August 24, 2005


Little Birds Say The Darnedest Things

Today Show

Elvis Costello explains why he changed the lyrics of "The Scarlet Tide" for his Today Show performance with Emmylou Harris. Click the above pic to watch the entire song in case you missed it the first time I posted it.
At 2am on the 21st July, I woke up and re-wrote a few lines of “The Scarlet Tide” to reflect the frustration that I sense with the disastrous and dishonest prosecution of a war, an action that might have been thought treasonous in saner times.

The original text adapted an arcane idiom:

“I thought I heard a black bell toll

A little bird did sing;

‘Man has no choice when he wants everything’”

Little birds are always telling you something in old folk songs.

At 5.15am, we were on stage at the “Today” show rehearsing the new lyrics, the repeated verse of which reads:

“I thought I heard a black bell toll upon the highest dome

Admit you lied

And bring the boys back home”

You can never be certain of whether people will take things in at one hearing but there seemed to be a discernibly positive reaction at Rockerfeller Plaza.
This is why I have loved Elvis Costello for almost three decades. Whether you agree with him or not, at least he has the guts to speak his mind.

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