Song of the Day #5,280: ‘Hidden Shame (Demo)’ – Elvis Costello

‘Hidden Shame,’ heard here in demo form as included on Elvis Costello’s reissue of the 1996 album All This Useless Beauty, was originally written by Costello for Johnny Cash. Costello wrote a few songs for Cash, including ‘Complicated Shadows,’ one of Beauty‘s main tracks.

Cash never recorded ‘Complicated Shadows’ but he did record this one, on a 1990 album titled Boom Chicka Boom. That album — his 76th! — also included a cover of Harry Chapin’s ‘Cat’s in the Cradle.’

Costello must like the song well enough because he opted to record a version for his 2003 Americana album Secret, Profane & Sugarcane.

[Verse 1]
I’m sorry to say that you don’t know me
I’m sad in ways you never understood
Each time I try to tell the ugly truth
You always let it pass you by
You said I’d never tell you a lie
Just because I could

[Verse 2]
Did you really think i was a bad man?
You always said that that should be my middle name
But you don’t know the half of it
You don’t know how that name fits
You don’t know my hidden shame

[Chorus]
Hidden shame, shame, shame
And I can’t get free
From the pain and the torture
And the misery
Must it be my secret for eternity?
Till you know my hidden shame you really don’t know me

[Verse 3]
Well, thеre’s a different kind of prison
And it don’t еven have to look much like a cell
It’s already on your mind
Boy, we can see it in your eyes
So, here’s the bars and walls as well

[Verse 4]
Well, you know I’m never coming home, babe
You said you’d stand by me until i cleared my name
Sure it’s easy to be strong
When you know the charge is wrong
But the days and weeks get long
When you’ve got a hidden shame

[Chorus]
Hidden shame, shame, shame
And I can’t get free
From the pain and the torture
And the misery
Must it be my secret for eternity?
Till you know my hidden shame you really don’t know me

[Bridge]
I had a friend when I was just a boy
We were like brothers, we would run and hide
And we went walking on a high hillside
And I really don’t how it happened
He turned to me and had this strange look in his eye
And not a single word was spoken
I must have pushed him, but i don’t remember why
And all at once, he lay there broken
And i walked down without him and I buried it deep inside

[Chorus]
Hidden shame, shame, shame
And I can’t get free
From the pain and the torture
And the misery
Must it be my secret for eternity?
Till you know my hidden shame you really don’t know me

[Verse 4]
They say you always hurt the one you love
And I’m not saying if I did or if I didn’t
It’s just like shame, that kind of love is always hidden
They locked me up here for the ideas in my head
They never got me for the thing i really did

[Chorus]
Hidden shame, shame, shame
And I can’t get free
From the pain and the torture
And the misery
Must it be my secret for eternity?
Till you know my hidden shame you really don’t know me
You really don’t know me
You really don’t know me

One thought on “Song of the Day #5,280: ‘Hidden Shame (Demo)’ – Elvis Costello

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Here is Cash’s version:

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