Armed Forces 33⅓ Network

From The Elvis Costello Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
Armed Forces 33⅓ Network.jpg

From November 10, 2020, Elvis curated a playlist on Spotify, pairing tracks from the expanded box set reissue of Armed Forces with tracks by other artists. This was presented as:

"Armed Forces 33⅓ Network

On Twitter he introduced it thus:

"Spin the dial to this frequency to hear songs and cues and catches from the 20th Century jukebox and radio airwaves that were enlisted into ‘Armed Forces’”

Armed Forces 33⅓ Network - November 10 - December ?, 2020

number song album note
01. Clean Money “Sketches For Emotional Fascism” The opening track of our 1979 album was supposed to be, “Clean Money”. It was definitely indebted to The Beatles “Back In The U.S.S.R” and a favourite group of ours from Madison, Wisconsin: Cheap Trick. Indeed, Rick Neilsen generously introduced us to a slightly skeptical crowd at “Bunky’s” in Madison in the Winter of 1977. I never did learn how to juggle all those guitars.
02. Big Eyes In Color by Cheap Trick
03. Accidents Will Happen Armed Forces Many songs and much mischief went in to what eventually became the first cut on “Armed Forces”. The most obvious is a half-quotation from the lyrics of Randy Newman’s “I Don’t Want To Hear It Anymore” as sung by my favourite singer.
04. I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore Dusty In Memphis by Dusty Springfield
05. Breaking Glass Low by David Bowie The many miles of our first tours of the U.S. had a limited soundtrack, the few cassettes on which we could agree, among them the “Berlin” records by David Bowie and Iggy Pop, I hear a reference to a track from “Low" in the background voices and tremolo guitar of the third song on “Armed Forces”.
06. Senior Service Armed Forces
07. Oliver's Army Armed Forces The tie-breaker in our “Tour Station Wagon Soundtrack Stand-Offs” was often this ABBA album. We loved ABBA so much that we even bought their Swedish language albums on our first venture to the country, shortly before making “Armed Forces”.
08. Dancing Queen Arrival by ABBA My song about boys being sent off to do other people’s dirty work was heading for a B-side pile until Steve Nieve borrowed Benny Andersson’s grand piano style and turned the song into a Top Five U.K. hit.
09. Big Boys Armed Forces I’m sure the idea of starting “Big Boys” with a single note drone came from too many hours listening to the second side of Bowie’s “Low” or Iggy Pop’s “Mass Production” but as a member of the audience at Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” concert in London in 1975, I’m pretty sure that this is where I got the idea of the “She’s the one” refrain in “Big Boys.
10. She's The One Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen
11. Green Shirt Armed Forces Steve Nieve had added a Polymoog and Mini Moog to his armory and alchemy by the time we entered Eden Studios to make “Armed Forces”. Neither came with an instruction manual, so we took cues for electronic music from The BBC Radiophonic Workshop and Kraftwerk.
12. Autobahn Autobahn by Kraftwerk
13. Party Girl Armed Forces I always tried to keep my quotations of The Beatles songs under control and leave that to Mancunians in the future. However, it’s pretty hard to deny that the guitar figure on “Party Girl” was an idea that occurred after combining “Abbey Road” with a bottle of gin. At least I’d wait a few years before writing a song with the same title.
14. I Want You (She's So Heavy) Abbey Road by The Beatles
15. Goon Squad Europe ’79: Live At Pink Pop Believe it or not this record by the great Don Covay was the record that the Attractions and I were attempting to imitate when we cut this song about a young man gone wrong.
16. It's Better To Have (And Don't Need) Single by Don Covay Due to our nervous disposition, the musical reference was mostly lost on the audience, although this ferocious Attractions performance from the summer of ’79 is something else entirely. P.S. Don’s record is way better.
17. Busy Bodies Armed Forces Cute observers of the time probably thought they were pretty sharp when they noticed that the guitar riff on this song owed something to Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” but I do not recall anyone recognising a hint of Tony Hatch’s soap opera theme in the arrangement.
18. The Theme From “Crossroads” TV theme by Tony Hatch
19. Sunday's Best Armed Forces This song was a catalogue of small-minded English prejudices and seething sanctimonious preferences. It took its cue from what, in my ever so ‘umble opinion, is the greatest record ever released on Stiff Records. It is the Ian Dury song, “England’s Glory” performed by the great music hall comedian and actor, Max Wall.
20. England's Glory Single by Max Wall
21. Moods For Moderns Armed Forces This song began an earlier life as a roll call of the American television shows that filled childhood hours from Whirlybirds to The Adventures of Hiram Holiday. All that remains on “Armed Forces” is the guitar lick and wall of synths and double tracked vocals that betrays the hours spent listening to Bowie’s “Station To Station” album.
22. TVC-15 Station To Station by David Bowie
23. Chemistry Class Armed Forces I’ve no idea what I was thinking when I left “Talking In The Dark” off the final album for “Chemistry Class” but my eyes were not always clear in those days. I don’t know what world “Chemistry Class” came from other than note that the guitar riff in the chorus sounds like a 45 record of “Rebel Rebel” playing at 33 and 1/3.
24. Dead End Street Single by The Kinks
25. Talking In The Dark Sketches For Emotional Fascism The melody of “Talking In The Dark” seems to contain echoes of the much loved Ray Davies songs like “Dead End Street” that is until Steve Nieve arrives with a synth solo that always evokes an RAF flypast of Lancaster bombers.
26. The Dam Busters The Dam Busters by Stanley Black & The London Symphony Orchestra
27. Little Hitler Jesus Of Cool by Nick Lowe I think Nick Lowe and I were both considering writing a portrait of a petty tyrant. He beat me to the punch with a song on the album known in the U.S. as “Pure Pop For Now People”. It seems you can sing about tiny dictators in America but you can’t be vain about the name of the Lord.
28. Pulled Up Talking Heads '77 by Talking Heads I continued to write songs in the corridor between the war room and the bedroom and having decoded the music on Talking Heads first record - a band with whom we had shared the bill in Atlanta and Portland during our first Stateside tour - employed the same kind of clickety-clackety guitar found in their arrangements.
29. Two Little Hitlers Armed Forces
30. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding? Surrender To The Rhythm by Brinsley Schwarz I met Nick Lowe when he was playing the Cavern in Liverpool, when I was 17. Brinsley Schwarz were my favourite group at the time. Down to earth and approachable, Nick became my modest hero. He wrote this song as a satire of Tin Pan Alley peace anthems but it has only got sadder over the years.
31. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding? The Complete Armed Forces by Nick Lowe & His Sound
32. Wednesday Week Sketches For “Emotional Fascism Whenever I hear this song I imagine the Attractions and I sitting in some truckstop diner, flipping through the jukebox selections in the booth looking for anything other than soporific F.M. hits. Sometimes we’d take refuge in a Wings record like “London Town” or more especially “Band On The Run” - and I’m sure this suggested the gear change in the middle of “Wednesday Week”. Other times we’d find The Beatles “Help” on the record machine, feed in $5 dollars worth of quarters, punch up the B-side, “I’m Down”, twenty times and then hit the road.
33. Band On The Run Band On The Run by Wings
34. My Funny Valentine Songs For Young Lovers by Frank Sinatra This ballad is the first song that I recorded in the studio that was written by anyone else. It was a short and simple reading with just one electric guitar, cut while waiting for the Attractions to turn up.
35. My Funny Valentine My Funny Valentine by Miles Davis Maybe I had no place cutting this song but I’d known and loved the Frank Sinatra recording of this song since I was a little child and came to think of the melody as something that Miles Davis played.
36. My Funny Valentine Sketches For Emotional Fascism People were planting a lot of musical flags in the last three years of the 1970s. Mine read, “Rodgers & Hart” and that conflict between the flesh and the spirit will probably never be resolved.

External links