Shabby Doll

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Giving you more of what for
Always worked for me before
Now I'm a shabby doll
What's going on behind the green elevator door
With just a shabby doll

There's a hit man facing
A compromising situation
With just a shabby doll
And a very neat line in character assassination
She's just a shabby doll

She's just a shabby doll
She's putting him off and putting you on
She's just a shabby doll
She's just the shabby doll
You're swearing upon, you know in your heart
She's gone, you know in your heart
She's just a shabby doll

There's a girl in this dress
There's always a girl in distress
She's just a shabby doll
She's so sure she's self-possessed
Then again she's half undressed
She's just a shabby doll

The boy that I used to be
Showed no sign of sympathy
For just a shabby doll
I have betrayed you and me
And paid for my own bribery
With just a shabby doll


He's the tired toy that everyone's enjoyed
He wants to be a fancy man but he's nothing but a nancy boy
He's all pride and no joy

And being what you might call a whore
Always worked for me before
Now I'm a shabby doll
Untie the gag, the cat's out of the bag
But won't show his claws
He's just a shabby doll

She said you must be joking
Some things are left unspoken
You're just a shabby doll
He's lying limp and soaking
He was openly broken
By just a shabby doll


Shabby Doll
Written byElvis Costello
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
Produced byGeoff Emerick from an original idea by Elvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedNovember 1981, AIR Studios, London
ReleasedJuly 2, 1982
AlbumsImperial Bedroom, 1982
SinglesShabby Doll, 1982 (France)
CollectionsGirls Girls Girls, 1989 (CD/cassette)
PromosA Conversation With Elvis Costello, 1982
Visa Sampler, 2007

First known performance:
December 21, 1981, Guildford, England
Last known performance:
     (317 known performances)

Alternate versions

Shabby Doll (Demo)
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, all instruments
RecordedAugust 21-22 1981, Pathway Studios, London
ReleasedAugust 30, 1994
AlbumsImperial Bedroom (Rykodisc/Demon reissue), 1994
Imperial Bedroom (Rhino/Edsel reissue), 2002
Imperial BedroomIB album cover large.jpg

A Conversation With Elvis CostelloA Conversation With Elvis Costello album cover.jpg

Girls Girls GirlsGGG album cover 300.jpg

Visa SamplerVisa Sampler front.jpg


Calexico Maybe On Monday 2013 websiteAllmusic
Calexico performed live, 2013-07-18, Paris 2013 YouTube
John Faye & Cliff Hillis performed live, 2002-08-10, Brilliant Mistakes tribute, Albany, NY 2002 info
Ian Tanner MP3 website
Fiona Apple Decades Rock Live, 2006-05-19, Atlantic City, NJ 2006 YouTube

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External links