Music Diary Notes: Elvis Costello Says ‘Don’t Buy My Record’

Given how accustomed we have become to pop music stars going anywhere and doing anything to practically beg us to buy their stuff, this announcement from is certainly surprising. Here is the initial post from Elvis:

“Let’s make things sparkling clear”
We at find ourselves unable to recommend “The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook” as the price appears to be either a misprint or a satire.All our attempts to have this number revised have been fruitless so we are taking the following unusual step. If you want…

His site followed up with a more elaborate explanation:

If you should really want to buy something special for your loved one at this time of seasonal giving, we can whole-heartedly recommend, “Ambassador Of Jazz” – a cute little imitation suitcase, covered in travel stickers and embossed with the name “Satchmo” but more importantly containing TEN re-mastered albums by one of the most beautiful and loving revolutionaries who ever lived – Louis Armstrong.

The box should be available for under one hundred and fifty American dollars and includes a number of other tricks and treats. Frankly, the music is vastly superior.

If on the other hand you should still want to hear and view the component parts of the above mentioned elaborate hoax, then those items will be available separately at a more affordable price in the New Year, assuming that you have not already obtained them by more unconventional means.

Tickets are currently on-sale for the Spectacular Spinning Songbook appearances in the U.S., U.K. and Europe during April, May and June in the Spring of 2012. More dates will be announced in the very near future.

The listing noted is at, and includes ONE CD, ONE DVD and a Vinyl record … for $202.63. But fear not – it qualifies for free super-saver shipping! That is right – you are getting the same basic set of music three times. But what makes it so expensive is the limited numbers:

The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!! is a 3-disc (CD, DVD, 10″ vinyl EP) live box set, recorded over a 2-night stand at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on May 11 and 12, 2011. Limited to 1500 copies worldwide, each set is individually numbered with a special commemoration card autographed by Elvis Costello. This super deluxe package includes a 40-page hardcover book packed with candid photos, a tour diary of Costello’s musings from each tour stop, a 20″ x 30″ concert tour poster and a limited edition postcard.

The CD was recorded from both nights’ performances at the Wiltern, shows which The Los Angeles Times called “the kind of uniquely invigorating experience that warrants a buzzword all its own: inspiring.” The DVD is from Costello’s show on May 12, 2011, and includes a special guest appearance by the Bangles, plus bonus footage including behind-the-scenes moments captured with the Imposters as well as extra performances not included in the main set of the show. The 10-inch vinyl record features four songs only available in this set.

All this is housed in a lavish box with a working spinning replica of “The Spectacular Spinning Songbook” on the front cover! Only 1500 copies were printed and autographed so don’t miss out.

Since the super deluxe Elvis Costello & the Imposters: The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!! is a limited edition set, a single CD, DVD, and double-disc version (CD/DVD) will be available next year.

As noted by both Amazon and Costello, this music will be available in separate forms for much less money after the first of the year. What you are paying for is the exclusive extra stuff. Obviously Costello was involved, since he signed 1500 cards they are selling … but also apparently he had no idea that the price would be so obscenely high! It is unclear what sort of cut he gets from this deal.

But Elvis Costello is no stranger to rebelling against commercialism. As one commenter reminded us he got banned from Saturday Night Live for a while due to performing the anti-corporate ‘Radio Radio’ against the wishes of Columbia Records who had an interest in the network. They started out with a few bars of Less Than Zero and then launched into Radio Radio. I couldn’t find the original video of the event, but here is the song!

So I applaud Elvis Costello for taking a stand – even if it costs him money.

Categories: Gear Bits, Music Diary