Last Boat Leaving

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Hush my little one, don't cry so
You know your daddy's bound to go
They took his pride, they took his voice
Don't upset him now, don't make a noise
They said "You're lucky son, you've still got the choice"
Last boat leaving

Don't waste your tears
It's not as if I'm in chains
I don't want to go now
It would be better for you two
If you don't look back when we sail

Hush my dear, while I whisper it in your ear
We're not going to sail tonight, we're going to disappear
And it feels like a punishment, but I don't know what for
Take care of your mother, son, it's you that she adores
'Cos no matter how long we sail, we'll never reach the shore
Last boat leaving

So dry your tears
It's not as if I'm in chains
When you go to school, son,
You'll read my story in history books
Only they won't mention my name

So hush now, my darling, my sweet little one
I hope that you never have to do what I've done
Do you know what I've done?
Why I'm going away on the last boat leaving this stinking town?
Last boat leaving, it's the last boat leaving

You've had my innocence, you've had my heartbreak
You've taken the place where I once belonged
Now what more can you take?

Last Boat Leaving
Written byDeclan MacManus
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byElvis Costello, Kevin Killen & T Bone Burnett
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, acoustic guitars, mandolin, piano, organ, ship's bell
T-Bone Wolk - bass, accordion
Jim Keltner - drums
Cait O'Riordan - snowbells
Recorded1988, Ocean Way, Los Angeles
ReleasedFebruary 6, 1989
AlbumsSpike, 1989

First known performance:
November 21, 1987, Tokyo, Japan
Last known performance:
February 10, 2023, New York, NY
     (27 known performances, 1 as a snippet)

Alternate versions

Last Boat Leaving (Demo)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, guitar, keyboards
Recordedca. 1987-1988, unknown location
ReleasedAugust 21, 2001
AlbumsSpike (Rhino reissue), 2001

Last Boat Leaving (instrumental)
Produced byDeclan MacManus
MusiciansFiachra Trench - piano
Phil Todd - alto flute
Recordedca. 1987-1988, Wessex Studios, London
ReleasedFebruary 1988
SoundtracksThe Courier, 1988
Spike1989 Spike Album.jpg

The Courier: Original Motion Picture SoundtrackCourier album cover 400.jpg


Camille O'Sullivan performed live, 2016-03-29, National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland 2016
Elliott Smith performed at soundcheck, 1996 1996 YouTubeYouTube
Erich Sellheim home studio production, sung in German 2019 YouTube

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