The Great Unknown

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They took old Danny Boy for a ride
From the arms of his bride to be
Threw him into the murky waters
By the dog biscuit factory
Quick dry the tears and stifle the cheers
As he sinks just like a stone
Footprints set in sentimental cement
Now burden down his bones
Lest we forget
Here lies the Great Unknown

My my my Delilah
Who's the butcher that you harbour
Take the rich man to the cleaners
And the strong man to the barber
From her face down to her torso
Sort of gruesome, only more so
Hooks and eyes, fingers and thumbs
Ladies and gentlemen, here she comes
The Great Unknown

What shall we sing at a wedding or a wake
Whose name shall we cherish and for whose sake

Now this year's cannon fodder
Tell the future general's jokes
They were keeping the home fires burning
As we slipped out for a smoke
Though the VIP's sang "Wooden Heart"
The band played "Hearts of Oak"


And come the day I shall perish all alone
Say here lies the Great Unknown

The Great Unknown
Written byElvis Costello & Clive Langer
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
Produced byClive Langer & Alan Winstanley
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, guitar
Maurice Worm (a.k.a. Steve Nieve) - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
see Goodbye Cruel World credits for possible additional musicians
RecordedFebruary 1984, SARM West Studios, London
ReleasedJune 18, 1984
AlbumsGoodbye Cruel World, 1984

First known performance:
September 12, 1983, Boulder, CO
Last known performance:
June 26, 2001, London, England
     (10 known performances)

Alternate versions

The Great Unknown (Demo)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
RecordedDecember 1983, Eden Studios, London
ReleasedJuly 26, 2004
AlbumsGoodbye Cruel World (Rhino/Edsel reissue), 2004
Goodbye Cruel WorldGoodbye Cruel World album cover.jpg


Erich Sellheim home studio production, sung in German 2019 YouTube

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