Radio Is Everything

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I'm sitting here wondering if this matchbox will hold my dreams
Will the red head in my arms go up in flames?
Or dissolve mighty regimes with her screams, or so it seems
She dragged my face from the eye to my lip on the rough side of the striking strip
To the port side of a sinking ship
Staring in a compact mirror
A siren calling from another era
While you made faces and then blew kisses
Drowned in a pool that hypnotized Narcissus

They say I have a perfect face for radio
And a trumpet for listening
A cheek to turn to you
An eye for glistening
Tear that tear from me
Hold it in your memory
Pull away the powder and pain painted dream
Of this and that disgrace
A silver band of marching soles
A button of brass an epaulet of gold
That lenten light, that slight fanfare that consoles
That trivial, sniveling rosary, that ring-a-ding rosemary,
Condemned a man, alas, at last, at requiem mass

I sound much better than I look
Like a hero in a book
Now there is too much at stake
But perhaps you mistook my mistake
For the tip in the print you dusted for
From the hand you forgot to shake

Tumbledown Dick said to King Oliver
"I don't shrink down at the thought of you
Give the people back their ringlet Prince just like you ought to do
Journey far from here like Gulliver
To lands at the edge of everywhere
That we have still to discover
Where there's a sole of a jackboot in a broken brace
Poised above a human face forever and ever"

You don't need to see my face
Radio Is Everything
You don't need to know my name
Radio Is Everything
The lie that I tell
It just doesn't matter
If I should deceive you
Or if I should flatter
If your bankroll gets thin while some kitty gets fatter
Radio Is Everything
From the straight to the narrow to the broadcast from within
Radio Is Everything

Radio Is Everything
Written byElvis Costello, Michael Leonhart, Bill Frisell & Nels Cline
Performed byElvis Costello
String arrangementMichael Leonhart
MusiciansElvis Costello - voice
Michael Leonhart - trumpet, upright piano, Vox Continental combo organ & surdu
Bill Frisell - J.W. Black guitar & loops
Nels Cline - tiger-eye lap steel loops
Nick Movshon - drums
Emily Hope-Price - cello
Chris Bullock - alto flute
Danton Boller - acoustic bass fill
Recorded2020, New York (instrumental) and "via Electrical Wire" (vocal)
ReleasedOctober 30, 2020
AlbumsHey Clockface, 2020
Michael Leonhart Orchestra: The Normyn Suites, 2022

Only known performance:
February 19, 2023, New York, NY
     (1 known performance)

Hey Clockface album cover.jpg

Michael Leonhart Orchestra The Normyn Suites album cover.jpg

Internal links