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

Elvis Costello covers a Nina Simone classic

The song “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” was originally written for and recorded by Nina Simone in 1964. Her version was released as a downtempo ballad with orchestration. In 1965, the British group The Animals reworked it into a blues rock number and is considered to be the best known version of the song.

Elvis Costello covered the song for his album, King of America, released on February 21, 1986. The track was a late addition to the record. He had originally intended to record "I Hope You're Happy Now", but throat problems during the final sessions prevented him from doing so.

Costello recalled, “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.”

Against his wishes, his US record company Columbia Records released it as a single, finding moderate success in England and Ireland, but did not chart in the US.

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

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

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