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Today's ear X-tacy: Elvis Costello & The Attractions "Pump It Up"

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

45 years ago today, Elvis Costello released his second studio album, This Year’s Model. It was the first with his new band, The Attractions. “Pump It Up” was the second single to be released from the album and has become one his most well-known songs, always a favorite in his live shows.

Costello wrote the song in response to the debauchery he witnessed during the Stiff Records' tour in 1977. He was upset that his road-mates were taking the 'sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll' philosophy rather too literally.

Musically, the song was inspired by Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues"; in his 2015 autobiography Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink, Costello explained: "'Pump It Up' obviously took more than a little bit from 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'. One night, many years later, Bob Dylan said to me: 'U2! How could they do that to you? How could they take your song like that?' It took me a moment to know what he was talking about, and a moment more to realize that he was putting me on. But then, U2's 'Get On Your Boots' was probably to 'Pump It Up' what 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' is to Chuck Berry's 'Too Much Monkey Business'."

On a side note, it’s been said that Madonna learned to play the drums by playing along to this song.

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

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