Complicated Shadows

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Well you know your time has come and you're sorry for what you've done
You should've never have been playing with a gun
In those Complicated Shadows
Well there's a line that you must toe
And it'll soon be time to go
But it's darker than you know in those Complicated Shadows

All you gangsters and rude clowns
Who were shooting up the town
When you should have found someone to put the blame on
Though the fury's hot and hard
I still see that cold graveyard
There's a solitary stone that's got your name on

You don't have to take it from me
But I know what I spake
You think you're like iron and steel
But iron and steel will bend and break
In those Complicated Shadows

Sometimes justice you will find
Is just dumb not colour-blind
And your poor shattered mind can't take it all in
All those phantoms and those shades
Should Jump up on Judgement Day
And say to the Almighty "I'm still stinking of sin"

But the jury was dismissed
Took his neck and they give it a twist
So you see you won't be missed in those Complicated Shadows
You can say just what you like in a voice like a John Ford film
Take the law into your hands
You will soon get tired of killing
In those Complicated Shadows
Complicated Shadows
Complicated Shadows
Complicated Shadows

Complicated Shadows (All This Useless Beauty version)
Written byDeclan MacManus
Performed byElvis Costello & The Attractions
Produced byGeoff Emerick & Elvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
RecordedAugust 1995, Beacon Theatre, New York
August-September 1995, Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin
February 1996, Westside Studios, London
ReleasedMay 13, 1996
AlbumsAll This Useless Beauty, 1996
SinglesThe Other End Of The Telescope, 1996 (UK version; includes album version instead of intended Cashbox Version)
SoundtracksThe Sopranos, 1999
Various Artists collectionsGuide May 1996, 1996
Splash!, 1997

First known performance:
November 8, 1994, Poole, England
Last known performance:
February 11, 2023, New York, NY
     (173 known performances)

Alternate versions

Complicated Shadows (Secret, Profane & Sugarcane version)
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byT Bone Burnett
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, Gibson J-50 acoustic guitar
T Bone Burnett - Kay 161 electric guitar
Dennis Crouch - double bass
Stuart Duncan - fiddle
Jerry Douglas - dobro
Mike Compton - mandolin
Jim Lauderdale - harmony vocal
RecordedMarch 31-April 2, 2008, Sound Emporium Studio, Nashville
ReleasedApril 14, 2009
AlbumsSecret, Profane & Sugarcane, 2009
SinglesComplicated Shadows, 2009
Various Artists collectionsMonster CD No. 27, 2009

Complicated Shadows (Demo) a.k.a. (Cashbox Version)
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byStepaside Productions
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, all instruments
Recordedca. 1993, Elvis' home
ReleasedAugust 2, 1996
AlbumsAll This Useless Beauty (Rhino reissue), 2001
SinglesThe Other End Of The Telescope, 1996 (Germany)

All This Useless BeautyATUB album cover large.jpg

The Other End Of The Telescope singleThe Other End Of The Telescope UK CD single front cover.jpg

Secret, Profane & SugarcaneSecret Profane And Sugarcane album cover medium.jpg

Complicated Shadows singleComplicated Shadows single cover.jpg


Blues Trio performed live, 2017, OndasuOnda Festival, San Vincenzo, Italy. 2017 YouTube
Bonnie Brett The Elvis Costello Songbook 2003
The Professors performed live, 2006-05-05, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, New Jersey 2006 YouTube
Erich Sellheim home studio production, sung in German (ATUB version) 2021 YouTube
Erich Sellheim home studio production, sung in German (SP&S version) 2022 YouTube

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