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Today's ear X-tacy: Elvis Costello "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"

Elvis Costello

Today's ear X-tacy features a classic track or deep-cut from the Alternative era every weekday at 10:10.

Elvis Costello released his tenth studio album, King of America, on February 21, 1986. The album was credited to "The Costello Show featuring the Attractions and Confederates" in the UK and Europe and to "The Costello Show featuring Elvis Costello" in North America.

“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” was the first single release from the album. The song was originally written for and recorded by Nina Simone in 1964. Over the years, two covers became worldwide hits. British band The Animals did a blues rock version in 1965, and in 1977 the disco group Santa Esmerelda had a hit with their rearrangement.

Costello’s 1986 version was a late addition to the album. He had originally intended to record "I Hope You're Happy Now", but throat problems during the final sessions prevented him from doing so.

In the King of America liner notes, Costello says:

“Rather than scrap the session we cut a slow, violent version of the Animals/Nina Simone song: "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". The next day we borrowed Michael Blair from Tom Waits' band to add a marimba part, and the record was complete. This may seem ironic as I attacked the song with a vocal capacity that Tom might have rejected as being too hoarse”

John is the mid-morning host on WFPK. Email John at jtimmons@lpm.org

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