ElvisCostello.info, March 11, 2003

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Elvis Costello

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction acceptance speech

Elvis Costello

I just, er, I have to thank Sir Elton for that, er, very eloquent, and very complimentary, and deeply profane speech. [audience laughter]

I'd erm, I just really — he's, he's, he's, he's completely f- -- I'll go along the way he started, he's completely fucked it up for me now because he's just made a list of all the people I was gonna mention.

But er, he did make a mention of me Ma and Pa, and er, I — I do wanna thank them for teaching me to listen and making me curious. I also wanna thank Jill Taylor and Lou Difford for their care and advice and friendship. And all the people at my office, By Eleven. I particularly wanna thank Paddy Callaghan, Robbie McLeod, and Milo Lewis, and everybody in our crew over the years, everybody that's been in our crew that's actually got us to the gigs and sometimes propped us up at the microphones long enough to play a set. [audience laughter]

We wanna send out a little personal note, just wanna send out, er, lots of love to Flaky and Viv who are not here tonight. But, er, I wanna thank my agent Marsha Vlasic, my agent of twenty-five years for her love and dedication and tenacity which allowed us to keep on playing the music, er, after the record company had lost interest, which was fairly regularly. [audience laughter]

Er, and a gentleman who's gonna be on a little bit later, I wanna thank Mo, Lenny, and Steven, er, for letting me make some bold records in the last days before the corporate raiders came and fucked up the record industry completely, you know. [audience applauds]

Finally I'd like to, er, thank Chris Roberts at Universal Classics, because, er, if it wasn't for his ideas I probably wouldn't be making records at all right now.

Obviously there are the producers that we were with. Elton mentioned Nick Lowe, the first man that I ever knew that was in a band. [audience cheers]

And I have absolutely no idea why Nick is not standing up here with us, er, picking up one of these. He definitely should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. [audience applauds]

There are some people without whose example I wouldn't be writing or singing. And, er, if you'll bear with me just a second, feel free to cheer if you hear any names you love. Erm, but these are the people mean a lot to me:

  • Franz Schubert
  • Lennon and McCartney
  • Rodgers and Hart
  • Strummer and Jones
  • Difford and Tilbrook
  • Holland–Dozier–Holland
  • Randy Newman
  • Brian Wilson
  • Dusty Springfield
  • Gram Parsons
  • Georgie Fame
  • Curtis Mayfield
  • Dan Penn
  • Charles Mingus
  • Tom Waits
  • Frank Sinatra
  • George Jones
  • David Ackles
  • Sonny Boy Williamson
  • Van Morrison
  • Rick Danko

And most of all, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell [audience cheers].

Er, obviously you can't imagine when you're listening to the radio, and my Dad was bringing home stacks of records when I was nine years old, that one day I'd be writing songs with Paul McCartney or Burt Bacharach. But the other people that he mentioned that probably lie outside lot of people's definition of rock and roll, Anne Sofie von Otter, the Brodsky Quartet, Roy Nathanson, the Fairfield Four, Chet Baker, er, these people they taught me a tremendous amount, but it's the musicians that I've worked with, and I've had the real great pleasure and privilege to work with a number of bands that are not the Attractions, the Confederates, the Rude 5, and the Imposters.

But the band that really deserves the credit for starting the whole thing going, er, are two members of the Imposters who are also members of the Attractions: Pete Thomas, who I [audience cheers], who I actually believe is the greatest rock drummer in the world, and it was with the money of a major record company that we managed to get him back from California to play on my second album, so, er, we've been swindling the business all this time and they still haven't found out.

Er, Steve Nieve [audience cheers], Steve Nieve was, I think, nineteen years old when we kidnapped him from the Royal Academy, er, and, er, I don't know whether he was destined for the concert platform playing classical music, but he's brought every kind of artistry, er, to, er, the songs I've written, er, whether it be rock and roll or ballads, and we've also toured together and it's a tremendous joy to play with him anytime. And he's a wonderful composer in his own right.

And last of all, er, Bruce, who played the great bass lines on all the records of the Attractions [audience applauds]. It's no big secret that we haven't always got along, er, but, er, I've gotta say that seeing, er, Luce and Joe Strummer's daughters down there makes me realize that, erm, this is not the place for airing my petty grievances and things that are obscure to all of you. Er, really wanna say I miss Joe very much and he was a great, great man. [audience applauds]

Ladies and gentlemen, the best band in the world, the Attractions. [audience cheers]

Tags: Rock & Roll Hall of FameThe AttractionsPete ThomasSteve NieveBruce ThomasNick LoweElton JohnJill TaylorLou DiffordBy ElevenPaddy CallaghanRobbie McLeodMilo LewisMarsha VlasicChris RobertsUniversal ClassicsFranz SchubertLennon and McCartneyRodgers and HartStrummer and JonesDifford and TilbrookRandy NewmanHolland–Dozier–HollandBrian WilsonDusty SpringfieldGram ParsonsGeorgie FameCurtis MayfieldDan PennCharles MingusTom WaitsFrank SinatraGeorge JonesDavid AcklesSonny Boy WilliamsonVan MorrisonRick DankoBob DylanJoni MitchellBurt BacharachAnne Sofie von OtterThe Brodsky QuartetRoy NathansonThe Fairfield FourChet BakerThe ConfederatesThe Rude 5The Imposters

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ElvisCostello.info, March 11, 2003

Transcript of EC's acceptance speech upon induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, Monday, March 10, 2003, Waldorf-Astoria, New York.


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