I'll be back by christmas"
                            G
It's just a rumour that was spread around town
Cmaj7              D
Somebody said that someone got filled in
Cmaj7           D
For saying that people get killed in
Cmaj7         D                G
The result of this shipbuilding
nc           G7
With all the will in the world
           Eb6
Diving for dear life
D                G
When we could be diving for pearls
 
Em               Em/D#            Em/D            C#dim
D                Dm              Cm7
 
D                           G
It's just a rumour that was spread around town
Cmaj7           D
A telegram or a picture postcard
Cmaj7                      D
Within weeks they'll be re-opening the shipyards
Cmaj7             D
And notifying the next of kin
G
Once again
               G7
It's all we're skilled in
           Eb6         D           G
We will be shipbuilding
             Gm
With all the will in the world
           Eb6          D        D        D
Diving for dear life
D                Em
When we could be diving for pearls
Em/D#            Em/D            C#dim
 
D                Dm              Cm7          D
G                Cmaj7           D            Cmaj7
D                Cmaj7           D            G
 
               G7
It's all we're skilled in
           Eb6         D           G
We will be shipbuilding
             Gm
With all the will in the world
           Eb6          D        D        D
Diving for dear life
D                D                D        D
When we could be diving for pearls
D                D                D        D
When we could be diving for pearls
D                   Em
When we could be diving for pearls
Show more

Pump It Up

Pump It Up Guitar Chords & Lyrics
[Intro]
(Bass)
| F#   D#   E D# A A# | F# F# E  F#   E F# E  |  x3
| F#   D#   E D# A A# | F# F# G# G# A A A# A# |
                        (begin guitar)
B  B  B A# A  x4
 
[Verse]
B7
I've been on tenterhooks, ending in dirty looks
List'ning to the Muzak, thinking 'bout this 'n' that
She said "That's that, I don't wanna chitter-chat"
Turn it down a little bit or turn it down flat
 
[Chorus]
E7
Pump it up!
When you don't really need it
Pump it up!
Until you can feel it
 
[Instrumental]
B  B  B A# A  x4
 
[Verse]
B7
Down in the pleasure centre, hell-bent or heaven-sent
Listen to the propaganda, listen to the latest slander
There's nothing underhand that she wouldn't understand
 
[Chorus]
E7
Pump it up!
Until you can feel it
Pump it up!
When you don't really need it
 
B  B  B A# A  x8
then land on E7
Hang on with the drum beat 4 measures
 
[Interlude]
B  B  B A# A  x4
 
[Verse]
B7
She's been a bad girl, she's like a chemical
Though you try to stop it, she's like a narcotic
You wanna torture her, you wanna talk to her
All the things you bought for her, putting up your temperature
 
[Chorus]
E7
Pump it up!
until you can feel it
Pump it up!
when you don't really need it
 
[Interlude]
B  B  B A# A  x4
 
[Verse]
E7
Out in the fashion show, down in the bargain bin
You put your passion out under the pressure pin
B7
Fall into submission, hit-and-run transmission
No use wishing now for any other sin
 
[Chorus]
E7
Pump it up!
Until you can feel it
Pump it up!
When you don't really need it
 
[Interlude]
B  B  B A# A  x4
 
[Chorus]
E7
Pump it up!
Until you can feel it
Pump it up!
When you don't really need it
 
[Interlude]
B  B  B A# A  x4
 
[Chorus]
E7
Pump it up!
Until you can feel it
Pump it up!
When you don't really need it
 
[Outro]
B  B  B A# A  x4
Don't really need it! Don't really need it!
 
B  B  B A# A  x4
Don't really need it!
 
B  B  B A# A  x2
(fade out)
Show more

Cheap Reward

Cheap Reward Guitar Chords & Lyrics
e|-------|
B|-------|
G|-------|
D|-------|
A|-0-1-2-|
E|-------|
 
 
G                                                 C
Oh, well, I feel so loose tonight I might fall to pieces
  D                                G     D
So be prepared to sweep me out the door
     G                           C
And I might be horizontal by the time the music ceases
  D                                    G
So I think I'll get acquainted with the floor
 
          B7                                        C
Oh, I was trying to get away from the things that I always do
A7                             D
Hello, floorboards once again--how are you?
 
G                                         C
Lip Service--well, that's all you'll ever get from me
      D                                   G           D
Well, how could you believe I'll take you seriously?
          G                                       C
With your cheap rewards, your blackmail, and your comical rage
     D                                                      G
Just remember you'll only be the boss so long as you pay my wage
 
G                                         C
All the sign posts on this road that point one way
D                                                  G      D
 Don't act like you're above me, just look at your shoes
G                                  C
I'll turn the light out now 'cause there's nothing more to say
D                                                   G
And it's all been lost before so there's nothing to lose
 
            B7                              C
Oh, but you could say that you love me very painlessly
A7                                    D
I would've done the same for you, but you said to me:
 
G                                         C
Lip Service--well, that's all you'll ever get from me
      D                                   G           D
Well, how could you believe I'll take you seriously?
          G                                       C
With your cheap rewards, your blackmail, and your comical rage
     D                                                      G
Just remember you'll only be the boss so long as you pay my wage
        D                                                      G
Oh just remember you'll only be the boss so long as you pay my wage
Show more

Accidents Will Happen

Accidents Will Happen Guitar Chords & Lyrics
      D                D/C#      D/B      D/A
Oh, I just don't know where to begin
          G                 G/F#    Em7          A
Though he says he'll wait forever - it's now or never
        D                    F#m7-5/C F#m7-5/A  G G/F#
But she keeps him hanging on - the silly champion
    Em                Em/D
She says she can't go home
   A/C#    A      D/F#
without a chaperone
 
Dm
Accidents will happen
   F            G
We only hit and run
   C               F                  Bb           C
he used to be your victim, now you're not the only one
Dm
Accidents will happen
    F           G
We only hit and run
C               F               Bb  C            Bb/D    Bb
I don't want to hear it, 'cause I know what I've done
 
        D       D/C#        D/B    D/A
There's so many fish in the sea
          G              G/F#                 Em7   A
That only rise up in the sweat and smoke like mercury
         D                 F#m7-5/C F#7-5/A          G    G/F#
But they keep you hanging on - they say you4re so young
     Em           Em/D        A/C#    A    D/F#
Your mind is made up, but your mouth is undone
 
Dm
Accidents will happen
   F            G
We only hit and run
   C               F                  Bb           C
He used to be your victim, now you're not the only one
Dm
Accidents will happen
    F           G
We only hit and run
C               F               Bb C             Bb/D   G  D   D/F#
I don't want to hear it, 'cause I know what I've done
 
             Bm                    Em
And it's the damage that we do and never know
         Bm                           Asus4 A   A6   A
It's the words that we don't say that scare me so
 
        D       D/C#      D/B   D/A
There's so many people to see
G       G/F#                          Em7           A
So many people you can check upon and add to your collection
          D                   F#m5-7/C F#m5-7/A   G     G/F#
But they keep you hanging on - until your well hung
     Em             Em/D       A/C#    A   D/F#
Your mouth is made up but your mind is undone
 
Dm
Accidents will happen
   F            G
We only hit and run
   C               F                  Bb           C
He used to be your victim, now you're not the only one
Dm
Accidents will happen
    F           G
We only hit and run
C                F              Bb  C
I don't want to hear it, 'cause I know what I've
Bb    C           Bb C             D    D(no 3rd) Dsus2 D(no 3rd) Dsus2
I know what I've, I know what I've done
 
F6 Fmaj7 F6 Fmaj7
I know, I know
D/F# Dsus2/F# D/F# Dsus2/F#
I know, I know
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Listen To Elvis Costello Songs

For a limited-time only, you can get unlimited access to Elvis Costello songs, ad-free for 3 months when you sign up to Amazon Music Unlimited through this page.

Unlike other music streaming sites, Amazon Music Unlimited allows you to listen to Elvis Costello both online and offline (so you could be listening to your favorite Elvis Costello tracks from anywhere in the world, without worrying about data usage or having the songs cut out midway)

This offer is currently available when we last checked (September 1st 2022), but we can’t say for sure if they’ll still be offering it when you are reading this. The quickest way to find out is to click here.

What’s Your Favorite Elvis Costello Song?

Those were our top tracks from Elvis Costello, which was your favourite? Did we not mention any that should be on this list? Let others know by submitting a message below.

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