Poor Napoleon

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I can't lie on this bed anymore, it burns my skin
You can take the truthful things you've said to me
And fit them on the head of a pin

Poor Napoleon

You always look so disappointed when I take my stockings off
Don't you know the facts of life, boy
Don't you know what these things cost
She was selling stolen kisses to traveling salesmen and minstrel singers
You put a penny in the slot
She called you her Magic Fingers

Poor Napoleon

I bet she isn't all that's advertised
I bet that isn't all she fakes
Just like that place where they take your spine
And turn it into soapflakes

Bare wires from the socket to the bed where you embrace that girl
Did you ever think there's far too many people in the world?
One day they'll probably make a movie out of all of this
There won't even have to be a murder just a slow dissolving kiss

Poor Napoleon

So good night, little school boy, you'd better learn some self control
Did you mess up your hairstyle, pour scorn in your begging bowl

Poor Napoleon

Poor Napoleon
Written byDeclan MacManus
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
Produced byNick Lowe with Colin Fairley
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, guitar, bass, tambourine
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
Cait O'Riordan - vocals
RecordedMarch-May 1986, Olympic Studios, London
ReleasedSeptember 15, 1986
AlbumsBlood & Chocolate, 1986
CollectionsGirls Girls Girls (cassette), 1989
PromosSelections From This Year's Model - Blood & Chocolate - Brutal Youth, 2002
Length3:20

First known performance:
October 5, 1986, Los Angeles, CA
Last known performance:
2017
     (36 known performances)


Alternate versions

Poor Napoleon (Live 1995)
Performed byElvis Costello & Bill Frisell
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal
Bill Frisell - guitar
RecordedJune 25, 1995, London, England
ReleasedAugust 14, 1995
AlbumsDeep Dead Blue, 1995
Length4:05
Blood & ChocolateBAC album cover large.jpg

Girls Girls GirlsGGG album cover 300.jpg

Deep Dead BlueDeep Dead Blue album cover.jpg

Covers

Candypants performed live, 2003-03-27, Knitting Factory tribute, Los Angeles 2003 info
Moxy Früvous performed live, 1998-10-31, Ann Arbor, 1999-06-16, Northampton 1998 Archive.orgArchive.org

Chords

C C/B C C/B 

C                           Em/B              Gm/Bb 
I can't lie on this bed anymore it burns my skin 
F/A                                     Fm/Ab 
You can take the truthful things you've said to me 
     D/F#                      F  G 
And fit them on the head of a pin 
      C       F Dm G 
Poor Napoleon 

    C                    Em/B   Gm/Bb 
You always look so disappointed when I take my stockings off 
F/A                          Fm/Ab 
Don't you know the facts of life boy 
D/F#                              F 
Don't you know what these things cost? 
C                       Em/B       Gm/Bb 
She was selling stolen kisses to travelling salesmen and minstrel singers 
F/A             Fm/Ab 
You put a penny in the slot 
D/F#                F             G 
She called you her magic fingers 

      C       F Dm G
Poor Napoleon 
      C       F Dm G
Poor Napoleon 

  E                        E/G# 
I bet she isn't all that's advertised 
  Am                      C 
I bet that isn't all she fakes 
D                                Eb 
Just like that place where they take your spine 
     F                 Eb D
And turn it into soapfla---akes 

C C/B  C C/B
C C/B  C C/B

C                    Em/B          Gm/Bb 
Bare wires from the socket to the bed where you embraced that girl 
F/A            Fm/Ab                D/F#       F 
Did you ever think there's far too many people in the world? 
C                         Em/B        Gm/Bb 
One day they'll probably make a movie out of all of this 
F/A               Fm/Ab        D/F#           F                 G 
There won't even have to be a murder just a slow dissolving kiss 

      C       F Dm G 
Poor Napoleon

    C                   F              Dm                         G                          
So good night little schoolboy, you'd better learn some self control
 C                     F         Dm             G           C F Dm  G
Did you mess up your hairstyle, pour scorn in your begging bo---owl

      C    
Poor Napoleon

Internal links

External links