High Fidelity (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"High Fidelity"
High Fidelity Elvis Costello.jpg
Single by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
from the album Get Happy!!
B-side"Getting Mighty Crowded"
ReleasedApril 1980
Format7" single
LabelF-Beat (UK)
Songwriter(s)Elvis Costello
Producer(s)Nick Lowe
Elvis Costello and the Attractions singles chronology
"I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down"
"High Fidelity"
"New Amsterdam"

"High Fidelity" is a song written by Elvis Costello and performed by Costello and the Attractions on their 1980 album, Get Happy!!. Written in 1979, the song was released as the second single from the album and reached number 30 in the UK charts. The b-side was a cover of the Van McCoy song "Getting Mighty Crowded".


In his autobiography, Costello described "High Fidelity as, "an incredibly sad, delusion of a song, in which a couple find themselves in different rooms with different lovers, one of them still irrationally believing their pledge will endure both the initial faithlessness and the solace of revenge."[1] It was first played as a "lumbering" version on the 1979 American Armed Funk tour.[2]

Costello later said, "This is a pretty exciting record. It's very raw singing and a great rhythm track. We cut it in Holland, where we had nothing else to do but go mad in the studio."[3]

The opening line of the song, "Some things you never get used to", is a reference to the song of the same name by Diana Ross & the Supremes on the Motown label.[4]

Release and reception[edit]

"High Fidelity" was a modest commercial success in the UK, reaching number 30 on the charts over a stay of five weeks.[5][6]

Reviewed at the time of release, Rolling Stone said, "Even as Costello whispers menacingly, the tune's tense, martial beat propels him toward the inevitable realization that he doesn't have any choice. He accepts his fate, yet he isn't resigned to it. Not by a long shot."[7] AllMusic declared it a "full-fledged masterpiece".[8]

The Trouser Press said, "'High Fidelity' is a dynamic song (with a bit of Four Tops sound) delivered with convincing grit and wit, and stands as one of Get Happy!!'s high spots.[9]


  1. ^ Elvis Costello (2016). Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink. Blue Rider Press. p. 242. ISBN 978-0399185762.
  2. ^ Tony Clayton-Lea (1999). Elvis Costello: A Biography. Fromm Intl. p. 67. ISBN 978-0880642354.
  3. ^ David Fricke. "Elvis Costello: My Life in 10 Songs". Rolling Stone.
  4. ^ Simon Price. "Simon Price on pop: Elvis Costello's army bares its soul once more". The Independent.
  5. ^ "Elvis Costello". Official Charts. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 122–3. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. ^ Tom Carson (17 April 1980). "Elvis Costello happy? Of course not". Rolling Stone. No. 315.
  8. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Get Happy!!". AllMusic.
  9. ^ Ira Robbins (May 1980). "Get Less Anxious". Trouser Press. No. 50.

External links[edit]