Mystery Dance

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Romeo was restless, he was ready to kill
He jumped out the window 'cause he couldn't sit still
Juliet was waiting with a safety net
He said "Don't bury me 'cause I'm not dead yet"

Chorus:
Why don't you tell me 'bout the mystery dance
I wanna know about the mystery dance
Why don't you show me 'cause I've tried and I've tried,
and I'm still mystified
I can't do it anymore and I'm not satisfied

Well I remember when the lights went out
And I was tryin' to make it look like it was never in doubt
She thought that I knew, and I thought that she knew,
So both of us were willing, but we didn't know how to do it

(chorus)

Well I was down under the covers in the middle of the night,
Tryin' to discover my left foot from my right
You can see those pictures in any magazine
But what's the use of looking when you don't know what they mean

(chorus)

I can't do it anymore and I'm not satisfied
(repeats)


Alternate lyrics

Alternate third verse from Honky Tonk demo:

Romeo was restless, he was ready to kill
He jumped out the window 'cause he couldn't sit still
Juliet was waiting with a safety net
He said "Don't bury me 'cause I'm not dead yet"

Chorus:
Why don't you tell me 'bout the mystery dance
I wanna know about the mystery dance
Why don't you show me 'cause I've tried and I've tried,
and I'm still mystified
I can't do it anymore and I'm not satisfied

Well I remember when the lights went out
And I was tryin' to make it look like it was never in doubt
She thought that I knew, and I thought that she knew,
So both of us were willing, but we didn't know how to do it

(chorus)

Well I was down under the covers in the middle of the night,
Tryin' to discover my left foot from my right
You can see those pictures in any magazine
But what's the use of looking when you don't know what they mean

(chorus)

I'm gonna walk right up to heaven dodging lightning & rods
I'm gonna have this very personal conversation with god
I said "You've got the information why don't you say so?"
He said "Well I've been around and I still don't know"

(chorus)

I can't do it anymore and I'm not satisfied (repeats)

Mystery Dance
Written byElvis Costello
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byNick Lowe
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar, piano, drumsticks
John McFee - guitar
Nick Lowe - bass, piano, drumsticks
Mickey Shine - drums
RecordedSeptember 17, 1976, Pathway Studios, London
ReleasedJuly 7, 1977
AlbumsMy Aim Is True, 1977
Viva England, 1982 (Spain)
Singles(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes, 1977
Mystery Dance, 1977 (Belgium)
CollectionsStiff Box Set No. 2, 1981
Girls Girls Girls, 1989 (CD/cassette only)
2½ Years, 1993
Singles, Volume 1, 2003
SoundtracksZero Effect, 1998
Various Artists collectionsHeroes & Cowards, 1978 (Italy)
No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion, 2003
PromosUK Elvis Costello (2006), 2006
VideosThe Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook, 2011
Length1:36
NoteMost releases have a fadeout ending, but others end with a sudden stop, including Girls Girls Girls, My Aim Is True (Rykodisc/Demon reissue), and 2½ Years.

First known performance:
May 27, 1977, London, England
Last known performance:
February 22, 2017, Stockholm, Sweden
     (697 known performances, 2 as a snippet)


Alternate versions

Mystery Dance (Honky Tonk Demo)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Recordedlate 1975-early 1976, Elvis' bedroom, London
ReleasedOctober 15, 1993
AlbumsMy Aim Is True (Rykodisc/Demon reissue), 1993
My Aim Is True (Rhino/Edsel reissue), 2001
Length2:13

Mystery Dance (Live 1977)
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedAugust 7, 1977, London, England
ReleasedOctober 14, 1977
AlbumsMy Aim Is True: Deluxe Edition, 2007
SinglesWatching The Detectives, 1977
CollectionsStiff Box Set No. 2, 1981
Singles, Volume 1, 2003
Length3:34

Mystery Dance (Live 1978 - Washington)
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedFebruary 28, 1978, Washington, DC
ReleasedMarch 4, 2008
AlbumsThis Year's Model: Deluxe Edition, 2008
Length3:57

Mystery Dance (Live 1978 - Toronto)
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedMarch 6, 1978, Toronto, ON, Canada
Released1978 (promo-only release)
October 15, 1993 (commercial release)
AlbumsLive At The El Mocambo, 1978
Collections2½ Years, 1993
Length2:04

Mystery Dance (Live 1978 - Los Angeles)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedJune 4, 1978, Los Angeles, CA
ReleasedOctober 28, 2002
AlbumsArmed Forces (Rhino/Edsel reissue), 2002
CollectionsRock And Roll Music, 2007
Length2:01

Mystery Dance (Live 2004)
Performed byElvis Costello & The Imposters
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Davey Faragher - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedSeptember 17, 2004, Hi-Tone Cafe, Memphis, TN
ReleasedApril 19, 2005
VideosClub Date: Live In Memphis, 2005
My Aim Is TrueMAIT UK initial album cover large.jpg

Single: (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes UK 7" single front sleeve.gif

Single: Watching The DetectivesWatching The Detectives UK 7" single front sleeve.jpg

Single: Mystery DanceMystery Dance Belgium 7" single front sleeve.jpg

Live At The El MocamboLive At The El Mocambo album cover.jpg

Girls Girls GirlsGGG album cover 300.jpg

2½ Years2½ Years album cover.jpg

Armed ForcesArmed Forces Rykodisc album cover.jpg

Singles, Volume 1Singles Volume 1 album cover.jpg

Club Date: Live In MemphisClub Date Live In Memphis dvd cover.jpg

The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning SongbookThe Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook album cover.jpg

Rock And Roll MusicRock And Roll Music album cover.jpg

This Year's ModelTYM album cover large.jpg

Covers

Australian Crawl performed live, 1980 1980 info
Beatsteaks (aka Die Roys) Cut Off The Top 2007 AMGAmazon.uk
Beatsteaks (aka Die Roys) performed live, 2007-11-21, Mannheim 2007 YouTube
The BelAirs performed live, 2004 2004 info needed
Bluesix Looking At The Cover 1998 linklink
Buddy Love Combo performed live info needed
Justine Bateman & the Mystery SatisfactionSoundtrack / Various Artists 1988 AMGWikipediaSoundtrackcollector
Chef Eddy performed live, 2011-02-19, The Wet Whistle, Jenkintown, PA 2011 YouTube
The Cold performed live, New Orleans, 1980 1980 Setlist.fm
Davy & the Crocketts performed live, Buffalo, NY, 1979 1979 link
Dyan Diamond In The Dark 1978 Allmusic
Dyan Diamond performed live, 1980-03-14, Los Angeles, CA 1980
Elastic No-No Band Every Elvis Has His Army: ENB Does EC 2005 website with download
Ronny Elliott and the Nationals performed live, Costello tribute, Tampa, 2001-08-17 2001 info
Firehose performed live, 1987-06-04, London & 1989-09-05, Manchester 1987 etree
Ellen Foley performed live, 1980-02-14, Amsterdam 1980 etreeinfo
Greg Goodwill performed live, Portland, ME 2001 link
The Guts Say Goodbye to Fun (EP) 2003 AMGAmazon
ICU Stringband performed live, Costello Tribute, 2017-03-16, Harlows, Sacremento CA 2017 YouTube
Infamous Scientists performed live, 1985-09-25, La Hacienda, Victoria, BC 1985 info
Nick Lowe performed live, 2010-10-01, RDSHP benefit, San Francisco, CA 2010 Richard de Lone Special Housing Project
Misspent Youth info needed
The Moondogs performed live, 1988-08-??, War Eagle Supper Club, Auburn, AL 1988 YouTube
The Nerve Coupe De Ville 2004 cdbaby
The Nighthawks performed live, 1978-01-26, WGTB-FM Studios, Washington, DC 1978
The Nighthawks Nighthawks Live reissue 1996 AMGAmazon
Takashi O'Hashi Project Neither Reality Nor Fiction 1991 linklink
Oliver's Army (Dallas) performed live, Dallas-area Costello tribute band 2003+ OliversArmyBand
The Pedestrians An Evening At Pearl's Hurricane 2001 AMGAmazon
Pop Rocks (Pat Dull) Pop Rocks Live (EP) 1988 info needed
The Radiators performed live, 1999, 2009 1999 archive.org -
The Rainmakers performed live, 1985, Fayetteville, AR 1985 archive.org
The Rave Band performed live 1978 link
The Rugburns performed live, 2005-12-31, Ramona, CA 2005
Joe Scarborough & The Roots performed live, 2009-08-05, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 2009 Hulu
Erich Sellheim home studio production, sung in German 2013 YouTube
The Shambles performed live, 2008-06-28, Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA 2008 info
Surrender Dorothy performed live, 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2008 archive.org
Patrik Tanner A Tribute To Elvis Costello 2004 AMGAmazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Three Bean Salad Shut Up And Eat Your Beans 2001 AMGAmazon
Bob Walkenhorst performed live, 2004-2007, Kansas City, MO 2004+ archive.orgarchive.orgarchive.org
The Walkin Talkin Toxins Apocalypse-Au-Go-Go 2005 AMGcdbaby
Kris Woolsey The Loser's Lounge Tribute to Elvis CostelloVarious Artists 2002 LosersLounge

Chords

F5  G5                                      
   Romeo was restless, he was ready to kill.
F5   G5                                                
 He jumped out the window 'cause he couldn't sit still.
F5 G5
  Juliet was waiting with a safety net.
F5        G5
He said, "Don't bury me, 'cause I'm not dead yet."

                                 C
Why don't you tell me 'bout the mystery dance.
                        G
I wanna know about the mystery dance.

Why don't you show me,
              D                            C
'Cause I've tried and I've tried and I'm still mystified.
                                          
I can't do it anymore, and I'm not satisfied.
e||------------------------------------------||
B||------------------------------------------||
G||------------------------------------------||
D||------5-5--5-5-5----3--------3---3----5---||
A||------------------------5-----------------||
E||------------------------------------------||

Well, I remember when the lights went out
And I was try'n' to make it look like it was never in doubt.
She thought that I knew, and I thought that she knew,
So both of us were willing, but we didn't know how to do it.

Well, I was down under the covers in the middle of the night,
Trying to discover my left foot from my right.
You can see those pictures in any magazine,
But what's the use of looking when you don't know what they mean?

Internal links

External links