References in Movies, TV, Books, etc.

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All My Children:

  • Aug 31/1996: While Julia and Anita were discussing their troubles in the Pine Valley coffeehouse, the title track from All This Useless Beauty could be heard playing quite clearly in the background. (micheleh@IPO.NET)
  • Oct 23/97: When Belinda and Mateo are talking in the bar, The Other End Of The Telescope is playing very loudly in the background.(, (

All Talk:

  • This chat show on BBC featuring Clive Anderson uses Let Them All Talk as its theme song.

Almost Blue:

  • This novel by Carlo Lucarelli about a serial killer in Bologna has a main character obsessed by Chet Baker's 'Almost Blue' (hence the title), but the quotation at the beginning of PART I of the novel is a verse from Almost Blue by EC. (

Almost Grown:

  • Several episodes of feature EC's music. One episode centers on the live version of Accidents Will Happen. The show's producer (David Chase) is a huge EC fan. (

The Arsenio Hall Show!

  • Mayim Bialik, star of the tv show 'Blossom' appeared on this show and mentioned that she is a big EC fan. When Arsenio asked why, she cited his excellent lyrics. Arsenio asked for an example and Mayim drew a blank, but promised she'd have one if she were ever on the show again. Several months later, she was a guest again and Arsenio reminded her of that promise. She recited the first verse of The Loved Ones. (

Backberner, ABC TV Australia, 2002-11-08:

  • When I Was Cruel #2 was played in the background of the piece by Kim Gingell in this comedy program.

Beastie Boys:

  • lyric from 'Do It' on 'Ill Communication' CD:
            'You see me coming down the block with the funky cuts
             you say Mike D and I say mic these nuts
             I've got Attractions like I'm Elvis Costello
             Adam Yauch grab the mic 'cause you know you're my mellow'
  • Paul's Boutique LP features a sample from Pump It Up

Beavis and Butthead:

  • Title of one episode is 'Radio Sweethearts'
  • Once, while watching a Proclaimers video, one of them asked if that was 'that Abbott Costello guy.'

Beverly Hills 90210:


  • In one episode, Blossom's father and his girlfriend went to see E.C. and the Brodsky Quartet. (

Brain Storm(Novel: Random House):

  • This novel by Richard Dooling features a character wearing an EC t-shirt.

Bright Lights, Big City:

  • This book by Jay McInerney contains the passage said at a party near the end, 'Elvis Costello says pump it up when you don't really need it.' (

The Butcher's Theater (novel by Jonathan Kellerman, p175):

  • One of the policeman characters gets in his car with a girl and pops in an Elvis Costello tape. The girl he's with is described as 'grooving to Costello, snapping her fingers and singing along with Girls Talk ' (


  • Reference to Costello and playing of various songs. (Terry Cane) (Please advise me if you know the songs and dates of the episodes.)

Clive Gregson:

  • Song '(Don't Step In) My Blue Suede Shoes' refers to Elvis as 'The Imposter'.

Conan O'Brien:

  • On the Feb. 5th, 1998 episode, the show's house band, played an instrumental version of Goon Squad for about fifteen seconds as Conan took his seat after delivering the opening monologue. (

The Coriolis Effect:

  • Dialogue from this movie goes 'The truth can't hurt you, It's just like the dark. It scares the shit out of you but that's about all...'.
  • One of the characters also wears an EC & Rude 5 shirt.


  • Segment on mutual funds concluded with the reporter saying 'So although you may feel you're getting more money throughout the year, at tax time you may have to pay it back.', while in the background the music to Pay It Back played. (

The Daily Show:

  • (Comedy Central) did a slam piece on Oliver North and the story was introduced with 'Oliver's Army is here to stay'. (micheleh@IPO.NET)
  • One episode started with host Craig Kilborn opening with the line,' I'm Craig Kilborn, and everyday I write the book.' (
  • One show included five questions on EC. The question posed to Dan Cortese was 'What Elvis Costello song made the top ten'? He answered 'Alison'. Kilborn said something like 'a lot of people say that. No, it was Veronica'. (

Dead at 21:


  • One of the categories on this game show was 'The Songs of Elvis Costello' - the contestant failed to identify a snippet from 'Taking My Life In Your Hands'

Delores Clairborne:

  • This Year's Model poster is featured prominently in the Delores' daughter's bedroom.

Dennis Miller:

  • In one of Dennis Miller's rants on crime and violence he notes that people with a liberal, softy view on criminal punishment will 'change their tune faster than Elvis Costello on Saturday Night Live' when they find themselves a victim. (

Dr. Katz Professional Therapist:

  • In one episode of this cartoon a patient describes his fantasy of creating a musical with the theme being frozen food. The patient wonders if he can get 'that guy, Elvis Costello' to contribute a song. Then, as he goes into an EC imitation, the cartoon of the patient changes to EC, who appears to sing, a lyric along the lines of 'What's gonna become of me, I lost the recipe' etc. (


  • On an episode entitled 'Calling Dr. Hathaway', at the very end while the nurses are meeting at a bar, Everyday I Write The Book can be heard on a jukebox. ( (

Eric Church:

  • Song 'Mr. Misunderstood' contains a reference to Elvis Costello.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial:

  • Older son sings Accidents Will Happen for a few seconds while opening the fridge door (EC still gets royalties for this apparently)
  • The older brother in 'E.T.' has an EC poster in his room.

Entertainment Weekly:

  • Dec 20/1996 issue featured a parodied 'Tickle Me Elvis Costello Doll', after the Sesame Street character.

Fashion Television:

  • Used a considerable chunk of Accidents Will Happen behind a short feature about Naomi Campbell taking a dive on a runway as the result of tripping in six-inch platforms. (tqc8542@IS.NYU.EDU)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High:

  • Mike Damone has Trust and Taking Liberties posters on his bedroom wall.
  • The lead singer in the band at the end bears a striking resemblance to EC circa 1978. (

Freddy's Dead (Nightmare on Elm Street 6):

  • D.P.A. MacManus is mentioned in the 'Special Thanks To' section of the credits.


  • In one episode where one of the characters tries to quit smoking, a bass-line sounding very similar to Jack of All Parades can be heard in one scene.


  • This movie features a cover of Almost Blue sung by the film's star, Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Godfather III:

  • features Miracle Man in scene in Italian villa with Andy Garcia and Sofia Coppola. (song listed in film’s credits but doesn't appear on soundtrack)

Grace of My Heart:

  • At one point, during a film shoot, Patsy Kensit's character tells the girl-group she's working with that 'This is supposed to be upbeat, not uptight. Get happy!' (young057@GOLD.TC.UMN.EDU)

Gyllene Tider:

  • Swedish pop band reference Elvis Costello and the Attractions in their song 'Ska vi älska så ska vi älska till Buddy Holly'.

High Fidelity novel by Nick Hornby 1995

  • It has a number of Elvis Costello references, including three of the characters debating over their top 5 Elvis Costello songs of all time.

Holby City:

  • BBC 1 medical drama used Shipbuilding on the episode screened on 2001-05-08.

Holly Oaks:

  • This UK TV Ch 4 series has a character named Declan Costello.

How Late It Was, How Late - Booker prize winning novel by James Kelman:

  • Main character is musing over his departed girlfriend while listening to Good Year For The Roses. He speculates that EC, just like the original songwriter, doesn't get it that, the fact that she's made the bed every day for three years is part of why she's gone.

In the Company of Men:

  • On the DVD release of Neil LaBute's 1997 film there is a commentary track where the director and other crew members are discussing the music they attempted to use for the film. Originally, they tried to use excerpts from The Juliet Letters, but for reasons not quite explained, this idea was scrapped. (

It's Alive III: Island of the Alive:

  • Michael Moriarity's character is in a prostitute's apartment, and she has a poster of Elvis Costello (circa 'Armed Forces') hanging up amongst posters of Elvis, Hendrix,Joplin, Jagger and Morrison. (


  • Lt. Williams says in 'Desert Son' episode: 'Accidents will happen...that's an old Elvis Costello tune...'

Jake's Progress:

  • In the final epiode Jamie mutters: 'Brutal youth' after an encounter with some smart-ass schoolkids.


  • A question read 'This Let's Make a Deal creator shares the same birthday with Sean Connery and Elvis Costello'. Answer: Who is Monty Hall?.


  • One of the characters asks if he can play some EC in the car.

Jonathan Coulton:

  • Song 'Kennesaw Mountain Landis' ends with a reference to Elvis Costello.

Just One of the Guys:

  • Two women in the movie mention that the lead actress 'dresses like Elvis Costello'

Law & Order:

  • US TV show, episode: "Tragedy on Rye". Opening sequence before the credits. Detectives survey crime scene and find a Rickenbacker Guitar (or bass I wasn't paying attention). Detective 1 says to the Detective 2: "It was good enough for Elvis" to which Detective 2 replies 'Now you're talking my language' to which Detective 1 says 'I'm talking about Elvis Costello' to which Detective 2 says 'Who's on First'.

Let Them All Talk:

Less Than Zero:

  • EC's 'Trust' poster appears prominently in this book (but there are no references to EC in the movie) The novel's author based the title on EC's song and a psychiatrist in the story has the Rolling Stone 'Elvis Costello Repents' cover hanging in his office. (

The Liar:

  • This Stephen Fry novel features a university don who is a rampant Costello-phile. (lovechunks@HOTMAIL.COM)

Mad TV:

  • One skit features college students scalping tickets; one character says 'I got to see some great concerts though! Elvis Costello came there right after King Of America came out!!'

Mad About You:

The Marshall Chronicles:

  • This short-lived 1990 sitcom opened its first episode with the main character being woken up by Miracle Man on his clock radio. (

Melrose Place:

  • Alison Parker's ex-boyfriend sings a horrendous version of Alison in one episode.

Minimum Wage:

  • In Bob Fingerman's TPB 'Minimum Wage', a shot of the protagonist's apartment room shows EC in 3 consecutive panels (pp.35-36). Two are just random drawings/photos of the man (with 'EC' next to one of them), and the other is a poster of the camera shot from This Year's Model. Also, on the sketchbook in the back, another character is holding yet another EC album. (yarlas@PSYCH.UCLA.EDU)

Mystery Date:

  • main character (Nathan Hawke) has a My Aim Is True poster in his room.


  • Crow & Gypsy the wise-cracking robots frequently make Elvis references (some of them rather obscure - apparently Jim Mallon (voice of Gypsy) is a big Elvis fan)

The Newz:

  • Featured a comedy skit entitled 'The Abbott and Costello Show', in which the actors impersonating Bud Abbott and *Elvis* Costello.

Night Stand With Dick Dietrick:

  • Smart-ass talk show host Dick Dietrick responds to his guest confusion over a characters name (a la 'Whose on First) by saying 'Here we go with another Elvis and Costello routine.' (Dick is always mangling peoples names and facts on the show) (

Out of the Blue (BBC):

  • One of the leading actors was drunk in a pub and was softly heard saying the lyrics from Deep Dark Truthful Mirror 'A butterfly drinks a turtle`s tear....Jesus wept, he felt abandoned'.

Party of Five:

  • The girlfriend of one of the main characters does a version of (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes with her band (and sings the wrong lyric - 'Since I went and got arrested') (
  • One of Julia's friends in a bar sings Alison in an early episode. (

Phil Lynott:

  • Song 'Talk in `79' contains a reference to Elvis Costello.

The Pogues:

  • Their song 'Fiesta' includes the lyric 'y Costello, el rey de America'

The Pooh Sticks:

  • Their CD 'Million Seller' has lead singer Hue flying through the air on EC's gold 45 Accidents Will Happen single. (CPINHEY@DHC.DOFASCO.CA)

The Rockford Files:

  • EC mentioned in one episode as an example of modern culture.

Rumble in the Bronx:

  • A poster ad for the 2½ Years boxed set appears in the background of a scene in this Jackie Chan movie, where some men are shot in their car. (

Sabrina, Teenage Witch ((ABC):

  • On one episode they were copying the 'Pop-ups' usually seen on VH1. At one point, Sabrina is dropping textbooks from a tower, trying to knock out a troll. On her last try, she says: 'My Aim is True'. The pop-up reads: 'My Aim is True' was Elvis Costello's first album.

The Sandman:

  • This comic book series frequently contains EC refs. Issue #1 is titled Sleep Of The Just and issue #37 is titled 'I woke up and one of us was crying' (lyric from I Want You) (
  • A woman is talking to Death, telling her about an wonderful evening she'd had taking a walk with her girlfriend a long time ago. The crystal moment of the evening was when she, the woman, started humming 'this old Elvis Costello song, Hoover Factory. She didn't think anyone else in the world knew it, but her girlfriend started humming it along with her. (andy@WIRED.COM)

Sandman Mystery Theatre:

  • In an issue of this DC comic book from about a year and a half ago, the editor writes: 'As Elvis Costello once said, accidents will happen' in response to a reader's notification of some kind of error. (


  • High Fidelity is played during the final moment of the first episode, the clip - "high fidelity, can you hear me, can you hear me" - is playing over a shot of a bugged table lamp. (Jennifer Senft)
  • High Fidelity, The second episode played the 1st chorus, the bridge, the 2nd verse, and the second chorus but ended before the fade. This was over the closing credits. (Steve Horan)
  • High Fidelity is played over the end credits of Season 3, Episode 1, after the feds have planted a listening device in Tony's basement.
  • Complicated Shadows is played in Season 1, Episode 4 and in Episode 3 in the "scenes from next week". (Peter Kneute)


  • Justine Bateman does a version of Mystery Dance on the soundtrack.

Saturday Night Live:

  • (1994) Michael McKean (Spinal Tap) does Elvis Costello impersonation in one skit .
  • Colin Quinn impersonates EC in a 'Set Our Nanny Free' sketch -- a send-up of those 'We are the World' type sessions, in this case with a bunch of British celebrities recording a song in support of the British nanny Louise Woodward. It was on the 11/8/97 Jon Lovitz/Jane's Addiction episode.
  • Also, Colin Quinn has had a recurring sketch called 'Colin Quinn Explains the New York Times' which plays a snippet of Waiting For The End Of The World as it comes on. (


  • 'Elvis and Costello' skit features players impersonating Elvis Presley and Lou Costello.

Seymour the Fractal Cat:

A Short Series of Discrete Problems by Steven Jacobi (published by Secker & Warburg in January 1997)

  • A passage from this book reads:
'Armitage was busy playing with the cassette deck on the other side of the room . 
'I'm not sure I like this,' she said. 'Do you have anything less monotonous? Some words, maybe?' 
Wislon gathered himself together, his face a riot of disgrace. He tugged his hair back into some kind of shape and ambled over, though not all the way.
'Elvis Costello?' 'Mmmm,' she almost replied. 'And I'll give you a hand with the washing-up. Then I really must be going. (

Shudder to Think:

  • Their enhanced CD '50,000 Yeras BC' features singer Craig doing an EC impersonation while demo`ing a song he wrote for EC. (


Singled Out (MTV):

  • One one episode a girl was told to choose the body type of her potential date as either being 'Elvis Costello or Lou Costello.'


  • EC references can be found occasionally in this comic strip.
  • One comic Spiderman (SM) is at the mercy of the Purpleman who has the ability to make anyone do anything he says through some sort of mental capability. Purpleman tells SM to hang from a lamp post and recite from Hamlet. SM replies that he doesn't know any Shakespeare, how about Oliver's Army and then proceeds to hang from a lamp post and recite EC lyrics.
  • In the January, 1976 comic book 'Superman Vs. Spider-Man', Spidey's alter-ego Peter Parker flubs his chance at a date with a young beauty when he can't scrape the scratch together for tickets to an EC & the Attractions concert. (
  • Peter Parker had what appeared to be a highly-stylized version of the Trust poster up on the wall of his low-rent apartment for years and years during the early-eighties.

Square Pegs:

  • Dialogue on one episode mentions EC: 'I mean look at Elvis Costello (reply): Do I have to?' (

Star Cops (BBC TV):

  • In one episode a ship returns to Earth's environs with all the crew dead. When one of the investigators plays a 'music tile' belonging to one of the dead crew I'm Not Angry blares out.

Steven Banks Show:

  • Spike poster on wall of main character's apartment.
  • woman on show goes to a concert where EC jams with Dylan, Van Morrison, Harrison and others.

The Story of My Life (by Jay McInereny):

  • There are several references to EC in this novel.
  • The main character's name is Alison
  • The group sings part of Alison to her. She replies with some lines from Party Girl.
  • Also, one the women shows up with 'a member of the EC band' (

Strip Jack authored by Ian Rankin. Published by St. Martin's Press, 1994. ISBN 0312105533:

  • This mystery novel features a character named Aloysius Costello, a university professor.


  • In one episode Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman), is listening to a record player on headphones while he's fixing a cab. Louie DePalma (Danny DeVito) goes to the record player and drags the needle. Causing Latka to shout 'Hey! You just wasted Elvis Costello!' After the incident Latka says, "tough to get happy after that one," no doubt referring to the album GH!!.

That '70s Show :

  • On the 21/06/99 episode of this FOX tv show, during the scene in which Hyde and his punk rocker girlfriend are breaking up, a long excerpt from Alison is played. (

Thief of Hearts:

  • In this 1984 American movie ', Steven Bauer plays a professional burglar who romances a bored housewife (Barbara Williams) after robbing her house and reading her diaries.
  • In one scene, he tells her that he imagines that she listens to the radio station 'that plays Elvis Costello and old First Edition.' (


The Tracey Ullman Show:

  • In one skit she plays a disk jockey and sings a cover version of Radio, Radio
  • On another episode, a skit featured Tracey as a high school student playing volleyball in a gym class led by a sadistic teacher. The class revolts, and Tracey leads the other young women in a rousing rendition of (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?. (

Trainspotting novel by Irvine Welsh (1993):

  • 'Johnny waltzed over tae Alison and serenaded her. --Hey-ey good-lookin, whaaat-cha got cookin...He turned tae Raymie, whae wis steadfastly keepin shoatie at the windae. Raymie could detect a labdick in a crowded street the wey that sharks can sense a few drops of blood in an ocean. -- Pit some sounds oan Raymie. Ah'm seek ay that new Elvis Costello, bit ah cannae stoap playin the cunt. Fuckin magic man, ah'm telling ye.' (Trainspotting, p.7)


  • Their Spring 1998 '100 Greatest Artists of Rock 'n' Roll' special puts EC at a respectable #38. (

Vicar Of Dibley:

  • The complete My Funny Valentine is played in the episode that Hugo proposes to Alice. Short clips of Alice are played which fit in very well with the lyrics.


  • This comic book included the lyrics to The Comedians as a postscript to the second chapter entitled 'Absent Friends'. One of the main characters in the series is called 'The Comedian' (

White Man's Grave (by Richard Dooling, p.205):

  • 'She's nice to look at, but she won't do nothing for you, no matter how hard you breathe on her. She's here for the Third World Experience. She's busy discovering a village that never existed until she arrived to experience it and give it deep meaning. She's into multiculturalism and hates dead white males, because they have been enslaving and debasing women for centuries. .... She'd rather listen to some spasm band out in the bush banging on rusty saws than to Mozart or Elvis Costello.' (

Whose Line is it Anyway:

  • Comedian Greg Proops sang out the credits in an Elvis Costello style one episode. Also does a Elvis-esque version of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.
  • Clive Anderson once introduced Greg Proops as 'The thinking man's Elvis Costello'

Wise Guy:

  • In one episode the main character is talking to a musician and trying to sell him on a shady music producer and says, 'You remember what Sam Phillips did for Elvis Presley? And what Nick Lowe did for Elvis Costello?' (


  • A Trust poster can be seen on the wall of the radio studio in some episodes

World Series Baseball Final, 2002:


  • In this comic book, The Beast is introduced to EC by his girlfriend, and for several issues makes references to how EC changed his life. (

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