Hidden Shame

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I'm sorry to say that you don't know me
I'm sad in ways you never understood
Each time I try to tell the ugly truth
You always let it pass you by
You said I 'd never tell you a lie
Just because I could

Did you really think I was a bad man?
You always said that Bad should be my middle name
But you don't know the half of it
You don't know how that name fits
You don't know my hidden shame

Hidden shame, shame, shame
And I can't get free
From the blame and the torture
And the misery
Must it be my secret for eternity?
Till you know my hidden shame you really don't know me

Well, there's a different kind of prison
And it don't even have to look much like a cell
It's already on your mind
Boy, we can see it in your eyes
So, here's the bars and walls as well

Well, you know I'm never coming home, babe
You said you'd stand by me until I cleared my name
Sure it's easy to be strong
When you know the charge is wrong
But the days and weeks get long
When you've got a hidden shame

(repeat chorus)

I had a friend when I was just a boy
We were like brothers, we would run and hide
And we went walking on a high hillside
And I really don't how it happened
He turned to me and had this strange look in his eye
But not a single word was spoken
I must have pushed him, but I don't remember why
And all at once, he lay there broken
And I walked down without him and I buried it deep inside

(repeat chorus)

They say you always hurt the one you love
And I'm not saying if I did or if I didn't
It's just like shame, that kind of love is always hidden
They locked me up here for the ideas in my head
They never got me for the thing I really did

(repeat chorus)

You really don't know me
You really don't know me

Hidden Shame
Written byElvis Costello
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byT Bone Burnett
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, 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 - background vocals
RecordedMarch 31-April 2, 2008, Sound Emporium Studio, Nashville
ReleasedJune 2, 2009
AlbumsSecret, Profane & Sugarcane, 2009

First known performance:
May 25, 1991, Santa Barbara, CA
Last known performance:
February 11, 2023, New York, NY
     (40 known performances)

Alternate versions

Hidden Shame (Demo)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, all instruments
Recordedca. 1989, unknown location
ReleasedAugust 21, 2001
AlbumsAll This Useless Beauty (Rhino reissue), 2001
PromosSelections From My Aim Is True, Spike, And All This Useless Beauty, 2001

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

All This Useless BeautyATUB album cover large.jpg


Johnny Cash Boom Chicka Boom 1989 AllMusic
Johnny Cash Bespoke Songs, Lost Dogs, Detours & Rendezvous 1998 AllMusicAmazon
Johnny Cash UK Elvis Costello (2002)  (promo) 2002
Johnny Cash Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town/Boom Chicka Boom 2003 AllMusicAmazonAmazon.uk
Johnny Cash The Legendary Johnny Cash 2005 DiscogsAmazon
Johnny Cash UK Elvis Costello (2006)  (promo) 2006

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