Why Can't A Man Stand Alone?

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Why can't a man stand alone?
Must he be burdened by all that he's taught to consider his own?
His skin and his station, his kin and his crown, his flag and his nation
They just weigh him down
You know pride is a sin that we tend to forgive
But it gets hard to live
When you don't have the love in her heart to begin with
Why can't a man stand alone?

Why can't a woman be just what she seems?
Must she be tarnished by men who can only be men in their dreams?
When beauty meets ignorance they shout in the street
Repeating their offer to each girl they meet
The respect that she needs, it isn't a gift
But it gets hard to lift yourself up
When you don't have the strength to begin with
Why can't a woman stand alone?

Why can't a baby sleep at night and dream of the time to come
And never fear the world outside the touch of someone very near
Why can't a man stand up?
Why can't a man stand up?
Why can't a man stand alone?

Why Can't A Man Stand Alone?
Written byElvis Costello
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
Produced byGeoff Emerick & Elvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedAugust-September 1995, Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin
February 1996, Westside Studios, London
ReleasedMay 13, 1996
AlbumsAll This Useless Beauty, 1996
Length3:16

First known performance:
August 2, 1995, New York, NY
Last known performance:
October 6, 2011, Montclair, NJ
     (83 known performances)


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“It’s easy to theorize songs for people, but they don’t always work out. For instance, I wrote ‘Why Can’t a Man Stand Alone’ for Sam Moore, but he didn’t take it. Now when I think about it, the song has too many words. Sometimes lyrics can get in the way of expression.” Chicago Sun-Times, December 6, 2009

Alternate versions

Why Can't A Man Stand Alone (Demo)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, all instruments
Recordedcirca 1992, unknown location
ReleasedAugust 21, 2001
AlbumsAll This Useless Beauty (Rhino reissue), 2001
Length2:58

Why Can't A Man Stand Alone? (Live 1996)
Performed byCostello & Nieve
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
Steve Nieve - piano
RecordedMay 15, 1996, San Francisco, CA
ReleasedJuly 8, 1996
AlbumsCostello & Nieve, 1996
SinglesLittle Atoms, 1996
PromosLive At The Fillmore, San Francisco, 1996
Length4:10
All This Useless BeautyATUB album cover large.jpg

Little Atoms singleLittle Atoms UK CD single front cover.jpg

Costello & NieveCostello & Nieve album cover.jpg

Covers

no known covers

Internal links

External links