Gift Idea: “Don’t Buy My New Album. Steal It. And Buy This Instead.”

I’ve always admired Elvis Costello’s integrity. From the very beginning, he’s never kowtowed to the demands of his various record labels.  Then, of course, there’s the famous “Radio Radio” episode from Saturday Night Live.

Elvis had been told not that song because of the fear it would upset NBC, owners of dozens and dozens of radio stations.  Initially, it appeared that Elvis acquiesced, promising to play “Less Than Zero” instead.  But that’s not what happened.

Now Elvis is exhorting fans NOT to buy one of his records.  

The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook is set to come out Tuesday and from all descriptions is a beautiful package featuring a performance with the Imposters at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles easlier this year.  Elvis admits that the performances are great and that the DVD shows the band in fine form.


Unfortunately, we at find ourselves unable to recommend this lovely item to you as the price appears to be either a misprint or a satire.

All our attempts to have this number revised have been fruitless but rather than detain you with tedious arguments about morality, panache and book-keeping – when there are really bigger fish to filet these days – we are taking the following unusual step. 

If you should really want to buy something special for your loved one at this time of seasonal giving, we can whole-heartedly recommend, “Ambassador Of Jazz” – a cute little imitation suitcase, covered in travel stickers and embossed with the name “Satchmo” but more importantly containing TEN re-mastered albums by one of the most beautiful and loving revolutionaries who ever lived – Louis Armstrong.

The box should be available for under one hundred and fifty American dollars and includes a number of other tricks and treats. Frankly, the music is vastly superior.

If on the other hand you should still want to hear and view the component parts of the above mentioned elaborate hoax, then those items will be available separately at a more affordable price in the New Year, assuming that you have not already obtained them by more unconventional means.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “Gift Idea: “Don’t Buy My New Album. Steal It. And Buy This Instead.”

  • November 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Ouch, yeah, I just saw what Amazon is asking for it ($200 and change), which is absurd for the amount of content. Good on ya, Mr. Costello, you are a class act.

  • November 29, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    That's not actually what it says on his website. The <A HREF="">final paragraph</A> reads:

    If you should still want the component items in the above mentioned elaborate hoax, they will be available separately at a more affordable price in the New Year, unless you are one of those pirates who imagines they are evangelists or that other people’s rights absolve their own thievery, in which case this is between you and your dim conscience.

    So he still wants your money, just not so much that it hurts his street cred.

  • November 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    To Paul Drye: It is actually what it says on his website. You just quoted a more recent post than Alan did. Try this one: Alan's Reference

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Uh, Alan… How come when I click the link "but that's not what happened" on my iPhone I get taken to a Dutch porn site?


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