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Is it worth it
A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
And a bicycle on the boy's birthday
It's just a rumour that was spread around town
By the women and children
Soon we'll be shipbuilding

Well I ask you
The boy said "Dad, they're going to take me to task
But I'll be back by Christmas"
It's just a rumour that was spread around town
Somebody said that someone got filled in
For saying that people get killed in
The result of this shipbuilding

With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls

It's just a rumour that was spread around town
A telegram or a picture postcard
Within weeks they'll be re-opening the shipyard
And notifying the next of kin
Once again
It's all we're skilled in
We will be shipbuilding

With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls

Written byElvis Costello & Clive Langer
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
Produced byClive Langer & Alan Winstanley
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
Chet Baker - trumpet solo
RecordedJanuary-April 1983, AIR Studios, London
ReleasedAugust 5, 1983
AlbumsPunch The Clock, 1983
SinglesLet Them All Talk, 1983 (US)
Shipbuilding, 1983 (Japan)
London's Brilliant Parade, 1994
CollectionsThe Best Of Elvis Costello & The Attractions, 1985
The 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
The Best Of Elvis Costello The First 10 Years, 2007
Unfaithful Music & Soundtrack Album, 2015
SoundtracksHigh Fidelity, 2000
Various Artists collectionsIl Disco Del Mese (Vol. 26: Il Grande Pop Inglese), 1997
Film 2000 With Jonathan Ross, 2000
Cinema Classics: Greatest Classic Movie Songs, 2001
Songwriter, 2002
Radio 2 - Sold On Song, 2003 -
Kitsuné Tabloid By Phoenix, 2009 -
PromosPunch The World, 1995
UK Elvis Costello, 2002
Punch The Clock, Trust & Get Happy!! Sampler, 2003

First known performance:
May 25, 1982, Melbourne, Australia
Last known performance:
     (755 known performances)

Punch The ClockPunch The Clock Rhino album cover.jpg

Single: ShipbuildingShipbuilding Japan 7" single front sleeve.jpg

The Best Of Elvis Costello & The AttractionsBOEC album cover 200.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

The Best Of Elvis Costello The First 10 YearsThe Best Of Elvis Costello The First 10 Years album cover.jpg

Unfaithful Music & Soundtrack AlbumUnfaithful Music & Soundtrack Album album cover.jpg


Naomi Araki translated into Japanese by the artist 2016 YouTubeWikipediaDiscogs
Tasmin Archer Shipbuilding  (EP) 1994 AllmusicAmazon
Tasmin Archer This Is 1994    Various Artists 2008 Allmusic
Leif Arntzen The Loser's Lounge Tribute to Elvis Costello 2002 LosersLounge
The Bad Shepherds Mud, Blood & Beer 2013 Amazon
Chocolate Genius performed live, 10 December 2010, La Session Live, 2010 La Session live
Julie Christensen Where The Fireworks Are 2007 AllmusicAmazon
Classically Blue You Get That 1998 Amazonlink
Julian Coryell Duality 1997 AllmusicAmazon
Graham Coxon performed live, 2004-08-19, Peel Sessions, BBC, London 2004 BBC
Sean Croghan performed live, Portland, OR info
Lou Dalgleish performed live info needed
Elevator Muzic From The Lounge 2005 AllmusicAmazon
The Flying Pickets At Work 1989 infowebsite
Angie Hart and Tim Heath performed live 1 July 2012 at Bella Union, Melbourne, Australia 2012 YouTubeWikipedia
Hue & Cry Bitter Suite (Live) 1989 DiscogsAmazon
Maria Doyle Kennedy Skullcover 2005 websiteAllmusicAmazon
Maria Doyle Kennedy performed live, 2012, BBC Radio 2, Dermot O'Leary show 2012
The Lovetones Give It All I Can 2002 websiteWikipedia
The Lovetones UndiscoveredVarious Artists 2008 eMusic
Macmaster/Hay Hook 2012 Amazon
Maika Makovski performed live, 2011, "Los Conciertos de Radio 3", Madrid, Spain. 2011 AMGYouTube
Scott Matthew performed live, 2012-12-01, Hamburg 2012
Mr McFall's Chamber Sometimes God Smiles: Young Person's Guide To DisciplineVarious Artists 1998 AllmusicDiscogsAmazon
Mr McFall's Chamber Like The Milk 1999 Allmusic
Alison Moyet performed live at the Tate Modern, Bankside, London on 13 June 2013 2013 YouTube
Mark Mulcahy I Just Shot Myself In The Foot AgainEP 2000 AllmusicAmazon
Jimmy Nail performed live link
Yael Naim Around Robert WyattVarious Artists 2009 infoAmazon
Karen Oberlin My Standards 2001 AllmusicAmazon
Maura O'Connell Naked With Friends 2009 AllmusicAmazon
Orchestre National de Jazz Around Robert Wyatt 2009 AllmusicAmazon
Owen Pallett performed live 12 October 2012 at Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY 2012 infoYouTube
Passion Killers Whoopee! We're All Going To Die!7" EP 1991 linklinkDiscogs
Marti Pellow Wet Wet Wet performed live on a 1990 documentary about Glasgow 1990 youtube
Simon Petty performed live, Knitting Factory tribute, 2003-03-27 2003 info
Sanch Tribute To Elvis CostelloVarious Artists 2007
Steve Shiffman & Land of Nod performed live, 2002-08-10, Brilliant Mistakes tribute, Albany, NY 2002 info
Sleepers Sleepers 2 2011 Bandcamp
Suede Help: A Charity Project for the Children Of BosniaVarious Artists 1995 AllmusicAmazon
Suede Lost In TV(DVD) 2001 DiscogsYouTube
Swan Arcade Diving For Pearls 1986 AllmusicAmazon.ukinfo
June Tabor performed live, 2010-12-11, Kings Place, London 2010 info
June Tabor Ashore 2011 info
Time Pools Is This Going Somewhere? 2013 Amazon
Transelement (____) Is Missing 2010 BandcampDiscogs
Ruth Dolores Weiss My Middle Name Is Misery 2012 WikipediaAmazonBandcamp
Robbie Williams performed live 2000 info needed
Robert Wyatt Shipbuildingsingle 1982 Wikipedia
Robert Wyatt Bespoke Songs, Lost Dogs, Detours & RendezvousVarious Artists 1998 AllmusicAmazon
Robert Wyatt UK Elvis Costello (2002)  (promo) 2002
Robert Wyatt UK Elvis Costello (2006)  (promo) 2006
Unbelievable Truth performed live, 1998 1998 infoinfo
The Unthanks performed live, September 2012, The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London 2012 YouTube
The Unthanks Diversions Vol. 3 - Songs From The Shipyards 2012 websiteWikipediaAmazon

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