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Elvis Costello on Saturday Night Live


On this date in 1977, Elvis Costello and The Attractions made their first appearance on Saturday Night Live. They were a late replacement for Sex Pistols who could not get visas to get into the country (Johnny because of a drug charge, Steve because of his criminal record and Paul and Sid on general principle).

Their first number went off without a hitch. They played "Watching The Detectives". For their second number, they were scheduled to play "Less Than Zero". They wanted to play "Radio Radio" but it was considered anti-media so SNL said no to that choice. Approximately 8 seconds into "Less Than Zero", Elvis stops the song and his band and apologizes to the live audience for playing "Less Than Zero". The band goes right into "Radio Radio". Elvis Costello was banned from performing on the show ever again. Well...that's an awfully long time. The ban was lifted and he appeared again in 1989.

Here's how it went...

Video: Elvis Costello on Saturday Night Live 12/17/77- youtube

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Todd said...

"They were a late replacement for Sex Pistols who could not get visas to get into the country"

That explains the the slogan on the drummer's t-shirt ... THANKS MALCOLM.

I heard E.C. tell the story that He planned this as a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, who pulled a similar stunt on a British, live television show. In any case, you can see, once he started, he may have underestimated the anger of the offstage powers that be, because he doesn't look comfortable or confident.

Todd said...

(Sorry the last part got cut off)

He does, however, look very pissed off, which was his persona then... the angry young man.

I bought the album the next day.

Club80 said...

Thanks Todd!
That is a great pickup about the Malcolm message. I never heard that before nor noticed it. That is hilarious!

MOOKIE said...

Funny, I posted this back in September and I don't think it got this much attention.

See what happens when this blog gets popular? Thanks to all who link here.

MOOKIE said...

Hey Todd, here's the Jimi Hendrix stunt on the Lulu show 1969. Watch the whole video (9:08). The band breaks into Sunshine of Your Love at the end.

Club80 said...

Hey...I know what you mean. I posted this video originally on March comments at all! Probably not even a look!

Anonymous said...

Great post, thanks for the Jimi clip.

Anonymous said...

wondering if there are any other links floating around online the youtube one is now gone good o'l NBC and there this is ours you cant see it ways....if so thanks, i've heard the song from this night i just need to see it.

MOOKIE said...

Try this link:

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