Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, and the Torch Song Tradition

By Larry David Smith | Go to book overview

PART II
Elvis Costello

INTRODUCTION

Television’s “morning show” genre is a fundamental part of the programming day—striving for that magical blend of news, entertainment, and stylish commentary. Some syndicated shows forsake news segments and emphasize entertainment-oriented interviews and performances. One such program—the highly successful Live! Regis and Kathie Lee—deployed the tried-and-true dual host strategy to positive results, using humor, probity, and charming curiosity in clever combinations that relaxed the pressures of a live production. On the morning of September 29, 1998, Regis and Kathie Lee welcomed Fran Drescher, D. L. Hughley, and one of the musical world’s fascinating creative alliances to their program. When Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello graced the airwaves that morning, a genuine cool cat appeared alongside an authentic rebel. As the group gathered around Bacharach’s piano, the hosts asked about the union, its origins, and the songs that emerged from their collaboration. In response to Kathie Lee’s inquiry about the songs’ themes of love and love lost, Elvis Costello replied:

It’s early in the day for talking about these things, isn’t it? [laughs] we took
the cue from the first song, “God Give Me Strength”… a song of lost love,
but a very powerful feeling, not a beaten-down feeling, you know. And we
said maybe we could look at that subject. I mean, it’s the reason why we’re
all here: desire and love and infidelity and all of the problems that we create
[with] one another. And [we] just wanted to sing some stuff that came from
inside here and I think people will recognize themselves in the songs. I hope
they will, anyway.

-123-

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