Clown Strike

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She'll fix you with an iron cross
And cover you up with petals
And hang you up with some amber beads
And four or five precious metals
And in that black flamingo chair you'll sit among her trophies
And pray to be abandoned 'til you don't know what hope is

But there's one thing
That I had to keep inside because I was shaking
Why don't you get some pride
There was a clown strike
And the clowns threw down their tools
But you don't have to play so hard
And I'm nobody's fool
You don't have to go so far
'Cause I love you as you are

The big top is deserted now and the circus girl rehearses
She knows how to turn their heads and not fall between two horses
But all that seems a simple step, if only I were able
To love you like I want to do
And not by some times table

(Repeat Chorus)

And it's pandemonium
For the humble and the mighty
You don't have to tumble for me
Even a clown knows when to strike

Tell me what you want of me
Or are you terrified of failure
Put on a superstitious face behind all this paraphernalia
We're not living in a masquerade where you only have three wishes
It isn't easy to see in a lifetime of mistaken kisses

(Repeat Chorus)

And it's pandemonium
For the humble and the mighty
You don't have to tumble for me
Even a clown knows when to strike

Clown Strike
Written byDeclan MacManus
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byMitchell Froom & Elvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, guitar
Pete Thomas - drums
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Nick Lowe - bass
Recorded1993, Olympic Studios, London
ReleasedMarch 8, 1994
AlbumsBrutal Youth, 1994
PromosWords And Music, 1994
Clown Strike, 1994

First known performance:
May 5, 1994, Seattle, WA
Last known performance:
October 18, 2016, Atlanta, GA
     (268 known performances)

Alternate versions

Clown Strike (Bonaparte Rooms Version)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Pete Thomas - drums
Nick Lowe - bass
Recorded1993, Pete Thomas' basement (The Bonaparte Rooms)
ReleasedFebruary 19, 2002
AlbumsBrutal Youth (Rhino reissue), 2002

Clown Strike (Live 2006)
Performed byElvis Costello & Allen Toussaint
featuring The Imposters, Anthony "AB" Brown & The Crescent City Horns
Horn arrangementAllen Toussaint
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Allen Toussaint - piano
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Davey Faragher - bass, backing vocal
Pete Thomas - drums
Anthony "AB" Brown - guitar
Amadee Castenell - saxophone
Brian "Breeze" Cayolle - saxophone
Joe "Foxx" Smith - trumpet
Sam "Big Sam" Williams - trombone
RecordedJuly 3, 2006, Montreal, QC, Canada
ReleasedDecember 5, 2006
VideosHot As A Pistol, Keen As A Blade, 2006
Brutal YouthBY album cover large.jpg

Hot As A Pistol, Keen As A BladeHot As A Pistol Keen As A Blade DVD cover.jpg


no known covers

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