Accidents Will Happen

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"Accidents Will Happen"
Single by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
from the album Armed Forces
B-side "Talking in the Dark" and "Wednesday Week"
Released 4 May 1979
Format 7" single
Recorded 1978
Genre New wave
Length 3:00
Label Radar
Writer(s) Elvis Costello
Producer(s) Nick Lowe
Elvis Costello and the Attractions singles chronology
"Oliver's Army"
"Accidents Will Happen"
"I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down"

"Accidents Will Happen" is a song written by Elvis Costello. It first appeared on the 1979 album Armed Forces, which he recorded with The Attractions. In reference to the song title, the cover of the single was printed inside-out, and the run-out groove on side A reads "Porky Prime Cuts Will Happen" (referring to the trademark signature of cutting engineer George Peckham). The record had two B-sides; "Talking in the Dark" and "Wednesday Week". Released as the second single from Armed Forces album, it reached No. 28 on the UK Singles Chart in June 1979.

The accompanying music video, by Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, was one of the 35 videos selected for the Museum of Modern Art's "Golden Oldies of Music Video" exhibition in 2003.[1]

In 2004, Entertainment Weekly voted it as one of Costello's top 10 greatest tunes.[2]


The popular Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation, which is known for naming episodes after hit songs from the 1980s, named a controversial two part episode after this song in 2004.

Japanese singer Kyosuke Himuro covered this song.[3]

In E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Elliott's brother, Michael, sings this song in the family kitchen after coming home from school.[4]

British rock band Marillion covered this song at their 2007 fan convention.


  1. ^ "Golden Oldies of Music Video". MoMA. 2003-05-01. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  2. ^ "Accidents Will Happen". Pump It Up: Elvis Costello's 10 Greatest Tunes (Entertainment Weekly). 9 October 2004. 
  3. ^ 氷室京介. "Accidents Will Happen". YouTube. SONANECHI. Retrieved 4 October 2008. 
  4. ^ "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Soundtrack". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 4 October 2008. 

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