Have you ever seen a painting in a museum and thought to yourself, "Pfft! I could do that!" Just that kinda of reaction might have been the impetus for Elvis Costello's career!
It was 1977 and Elvis Costello couldn't sleep. In a fit of insomniac frustration, after trying everything from reading to watching TV, he decided to put on his headphones and listen to a new band from London that everyone was talking about -- The Clash. They had just released their self-titled debut and were poster boys for the burgeoning punk scene
Costello put on the first song: "Janie Jones." Hated it.
Second song: "Remote Control." Hated it.
Third song: "I'm So Bored With The USA." Elvis thought to himself, "yeah, I'm bored too! This is garbage!"
But instead of taking the record off the turntable and smashing it against the wall, he kept listening. He turned the record over again... and again. For some inexplicable reason, he kept listening. The record had a weird hold on him. Was it a symptom of his sleep-deprived dementia, or was there something to this record afterall?
When the sun came up the next morning, after listening ALL NIGHT Elvis Costello was a changed man and The Clash's newest fan. He felt so inspired by the music and the spirit, that he wrote a song of his own. There was something exciting going on in the London music scene and Costello decided that morning after his marathon listening session that he wanted in.
The song he wrote touched on some of the central themes of punk: boredom and rejection. Simply stated, it's about a lover who would rather watch TV.
So here's the sound of a rock and roll hall of famer being born in a fit of restlessness. This is "Watching The Detectives by Elvis Costello" on CBC Music.
Here are some other great editions of Rear-View Mirror:
Jimmy Cliff/The Harder They Come
The Verve/Bittersweet Symphony
Roberta Flack/Killing Me Softly with his Song
R.E.M./Radio Free Europe
Led Zeppelin/Ramble On
Bob Dylan/Visions of Johanna
Glen Campbell/Wichita Lineman
The Velvet Underground/Sweet Jane
Jefferson Airplane/White Rabbit
James Brown/Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
Rolling Stones/Beast of Burden
John Cougar Mellencamp/Pink Houses
on Apr 17, 2012