Song of the Day #1,429: ‘Seconds of Pleasure’ – Elvis Costello

Three of the last six Random Weekend decisions have come from Elvis Costello which I suppose makes sense given the law of averages. I have more Costello tunes than tracks by any other artist but Bob Dylan. I guess we can expect a flood of Mr. Zimmerman any time now.

Today’s track is another of the many bonus tracks offered up on the many reissues of Costello’s albums. And to point out the absurd degree of reissuing applied to Costello’s catalog, allow me to submit that this song has appeared in two different incarnations on four different releases.

There is the demo version (heard here) that is available on reissues of Trust and Imperial Bedroom and then completed version available on a different reissue of Imperial Bedroom as well as a reissue of Punch the Clock. That clear?

Here’s Costello’s take on the song:

The third part in the continuing saga of a wandering song. This version was rewritten as a woman’s song with the addition of a bridge and along with “I Turn Around” and “Imperial Bedroom” were sent to Anni-Frid Lyngstad (or “Frida”) for possible inclusion on her first solo album after the break-up of our beloved ABBA. I never found out what she made of this rather odd selection of songs, but I know that her producer, a certain Mr. P. Collins didn’t think much of any of them as I heard it from his own lips. The rest, as they say, is history. Steve played the piano, I added the bass and vocals. What was rescued from this song may be found in its final resting place on the album “Punch The Clock” under the title “The Invisible Man”.

You say you don’t desire me
You only hire me. Now you tire me
Inexpensive care is meaningless
Feeling nothing and caring less

Cut off at the pass
She knows where you were headed
She wants double-time
Or a temporary wedding

And the lucky girl leads a life of leisure
Though she might have to wait forty-five years
For seconds of pleasure

Crowds surround loudspeakers on a lamp-post
Listening to the murder mystery
Meanwhile someone’s in the classroom
Busy forging the books of history

I wouldn’t give that man my hand
He’d probably steal my fingers
So the sleuth ends up in stitches
And your urges turn to itches

And the lucky girl leads a life of leisure
Though she might have to wait forty-five years
For seconds of pleasure

I was committed to life
And then commuted to the outskirts
I was living for thirty minutes at a time
With a break in the middle for adverts

In the strong arms of your human furniture
You say “when”, you say “so”
Well you can look all that you like
But I won’t let you touch and go

And the lucky girl leads a life of leisure
Though she might have to wait forty-five years
For seconds of pleasure

And the lucky girl leads a life of leisure
Though she might have to wait forty-five years
For seconds of pleasure

One thought on “Song of the Day #1,429: ‘Seconds of Pleasure’ – Elvis Costello

  1. Dana says:

    Fascinating history on this song. Who is Collins to say these songs weren’t good enough for the likes of the former ABBA singer? Please!

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