Brilliant Mistake

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He thought he was the King of America
Where they pour Coca Cola just like vintage wine
Now I try hard not to become hysterical
But I'm not sure if I am laughing or crying
I wish that I could push a button
And talk in the past and not the present tense
And watch this hurtin' feeling disappear
Like it was common sense
It was a fine idea at the time
Now it's a brilliant mistake

She said that she was working for the ABC News
It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use
Her perfume was unspeakable
It lingered in the air
Like her artificial laughter
Her mementos of affairs
"Oh" I said "I see you know him"
"Isn't that very fortunate for you"
And she showed me his calling card
He came third or fourth and there were more than one or two
He was a fine idea at the time
Now he's a brilliant mistake

He thought he was the King of America
But it was just a boulevard of broken dreams
A trick they do with mirrors and with chemicals
The words of love in whispers
And the axe of love in screams
I wish that I could push a button
And talk in the past and not the present tense
And watch this lovin' feeling disappear
Like it was common sense
I was a fine idea at the time
Now I'm a brilliant mistake

Brilliant Mistake
Written byDeclan MacManus
Performed byThe Costello Show
Produced byJ. Henry (T-Bone) Burnett & Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus with Larry Kalman Hirsch
MusiciansThe Little Hands Of Concrete - vocals, acoustic guitar
Mickey Curry - brushes & drums
Jerry Scheff - string bass
T-Bone Wolk - electric guitar, piano accordion
Mitchell Froom - Hammond organ, harpsichord
RecordedAugust-September 1985, Ocean Way and/or Sunset Sound and/or Sound Factory, Los Angeles
ReleasedFebruary 21, 1986
AlbumsKing Of America, 1986
SinglesBrilliant Mistake, 2005
CollectionsGirls Girls Girls, 1989
The Very Best Of Elvis Costello & The Attractions, 1994
The Very Best Of Elvis Costello, 1999
The Best Of Elvis Costello The First 10 Years, 2007
SoundtracksBlackpool, 2004
PromosSelections From King Of America, 1995
The Rykodisc/Hannibal/Gramavision Fall '95 Mixer, 1995
UK Elvis Costello, 2002
Length3:45

First known performance:
March 9, 1985, London, England
Last known performance:
April 29, 2017, Washington, DC
     (352 known performances)


King Of America1986 King Of America Album.jpg

Girls Girls GirlsGGG album cover 300.jpg

The Very Best Of Elvis Costello & The Attractions, 1994The Very Best Of Elvis Costello And The Attractions album cover.jpg

The Very Best Of Elvis Costello, 1999The Very Best Of Elvis Costello (2CD) album cover.jpg

BlackpoolBlackpool album cover.jpg

Single: Brilliant MistakeBms.jpg

The Best Of Elvis Costello The First 10 YearsThe Best Of Elvis Costello The First 10 Years album cover.jpg

Covers

Stuart Davis Stuart Davis: Davis Does Elvis  (internet-only release) 2004 websiteinfo
Mitch Elrod performed live, 2002-08-10, Brilliant Mistakes Tribute, Albany, NY 2002 info
Rhett Miller performed live in studio, 2002-12-09, KEXP, Seattle 2002 info needed
Rhett Miller The Interpreter: Live at Largo 2011 AllmusicAmazon
Mr Blotto performed live, 2004-08-14, Retro on Roscoe, Chicago 2004 Archive.orgmp3
Mr Blotto performed live, 2012-06-28, Reggie's, Chicago 2012 Archive.orgmp3
The Naked Trucker  with Pete Thomas performed live, 2003-03-27, Knitting Factory tribute, Los Angeles 2003 info
Nevermore cassette release (Gene Burnett, Shona Curley, Chris Bingham, Chris Hanzsek) 1992 info needed
Oliver's Army (Dallas) performed live, Dallas-area Costello tribute band 2003- OliversArmyBand
Swan Arcade Diving For Pearls 1986 AllmusicAmazon.uk
Yoko Moment performed live, 2003-11-21, Tonic Ball 2, Indianapolis 2003 info needed

Chords

-------------
-------------
-------------
-------------
---3---------
------3--0---

G  F  G  F  G  F  G  F

   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
  C
I wish that I could push a button
                                F        C
And talk in the past and not the present tense

And watch this hurtin' feeling disappear
            F      C    Em
Like it was common sense
G         F     G          F
 It was a fine idea at the time
G           Em  C D G C
 Now it's a brilliant mistake

G, C, G, C, Em, Am, G, C


She said that she was working for the ABC News
It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use
Her perfume was unspeakable
It lingered in the air
Like her artificial laughter
Her mementos of affairs
"Oh" I said "I see you know him"
"Isn't that very fortunate for you"
And she showed me his calling card
He came third or fourth and there were more than one or two
He was a fine idea at the time
Now he's a brilliant mistake

He thought he was the King of America
But it was just a boulevard of broken dreams
A trick they do with mirrors and with chemicals
The words of love in whispers
And the axe of love in screams
I wish that I could push a button
And talk in the past and not the present tense
And watch this lovin' feeling disappear
Like it was common sense
I was a fine idea at the time
Now I'm a brilliant mistake

Internal links

External links