Elvis Costello has become the first major British artist to write a song about the Falkland Islands war. Entitled "Shipbuilding," the tune is a decidedly unjingoistic narrative about how the war brought jobs to an economically depressed town, thus raising the standard of living during a time of horror and death. Cowritten by producer Clive Langer, the song has been recorded by former Soft Machine leader Robert Wyatt.
Meanwhile, Elvis' newest single in the U.K. — a cover of Smokey Robinson's From Head to Toe" — is causing some controversy. A free copy of Costello's Get Happy LP is being given to purchasers of the 45 in some top record shops, a practice that sparked charges from the British Phonographic Industry that Costello's Anglo label, Warner Bros., was trying to artificially raise the chart position of the single with the giveaway.
On yet another front, as soon as Elvis completes his current tour of Britain, he'll go into the studio to produce the Bluebells. ("They're Scotsmen. They wear skirts," explained Jake Riviera, Costello's manager). And eventually, he'll begin work on his next album. Said Riviera: "We thought Elvis could just do the whole thing in his bedroom, with just a synthesizer, an acoustic and a harmonica. We'll call it Wembley."