18/5/16 – Elvis Costello – Oliver’s Army – 1979

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Elvis Costello Oliver's Army Single Cover 1979A long way from Kentucky in Twickenham in London in the time of New Wave I had a regular gig in a wine bar. One of the songs I played was Oliver’s Army, a hit for Elvis Costello in 1979 (No.2 in the UK for 4 weeks). Who was No.1? Well in January 1979 it was Ian Dury’s Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, in February it was Blondie’s Heart Of Glass followed by Chiquitita by Abba and then Heart Of Glass took the No.1 spot back.

Not since The Beatles’ Penny Lane and its inability to topple Englebert Humperdink’s Release Me in 1967 has a song that so deserved the No.1 spot been thwarted by the competition – or has it? Let me know. In the case of Elvis, this was his biggest hit – a No.1 single continued to allude him.

Don’t start that talking
I could talk all night
My mind was sleepwalking
While I’m putting the world to rights
Call careers information
Have you got yourself an occupation?

Oliver’s army is here to stay
Oliver’s army are on their way
And I would rather be anywhere else
But here today

There was a Checkpoint Charlie
He didn’t crack a smile
But it’s no laughing party
When you’ve been on the murder mile
All it takes is one itchy trigger
One more widow, one less white nigger

Oliver’s Army is here to stay
Oliver’s army are on their way
And I would rather be anywhere else
But here today

Hong Kong is up for grabs
London is full of Arabs
We could be in Palestine
Overrun by a Chinese line
With the boys from the Mersey and the Thames and the Tyne
But there’s no danger
It’s a professional career
Though it could be arranged
With just a word in Mr. Churchill’s ear
If you’re out of luck or out of work
We could send you to Johannesburg

Oliver’s Army is here to stay
Oliver’s army are on their way
And I would rather be anywhere else
But here today
And I would rather be anywhere else
But here today
And I would rather be anywhere else
But here today
Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver%27s_Army

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvis_Costello_discography

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