EC loves to take a regular chord and play it with the third in the bass
instead of the root-like a D with an F# on the bottom. I once read an
interview with Paul McCartney where they asked him what it was about Brian
Wilson's Pet Sounds that he drew on for inspiration during his Sgt. Pepper
period, and he said "Brian would take a C chord and play a G in the bass."
You can find these "5th in the bass" chords all through the songs of
McCartney and Brian Wilson. I haven't transcribed that much EC yet, but I
know he likes the 3rd and 7th quite a bit. Steely Dan & Co. take the whole
thing even farther by putting notes in the bass which aren't even in the
chord at all, like an F chord with a G in the bass going to a G chord with
a C in the bass. Or an A chord with a G in the bass.
But I digress! The chord is Sulky Girl is a D chord, but with an F# in the
bass. At the beginning of the Bridge he sings: "Sul...ky Girl" and right on
"Girl" he plays the D/F# chord. So D IS the right chord, but putting that
F# in the bass is what makes it sound so cool. Then he does it again on
"cry" in "when you cry". What happens after that is wild, and I'm not sure
what the guitar is doing, but the bass is going C C E C F E C. I think the
guitar is just playing C to F to C, switching to F when the bass does.
What a great song-and as with most great songs, the bassline is a melody,
not just a bunch of chord roots. The next part is great.
It's like money in the bank (bass: C E C F E C)
Your expression is blank (bass: C C E F E C)
But while the chance appears (bass: C C F C F)
I think your chords are right, except maybe it goes C F C instead of F C
F-my mail program has everything so mixed up that I can't tell what goes
with what anyway.
But I digress-when it goes to the little vamp on sulky girl, the bass
player does the third in the bass trick again, this time on the C chord.
The bass goes: G G F F E D C, with the E hitting right when the C chord
Earlier in the song, on the chorus there's another hint of 3rd in the bass.
On "hold your tongue" the bass plays F# D G.
The hardest part for me to hear is "never been that strong". The bass here
is just wicked! My trick for picking out hard basslines is to record the cd
onto a 2 speed tape deck at the slow speed and then listen to it at the
fast speed. This makes Mssr. Costello sound like Alvin the Chipmunk, but it
also brings the bassline up exactly one octave into the guitar's range and
makes the pitches very clear. The only problem is when the bass starts
playing really fast, like he's playing here.
Oh-wait-there's the McCartney chord! On the "though" of "although" the bass
is running up off of an E, so at the moment the guitar hits A, the bass is
on E, the fifth.
Here's another trick: rest your finger on pause and hit it right after he
says "although" and let the sound of it roll around in your head in the
ensuing silence. God I love Elvis Costello! Have you ever heard that song
that Prince wrote called "I Love You More Than I Did When You Were Mine"?.
It was covered by Cindy Lauper on her first album. Not that I'm a giant CL
fan, mind you, but what she said "I know" in "I know....that you're goin'
with another guy..." it killed me. I love that song. Anyway, "I know" is
the exact same rhythm, notes and rhyme as "Although" in this song, but EC
takes it a step further by putting the E in bass.
But I digress. On "never been that strong" the bass player, I think, goes D
D C B A G, so we've got D, D/C, G/B, and then he runs down to the root of
This is that 7th in the bass I was talking about. A D chord with a C in the
bass. This kind of chord loves to have the bass go down one fret to a chord
with the third in the bass: D/C to G/B. EC loves this progression and does
all sorts of exceedingly clever things with it.
But i digress-there's one more third in the bass chord right at the end of
the chorus. When he sings "I'm sorry to say that you knew all along" the
chords are like you have them, G A D G, but after the 2nd G chord comes the
D/F# again, on its way down to Emi A Emi F#mi.
But wait! If anyone has actually read this far, HOW WOULD YOU INTERPRET THE
p.s. If you listen to Pony Street -"If you're going out tonight..." then on
"How can you be" is the McCartney chord again, G/D. Then on "When you lay
our pretty pal" (is that the words?) he goes to Ami with E in the bass. Two
McCartney chords in a row!-I haven't heard that since Pet Sounds. Try
singing that part of the song with just regular G and Ami-it just doesn't
make it. So-maybe elvis has been listening to the Beach Boys! God-I hope he
doesn't listen to the words!!!
. Costello Elvis lyrics