Spooky Girlfriend

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I want a girl to make a mess
To do no wrong she must confess
And then perhaps hitch up her dress
'Cos when the flashbulbs explode
She's such a sensitive soul…

I want a girl who is helpless and frail
Who won't pull on my ponytail
I want a girl who has no past
She's made up now
But that won't last
'Cos when she sits on my knee
And then she whispers to me

"Can't you see
I could be
I could be
Your spooky girlfriend…"

The broken toys are scattered in the attic
Newspapers play with the words of the fanatic
And the greeting cards are your most poetic lyric
And the flat champagne is sweet sugar syrup

I want to paint you with glitter and with dirt
Picture you with innocence and hurt
The shutter closes
Exposes the shot
She says, "Are you looking up my skirt?"
When you say "No"
She says "Why not?"

I want a girl to turn my screw
To wind my watch, to buckle my shoe
And if she won't, her mother will do
'Cos when she does as she's told
We'll all turn platinum and gold
But when she sits on my knee
I hear her whispers to me
"Can't you see?"
"I could be your spooky girlfriend"

Spooky Girlfriend
Written byElvis Costello
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byThe Imposter: Elvis Costello, Ciaran Cahill, Leo Pearson & Kieran Lynch
Horn arrangementElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocals, DR-202, Silvertone electric & Spanish guitars
Davey Faragher - Fender Precision bass
Ku-umba Frank Lacy - trombone
possibly additional musicians
Recorded2001, Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin
Trombone recorded September 24, 2001, Avatar Studios, New York
ReleasedApril 15, 2002
AlbumsWhen I Was Cruel, 2002
PromosUK Elvis Costello (2006), 2006
NoteDue to an apparent printing error in the When I Was Cruel CD booklet, complete musician credits are not available for this song.

First known performance:
February 13, 2001, Dublin, Ireland
Last known performance:
March 16, 2014, Las Vegas, NV
     (142 known performances)

Alternate versions

Spooky Girlfriend (Live 2002 - Seattle)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar, beatbox
RecordedMay 15, 2002, Easy Street Records, Seattle, WA
ReleasedOctober 29, 2002
Various Artists collectionsOn The Mountain 8, 2002

Spooky Girlfriend (Live At KFOG)
Performed byElvis Costello
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar, beatbox
RecordedMay 22, 2002, KFOG Radio, San Francisco, CA
ReleasedSeptember 23, 2002
AlbumsWhen I Was Cruel - Collectors Edition, 2002
Cruel Smile, 2002
KFOG Live From The Archives Vol. 9, 2002
PromosSunday Times CD, 2002

Spooky Girlfriend (KBCO version)
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byScott Arbough & Keefer
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, guitar
RecordedJune 3, 2002, KBCO Radio, Boulder, CO
ReleasedDecember 7, 2002
Various Artists collectionsKBCO Studio C Volume 14, 2002
When I Was CruelWIWC album cover 400.jpg

Cruel Smile2002 Cruel Smile Album small.jpg

On The Mountain 8On The Mountain 8 album cover.jpg

KFOG Live From The Archives Vol. 9KFOG Live From The Archives Vol. 9 album cover.jpg

KBCO Studio C Volume 14KBCO Studio C Volume 14 album cover.jpg

Sunday Times CDSunday Times CD.jpg


Tommy Lepson & The Soul Crackers A Bandhouse Gigs Tribute To Elvis Costello 2018 bandhousegigs.orgAmazon US UK
Olli Schulz & der Hund Marie Das Beige Albumsung in German 2005 AmazonAmazon.ukAmazon.de
Erich Sellheim home studio production, sung in German 2021 YouTube

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