Cast of Thousands

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Cast of Thousands
Cast of Thousands.jpg
Studio album by
Released18 August 2003
StudioParr Street Studios, Liverpool[1]
ProducerBen Hillier, Elbow
Elbow chronology
Asleep in the Back
Cast of Thousands
Leaders of the Free World
Singles from Cast of Thousands
  1. "Fallen Angel"
    Released: 4 August 2003
  2. "Fugitive Motel"
    Released: 27 October 2003
  3. "Not a Job"
    Released: 23 February 2004
  4. "Grace Under Pressure"/"Switching Off"
    Released: 12 July 2004
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[3]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[4]
The Guardian4/5 stars[5]
The Independent4/5 stars[6]
Q4/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[10]
Uncut4/5 stars[12]

Cast of Thousands is the second studio album by English rock band Elbow, released on 18 August 2003 in the UK and on 27 January 2004 in the US by V2 Records. The album title refers to the song "Grace Under Pressure", whose refrain was recorded live at the Glastonbury Festival in 2002, as sung by the audience during the band's set. Participants were then invited to register their names at the Elbow website, with all responders gaining a 'credit' on the album sleeve. The US version of the album contains two additional songs: "Whisper Grass" (which was a B-side to first single "Fallen Angel") and "Lay Down Your Cross" (a B-side to third single "Not a Job"). The Japanese version includes "Whisper Grass" and "Brave New Shave" (another "Fallen Angel" B-side) as bonus tracks.

A companion film was also produced in conjunction with the album's release. It features footage set to all 11 tracks on the UK version of the album, as well as the music videos for the singles "Fallen Angel" and "Fugitive Motel". In the UK the film was released on DVD, whereas in the US it was released as an enhanced video bonus disc with the album.

Album cover[edit]

The two characters on the album cover were 10 feet (3.0 m) tall female and male polystyrene figures, named "Elle" and "Bo", which were originally placed by the side of the M1 motorway near Mansfield, but were removed by police following reported "alien" sightings by passing drivers.[13] Following the conclusion of the promotional activities for the record, the models were auctioned for charity.[14]

Track listing[edit]

UK version[edit]

All tracks written by Elbow; all lyrics by Guy Garvey.

2."Fallen Angel"4:07
3."Fugitive Motel"5:51
4."Snooks (Progress Report)"4:00
5."Switching Off"5:05
6."Not a Job"4:23
7."I've Got Your Number"4:48
8."Buttons and Zips"3:57
9."Crawling with Idiot"4:41
10."Grace Under Pressure"4:57
11."Flying Dream 143"1:48
  • "Snooks (Progress Report)" takes its name from blind blues singer and guitarist Snooks Eaglin[15]
Japanese version bonus tracks
12."Whisper Grass" (B-side of "Fallen Angel" CD1 in the UK)4:29
13."Brave New Shave" (B-side of "Fallen Angel" CD2 in the UK)3:47

US version[edit]

All tracks written by Elbow; all lyrics by Guy Garvey.

2."Fallen Angel"4:07
3."Fugitive Motel"5:51
4."Snooks (Progress Report)"4:00
5."Switching Off"5:05
6."Not a Job"4:23
7."I've Got Your Number"4:48
8."Whisper Grass"4:29
9."Buttons and Zips"3:57
10."Lay Down Your Cross" (B-side of "Not a Job" in the UK)4:40
11."Crawling with Idiot"4:41
12."Grace Under Pressure"4:57
13."Flying Dream 143"1:48

Cast of Thousands film version[edit]

(released 3 November 2003 in UK, 27 January 2004 in US):

Disc one

As the standard album release in each country (11 tracks in UK, 13 tracks in US)

Disc two

(released as a DVD in UK, and as an enhanced CD-ROM in US)


In the UK, there were four singles released from the album:

  • "Ribcage" was released as an online track in May 2003 but was never a full single.
  • "Fallen Angel" (4 August 2003)
  • "Fugitive Motel" (27 October 2003)
  • "Not a Job" (23 February 2004)
  • "Grace Under Pressure"/"Switching Off" EP (12 July 2004)

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Additional vocals on "Ribcage" - The London Community Gospel Choir
  • Strings on "Fugitive Motel" and "Crawling with Idiot" (arranged by Ian Burdge):
    • Ian Burdge, Chris Worsey - cello
    • Stephen Bussey, Catherine Browning, Everton Nelson, Maya Bickel, Alison Dods, Gillon Cameron, Giles Broadbent & Sally Herbert - violins
  • Additional vocals on "Grace Under Pressure" - The London Community Gospel Choir, Jimi Goodwin, Alfie, Marcus Garvey, Beckie Garvey, Gina Garvey, Cathy Davey & the crowd at Glastonbury 2002 (Marcus, Beckie and Gina Garvey are singer Guy Garvey's brother and sisters)


  1. ^ Biography section on Elbow official website Archived 8 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Cast Of Thousands by Elbow". Metacritic. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  3. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Cast of Thousands – Elbow". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  4. ^ Browne, David (19 January 2004). "Cast of Thousands". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  5. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (15 August 2003). "Elbow: Cast of Thousands". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  6. ^ "Elbow: A Cast of Thousands (V2)". The Independent. 17 August 2003.
  7. ^ Naylor, Tony (2 September 2003). "Elbow : Cast Of Thousands". NME. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ Goldstein, Hartley (11 January 2004). "Elbow: Cast of Thousands". Pitchfork. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  9. ^ "Elbow: Cast of Thousands". Q (206): 106. September 2003.
  10. ^ Hoard, Christian (5 February 2004). "Elbow: Cast of Thousands". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 22 February 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  11. ^ "Breakdown". Spin. 20 (30): 96. March 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Rock This Joint". Uncut (76): 100. September 2003. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Giant 'Aliens' Get The Elbow!". NME. 2 July 2004. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  14. ^ Barstein, Brand (6 November 2009). "Elbow: exclusive interview". Q. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ Snooks Eaglin