... A Sour Apple Tree

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Location: Huntington, WV, United States

I'm a 37 year-old guy from Huntington, WV.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The better Elvis

Thanks to the magic of YouTube, we can all relive two of my favorite Saturday Night Live moments, both of which feature Elvis Costello.

In 1977, Elvis Costello was relatively unknown in the US and was booked to replace the Sex Pistols on SNL when they couldn't get into the States due to visa problems. His record company had decided that he should play "Less than Zero," as it was his most well-known song stateside at the time. Costello, however, had other plans.

"Zero" was written to rebuke neo-fascism in Britain and Oswald Mosely, the spiritual leader of said movement. Costello correctly realized that the song would have little or no meaning to the North American audience and, after starting the song, abruptly stopped playing and apologized to the audience. He then instructed The Attractions to play "Radio Radio," a song critical of corporate radio culture (of which NBC was a big part at the time). Lorne Michaels, a notorious control freak, promptly banned Costello from SNL until 1989.

Click here to watch the performance.

In 2000, the Beastie Boys were performing their song "Sabotage" at the SNL 25th anniversary shindig when Costello abruptly interrupted the Boys and, almost in verbatim of his 1977 appearance (this time done for laughs), instructed the Beasties to play "Radio."

Click here for that version.

Thank you, Mr. Costello, for kicking so much ass.


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