Tokyo Storm Warning

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The sky fell over cheap Korean monster-movie scenery
And spilled into the mezzanine of the crushed capsule hotel
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery
I knew I was in trouble but I thought I was in hell

So you look around the tiny room and you wonder where the hell you are
While the K.K.K. convention are all stranded in the bar
They wear hoods and carry shotguns in the main streets of Montgomery
But they're helpless here as babies 'cause they're only here on holiday

What do we care if the world is a joke
(Tokyo Storm Warning)
We'll give it a big kiss
We'll give it a poke
(Tokyo Storm Warning)
Death wears a big hat 'cause he's a big bloke
(Tokyo Storm Warning)
We're only living this instant

The black sand stuck beneath her feet in a warm Sorrento sunrise
A barefoot girl from Naples or was it a Barcelona hi-rise
Whistles out the tuneless theme song of a hundred cheap suggestions
And a million false seductions and all those eternal questions


So they flew the Super-Constellation all the way from Rimini
And feasted them on fish and chips from a newspaper facsimile
Now dead Italian tourists' bodies litter up the Broadway
Some people can't be told you know they have to learn the hard way

Holidays are dirt-cheap in the Costa del Malvinas
In the Hotel Argentina they can hardly tell between us
For Teresa is a waitress though she's now known as Juanita
In a tango bar in Stanley or in Puerto Margarita
She's the sweetest and the sauciest
The loveliest and the naughtiest
She's Miss Buenos Aires in a world of lacy lingerie


Japanese God-Jesus robots telling teenage fortunes
For all we know and all we care they might as well be Martians
They say gold paint on the palace gates comes from the teeth of pensioners
They're so tired of shooting protest singers
That they hardly mention us
While fountains fill with second-hand perfume
And sodden trading stamps
They'll hang the bullies and the louts that dampen down the day


We braved the cold November air and the undertaker's curses
Saying "Take me to the Folies Bergere and please don't spare the hearses"
For he always had a dream of that revolver in your purse
How you loved him 'til you hated him and made him cry for mercy
He said "Don't ever mention my name there or talk of all the nights you cried
We've always been like worlds apart, now you're seeing two nightmares collide"


Tokyo Storm Warning
Written byDeclan MacManus & Cait O'Riordan
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
Produced byNick Lowe with Colin Fairley
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedMarch-May 1986, Olympic Studios, London
ReleasedAugust 1986
AlbumsBlood & Chocolate, 1986
SinglesTokyo Storm Warning, 1986
CollectionsGirls Girls Girls, 1989
The Very Best Of Elvis Costello, 1999
Singles, Volume 3, 2003
Rock And Roll Music, 2007
Various Artists collectionsUnknown Pleasures, 1998

First known performance:
May 10, 1986, Montreux, Switzerland
Last known performance:
March 12, 2020, Manchester, England
     (91 known performances)

“Fatigue can play cruel tricks upon your perceptions, but arriving early one violent morning, among the frenzied commuters, with the storm clouds down beneath the tops of the tallest building, Tokyo DID seem like the setting for a particularly brutal science-fiction story (perhaps something by Philip K. Dick). So thinking 'Why stop there, let's trash the world,' I recalled twenty years of nightmares, actual or altered, to present this thug's-eye view of the planet.” Girls Girls Girls liner notes, 1989.

Blood & ChocolateBlood & Chocolate album cover.jpg

Tokyo Storm Warning singleTokyo Storm Warning UK 7" single front sleeve.jpg

Girls Girls GirlsGGG album cover 300.jpg

Unknown PleasuresUnknown Pleasures album cover.jpg

The Very Best Of Elvis Costello, 1999The Very Best Of Elvis Costello (2CD) album cover.jpg

Singles, Volume 3Singles Volume 3 album cover.jpg

Rock And Roll MusicRock And Roll Music album cover.jpg


Ross Bellenoit & The Deceptions performed live, 2016-05-19, Ardmore Music Hall, Ardmore, Pennsylvania 2016 YouTube
Matt Brown Theme Music Groupon Facebook 2013 YouTube
Jeff Cleveland performed live, 2016-02-02, Brennan's Pub, Marina del Rey, California 2016 YouTube
Fireking performed live, 2012 2012 YouTube
Ian Prowse Music MindsVarious artists 2018 Fretsore RecordsBandcamp
Erich Sellheim home studio production, sung in German 2019 YouTube

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External links