New Amsterdam

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You're sending me tulips mistaken for lilies
You give me your lip after punching me silly
You turned my head till it rolled down the brain drain
If I had any sense now I wouldn't want it back again

New Amsterdam it's become much too much
Till I have the possession of everything she touches
Till I step on the brake to get out of her clutches
Till I speak double Dutch to a real double duchess

Down on the mainspring, listen to the tick tock
Clock all the faces that move in on your block
Twice shy and dog tired because you've been bitten
Everything you say now sounds like it was ghost-written


Back in London they'll take you to heart after a little while
Though I look right at home I still feel like an exile

Somehow I found myself down at the dockside
Thinking of the old days of Liverpool and Rotherhithe
The transparent people who live on the other side
Living a life that is almost like suicide


New Amsterdam
Written byElvis Costello
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, all instruments
Recorded1979, Archipelago Studios, London
ReleasedFebruary 1980
AlbumsGet Happy!!, 1980
SinglesNew Amsterdam, 1980
London's Brilliant Parade, 1994
CollectionsThe Man (The Best Of Elvis Costello), 1985
Girls Girls Girls, 1989
The Very Best Of Elvis Costello & The Attractions, 1994
The Very Best Of Elvis Costello, 1999
Singles, Volume 2, 2003
Various Artists collectionsWas Het Nu 70 Of 80? Vol. 3, 1996
Good Vibes, 2003
Timeless, 2004
Alternative Acoustic, 2006
Senses Working Overtime, 2006
Soft Rock Ballads, 2006
PromosGet Happy!! (Promo Album), 1980
Spectrum USA - New Horizons In Music (Vol. 12, Programs 1-13), 1980
UK Elvis Costello (2006), 2006
Visa Sampler, 2007
VideosThe Right Spectacle: The Very Best Of Elvis Costello - The Videos, 2005

First known performance:
April 16, 1980, Maastricht, Netherlands
Last known performance:
     (268 known performances)

“Recorded in a fifteen quid-an-hour demo studio (backwhenfifteenpoundswasalotofmoneyIcantellyou). As you might guess I didn't use a metronome but I did employ the owner's exotic equipment; vibes! a fretless bass! a very nasty synth! even, God forbid, DRUMS!!! The first in an occasional series: A bewildered lad, alone in New York, except for his rhyming dictionary.” Girls Girls Girls liner notes, 1989.

Alternate versions

New Amsterdam (Alternate Version)
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
Recorded1980, Olympic Studios, London
AlbumsGet Happy!! (Rhino/Edsel reissue), 2003
PromosPunch The Clock, Trust & Get Happy!! Sampler, 2003
Get Happy!!GH album cover large.jpg

New Amsterdam singleNew Amsterdam UK 7" EP front sleeve.jpg

The Man (The Best Of Elvis Costello)TMBOEC album cover 170.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

London's Brilliant Parade singleLondon's Brilliant Parade (Part 2) UK CD single.jpg

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

Good VibesGood Vibes album cover.jpg

Singles, Volume 2Singles Volume 2 album cover.jpg

The Right Spectacle: The Very Best Of Elvis Costello - The VideosTRS dvd cover.jpg

Visa SamplerVisa Sampler front.jpg


Tasmin Archer Shipbuilding  (EP) 1994 AllmusicAmazon
Lou Dalgleish performed live info needed
Dimit Rock 'N' Lull, Vol. 2 1992 Allmusicinfo
Robbie Fulks performed live, 2015-03-30, The Hideout, Chicago 2015 YouTube
Steve Hogarth Live Spirit, Live Body 2002 infoinfo
Barb Jungr Chanson: The Space In Between 2000 AllmusicAmazon
Oliver's Army (Dallas) performed live, Dallas-area Costello tribute band 2003- OliversArmyBand
Emma Pollock Red Orange Green  digital single 2010
Erich Sellheim home studio production, sung in German 2014 YouTube
Solipsistics performed live, 2003-03-27, Knitting Factory tribute, Los Angeles 2003 infoMySpace

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External links