So there I am wandering along the street with, as is regular, the i-pod on shuffle. The best part of 35,000 songs are on it so it can often be years since I last heard what comes through the headphones. Like with this:-

mp3 : Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Accidents Will Happen

If I was to sit down and thoughtfully list all my favourite EC songs, then this might get a place maybe around the 30s or 40s; not that I don’t like it, but it has never been one that I thought was truly outstanding, mainly as I never took to the way it faded away at the end…..the ‘I know, I know’ refrain annoyed me somewhat back in the day. And listening again while I was walking, I realised it still does…..but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that the opening two and half minutes are rather splendid in that spiteful, new wave sneer that he was so food at when he first burst onto the scene.

It climbed only as far as #29 in the UK charts on its release in 1979, indicating perhaps that it was one that didn’t appeal all that much beyond the immediate fan base.

It came with two b-sides that both come in at around two minutes in length and which, the best part of 40 years on, remain very enjoyable listens, and also highlight how difficult it was to pigeon-hole this most talented of performers:-

mp3 : Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Talking In The Dark
mp3 : Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Wednesday Week



  1. Great single. The original UK 7″ came with the pic sleeve glued to together inside out so you’re just presented with a white sleeve (accidents!). The b-sides came from a rare 7″ given away at a series of gigs at the Dominion theatre.

  2. I’m getting serious deja vu here, JC. Could have sworn I read this post last week.

    Still, great tunes either way.

  3. Love everything about this song. Definite top 10 or even 5 for me. I never get over the fact that, through EC’s prime with the Attractions, the guitar was never a featured instrument, which is true in this classic. No one came close to Bruce Thomas as a bassist.

  4. Armed Forces was my first Costello album. This song was such a wonderful way to begin. As for these B-sides, most of us over here heard them on Taking Liberties. You won’t find many B-side collections as good as that one, and many of us, Echorich included, think of it as just another fantastic album from Costello’s fruitful period.

  5. I will fully take on that shout out from Brian. Yes, Taking Liberties is certainly among my favorite Costello albums – I’m sure we’ve been through this before – and while the #1 Costello song, for me may be ever changing, Accidents Will Happen is certainly my permanent #2. Last time we did this I believe I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea was my #1…might be Man Called Uncle from Get Happy! at the moment…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.