The Beat

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We're all going on a summer holiday
Vigilantes coming out to follow me
Heard somebody say they're out to collar me
Anybody wanna swallow me?

It takes two to tumble, it takes two to tango
Speak up; don't mumble if you're in the combo
On the beat, on the beat

Till a man comes along and he says
"Have you been a good boy, never played with your toy?
Though you never enjoy, such a pleasure to employ"

See your friends in the state they're in
See your friends getting under their skin
See your friends getting taken in

Well, if you only knew the things you do to me
I'd do anything to confuse the enemy
There's only one thing wrong with you befriending me
Take it easy, I think you're bending me

I've been a bad boy with the standard leader
My neighbor's revving up his Vauxhall Viva
On the beat, on the upbeat

Till the man comes along and he says
"Have you been a good boy, never played with your toy?
Though you never enjoy, such a pleasure to employ"

See your friends walking down the street
See your friends never quite complete
See your friends getting under their feet

Oh, I don't want to disease you
But I'm no good with machinery
Oh, I don't wanna freeze you
Stop looking at the scenery
I keep thinking about your mother
Oh, I don't wanna lick them
I don't wanna be a lover
I just wanna be your victim

I don't go out much late at night
I don't go out much at all
Did you think you were the only one
Who was waiting for a call?
On the beat, on the beat, on the upbeat

Till a man comes along and he says,
"Have you been a good boy, never played with your toy?
Though you never enjoy, such a pleasure to employ"

See your friends treat me like a stranger
See your friends despite all the arrangements
See your friends -- nothing here has changed

Just the beat
Just the beat
Just the beat
Just the beat

The Beat
Written byElvis Costello
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
Produced byNick Lowe
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedNovember 1977-January 1978, Eden Studios, London
ReleasedMarch 17, 1978
AlbumsThis Year's Model, 1978
Collections2½ Years, 1993
PromosSelections From This Year's Model - Blood & Chocolate - Brutal Youth, 2002
Length3:47

First known performance:
July 21, 1977, Manchester, England
Last known performance:
August 27, 2016, Dana Point, CA
     (321 known performances)


Alternate versions

The Beat (Live 1977)
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedAugust 7, 1977, London, England
ReleasedSeptember 11, 2007
AlbumsMy Aim Is True: Deluxe Edition, 2007
Length3:46

The Beat (Live 1978 - Washington)
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedFebruary 28, 1978, Washington, DC
ReleasedMarch 4, 2008
AlbumsThis Year's Model: Deluxe Edition, 2008
Length3:43

The Beat (Live 1978 - Toronto)
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedMarch 6, 1978, Toronto, ON, Canada
Released1978 (promo-only release)
October 15, 1993 (commercial release)
AlbumsLive At The El Mocambo, 1978
Collections2½ Years, 1993
Length3:34
This Year's ModelTYM album cover large.jpg

Live At The El MocamboLive At The El Mocambo album cover.jpg

2½ Years2½ Years album cover.jpg

My Aim Is TrueMAIT UK initial album cover large.jpg

Covers

Erich Sellheim home studio production, sung in German 2013 YouTube

Internal links

External links