Painted from Memory

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Painted from Memory
Studio album by Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello
Released 29 September 1998
Recorded 1995–1998
Genre Pop, rock
Length 52:07
Label Mercury
Producer Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello
Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello chronology
Extreme Honey
Painted from Memory
The Sweetest Punch
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media (7.0/10)[2]

Painted from Memory is a collaboration between Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach. It was released 29 September 1998 on Mercury Records, a division of Universal Music Group.

The collaboration commenced with "God Give Me Strength", a commission for the 1996 film Grace of My Heart, directed by Allison Anders and starring Illeana Douglas. Apparently pleased with the result, the pair expanded the project to this full album, the first for Costello after an absence of two years, and for Bacharach after an absence of 21 years. Lyrics and music are co-credited to both Bacharach and Costello.

A companion album, The Sweetest Punch, was made concurrently by jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, released in 1999 on another Universal label, Decca Records. It consists of jazz arrangements of the Painted From Memory songs done by Frisell and his studio group. It features vocals by Costello on two songs, and by jazz singer Cassandra Wilson on two songs, one of which is a duet employing both.

Costello had long been a Bacharach fan, and had recorded several Bacharach songs, beginning with "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself," released on a 1978 Stiff Records compilation Live Stiffs Live. Costello would also cover "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" for the soundtrack to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

"I Still Have That Other Girl" won a Grammy Award in 1998 for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" for Bacharach and Costello.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach.

  1. "In the Darkest Place" – 4:19
  2. "Toledo" – 4:35
  3. "I Still Have That Other Girl" – 2:46
  4. "This House Is Empty Now" – 5:10
  5. "Tears at the Birthday Party" – 4:38
  6. "Such Unlikely Lovers" – 3:24
  7. "My Thief" – 4:20
  8. "The Long Division" – 4:15
  9. "Painted from Memory" – 4:12
  10. "The Sweetest Punch" – 4:09
  11. "What's Her Name Today?" – 4:08
  12. "God Give Me Strength" – 6:11

1999 limited edition bonus disc[edit]

  1. "This House Is Empty Now" (live on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, 27 November 1998)
  2. "I Still Have That Other Girl" (live at Shibuya Hall, Tokyo, 10 February 1999)
  3. "In the Darkest Place" (live at the Athenaeum, Melbourne, 16 February 1999)
  4. "Painted from Memory" (live at the Athenaeum, Melbourne, 16 February 1999)
  5. "What's Her Name Today?" (live at Shibuya Hall, Tokyo, 10 February 1999)



Year Chart Position
1998 The Billboard 200 78


Prior to the recording of the album, Irish film producer Phillip King proposed to Costello that a film should be made to document the process.[3] The resulting film, Because It's a Lonely World, was produced by King's company, Hummingbird Productions;[4] the title, taken from the lyrics of "What's Her Name Today?", was also originally a working title for the album itself and part of a promotional tagline for the album.[5] The hour-long documentary originally aired in the UK on Channel 4 on 26 December 1998,[6] and in the U.S., Bravo, which was then expanding its original programming lineup during the midst of a major advertising campaign,[7] aired it on 20 October 1999.[8]


Following the album's release, Costello and Bacharach performed songs from the album together at only a limited number of venues. One of these comprised a second-season episode of the American public television program Sessions at West 54th, later released on VHS. Also at this time, however, Costello began playing a different style of live concerts, accompanied by only longtime keyboardist Steve Nieve on piano. In 1999, Costello subsequently embarked on the Lonely World Tour, performed in this style with Nieve receiving equal billing; songs from Painted from Memory were a prominent part of the setlists on this tour.

Songs from the album remain in both Costello and Bacharach's live repertoires. A rendition of "God Give Me Strength" closes Costello's 2004 orchestrated live album My Flame Burns Blue, while some of Bacharach's current concerts with regular singer John Pagano also incorporate "God Give Me Strength".


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  3. ^ Kelly, John (19 December 1998), "Calling the tune", The Irish Times: 63 
  4. ^ "Hummingbird Productions". Screen Producers Ireland. Retrieved 19 November 2007. 
  5. ^ Dominic, Serene (2003), Burt Bacharach, Song by Song, Schirmer Trade Books, ISBN 0-8256-7280-5 
  6. ^ "When Elvis met Burt", The Irish Times, 24 December 1998: 56 
  7. ^ Fruitkin, Alan James (4 October 1999), "Bravo beefs up for fall", Mediaweek 9 (37): 14, ISSN 1055-176X 
  8. ^ Schoemer, Karen (28 October 1999), "Because It's a Lonely World", Rolling Stone (824): 111, ISSN 0035-791X 

External links[edit]