Girls Talk (Elvis Costello song)

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"Girls Talk"
Single by Dave Edmunds
from the album Repeat When Necessary
B-side "Bad is Bad"
Released 25 May 1979
Format 7-inch 45 rpm record
Recorded 1978
Genre Rock, new wave
Length 3:25
Label Swan Song
Songwriter(s) Elvis Costello
Producer(s) Dave Edmunds
Dave Edmunds singles chronology
"A1 On The Jukebox"
(1979)
"Girls Talk"
(1979)
"Queen of Hearts"
(1979)

"A1 On The Jukebox"
(1979)
"I Hear You Knocking"
(1979)
"Queen of Hearts"
(1979)
"Girls Talk"
Single by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
A-side "I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down"
Released March 1980
Recorded 1979
Genre Ska, new wave
Length 1:56
Label F-Beat (UK)
Columbia (USA)
Songwriter(s) Elvis Costello
Producer(s) Nick Lowe
Elvis Costello and the Attractions singles chronology
"Accidents Will Happen"
(1979)
"Girls Talk"
(1980)
"High Fidelity"
(1980)

"Accidents Will Happen"
(1979)
"I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down"
(1980)
"High Fidelity"
(1980)

"Girls Talk" is an Elvis Costello song. Originally written during the sessions for Costello's 1980 album Get Happy!!, the song was first recorded by Dave Edmunds in 1979. Edmunds' version peaked at #4 on the UK Singles Chart and #12 in Ireland.

Background[edit]

As with many of Costello's previous songs, it is tricky to ascertain a particular meaning, as his lyrics are replete with such double meanings as "though you may not be an old-fashioned girl, you're still going to get dated".[1] However, in the liner notes for the 2002 Rhino reissue of Get Happy!!, Costello stated that the record was about women's gossip.[2]

The most successful cover version of the song was by Dave Edmunds, to whom Costello says he donated the song "in a moment of drunken bravado."[2][3] Edmunds said, "Elvis came to the studio one day, and he said, 'I've got a song for you.' And he gave me a cassette. Now, it wasn't very good - it was just him on a guitar, and he was rushing through it at a furious pace. At first I couldn't see it. I really liked the complete new arrangement and feel that I put to it. I'm not sure Elvis liked it, mind you. He's quite an intense person and he's quick to point out things that he doesn't like."[4]

Released in June 1979, Edmunds' version charted at #4 on the UK Singles Chart,[3] spending 11 weeks on the chart. It was his final top ten hit in that country,[5] and began his album Repeat When Necessary.

Costello's version, however, did see the light of day when released as the B-side of his single "I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down",[6] and was a fixture of the set lists for his tours for some time after it was recorded.[7]

Music video[edit]

A music video was produced for the song. It features Edmunds and Rockpile playing on the roof of the Warner Brothers Records building in Midtown Manhattan as well as assorted shots of people walking through Manhattan.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Stewart Mason of AllMusic gave the song a positive review, complimenting the tone of "suppressed menace", and saying that "it features some of his sharpest lyrics of the era".[7] In addition, Debra Rae Cohen of Rolling Stone said that although Edmunds' version was "cocky [and] rowdy", "Costello restores the tune's paranoiac underpinnings with the nervous quaver of his voice and soft keyboard parts that echo like footfalls".[9]

Other cover versions[edit]

Linda Ronstadt covered "Girls' Talk" on her 1980 LP, Mad Love.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robert Palmer, Anthony DeCurtis, Blues & Chaos: The Music Writing of Robert Palmer. 2009. p.291. "'Alison' was a hit for Linda Ronstadt, and Dave Edmunds also scored a hit with a Costello song, 'Girls Talk' ('Though you may not be an old-fashioned girl, you're still going to get dated')."
  2. ^ a b Get Happy!! (Inset). Elvis Costello and the Attractions. US: Rhino Entertainment. 2003. R2 73908. 
  3. ^ a b "Costello Reissues Explode With Bonus Tracks". Billboard. July 22, 2003. Retrieved November 17, 2016. 
  4. ^ Carl Wiser. "Dave Edmunds". Song Facts. 
  5. ^ "DAVE EDMUNDS | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  6. ^ Franklin Bruno Elvis Costello's Armed Forces 2005 p.132 "This was another Stax cover, Sam and Dave's "I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down," backed with "Girls Talk," a song EC had given away to Dave Edmunds (whose version hit #2 earlier in the year)."
  7. ^ a b Song Review by Stewart Mason. "Girls Talk - Elvis Costello,Elvis Costello & the Attractions | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  8. ^ Tune In... To 1979. 8 May 2015. Vintage TV. 
  9. ^ Rae, Debra (1980-12-11). "Elvis Costello Taking Liberties Album Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2015-04-15.