Go spin a song: An idea that didn’t quite work


My Aim is True

With Barney in London and me in San Francisco, we spoke on the phone in early 1977 maybe, arranging to meet. I mentioned how i thought that Elvis Costello (EC) had so many songs he could do a show using a TV-type roulette wheel to dial for songs on stage. EC tried doing this in San Franscisco in the seventies sometime, he had a wheel of songs and somebody would come up on stage and spin a song. Got a lousy review from Joel Selvin. I just read about it, didn’t go.

The picture shows the idea in practice, you spin Elvis and his guitar points to a song title, the item promotes the ‘My Aim Is True’ LP, which dates to 1977. This is a USA piece of memorabilia, not a UK one, and the chances are that it WAS NOT done by Barney, but was done by the marketing guys at Columbia Records in the USA. Quite whether this ties in with my spinner story god only knows, but the idea had to come from somewhere and maybe travelled thru a series of conversations. Yeah that seems right, “it was an idea they were trying out to see if it worked,” don’t recall where I heard or read that though.

I know there was a review of it in, as I say could be in SF Chron by Selvin I think. The reviewer said it mixed-up EC’s love-sick-sadsack songs with his wry-detached humor jibes and it was difficult for Costello to switch emotions unprepared. It must have appealed to the music-hall-Vaudeville performer in him to try it on.

I hereby mention with glee: