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Armed Forces
Studio album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Released January 5, 1979 (1979-01-05)
Recorded August 1978 (1978-08)–September 1978 (1978-09), Eden Studios, London
Genre New Wave
Punk rock
Length 40:05
Label Radar (UK)
Columbia (U.S.)
F-Beat (1981 (1981) UK Reissue)
Demon/Rykodisc (October 19, 1993 (1993-10-19) Reissue)
Rhino (November 19, 2002 (2002-11-19) Reissue)
Hip-O (September 10, 2007 (2007-09-10) Reissue)
Producer Nick Lowe
Professional reviews
Elvis Costello and the Attractions chronology
This Year's Model
(1978)
Armed Forces
(1979)
Get Happy!!
(1980)
Singles from Armed Forces
  1. "Oliver's Army"
    Released: February 2, 1979 (1979-02-02) [1]
  2. "Accidents Will Happen"
    Released: May 4, 1979 (1979-05-04) [1]
Alternate cover
US 1979 and 2002 reissue cover, also known as "paint spatter cover"
Promo Single
Live at Hollywood High

Armed Forces is Elvis Costello's third album, his second with the Attractions, and the first to officially credit the Attractions on the cover. It was released in the UK by Radar Records and in the U.S. by Columbia in 1979 (see 1979 in music). The American version deleted "Sunday's Best" and substituted Costello's version of "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding," which had been released the previous November as the B-side of Nick Lowe's "American Squirm" single, at the end of side two. The album originally had the working title Emotional Fascism.

Initial pressings of the album in the UK and U.S. included a promotional three-song single, Live at Hollywood High, which was recorded on June 4, 1978 (1978-06-04). The live tracks, also produced by Nick Lowe, are "Accidents Will Happen," "Alison," and "Watching the Detectives". The UK edition also included 4 postcards featuring pictures of the band.

In 2000 Q magazine placed Armed Forces at number 45 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 482 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Contents

Original LP track listing

All songs written by Elvis Costello, except as noted.

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Side one

  1. "Accidents Will Happen" – 3:00
  2. "Senior Service" – 2:17
  3. "Oliver's Army" – 2:58
  4. "Big Boys" – 2:54
  5. "Green Shirt" – 2:42
  6. "Party Girl" – 3:20

Side two

  1. "Goon Squad" – 3:14
  2. "Busy Bodies" – 3:33
  3. "Sunday's Best" – 3:22
  4. "Moods for Moderns" – 2:48
  5. "Chemistry Class" – 2:55
  6. "Two Little Hitlers" – 3:18

Live at Hollywood High promo single

  1. "Accidents Will Happen" (Live) – 3:18
  2. "Alison" (Live) – 3:08
  3. "Watching the Detectives" (Live) – 5:51

Bonus CD reissue tracks (1993 Rykodisc)

  1. "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" (Nick Lowe) – 3:31
  2. "My Funny Valentine" (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) – 1:28
  3. "Tiny Steps" – 2:42
  4. "Clean Money" – 1:57
  5. "Talking in the Dark" – 1:56
  6. "Wednesday Week" – 2:01
  7. "Accidents Will Happen" (Live at Hollywood High) – 3:18
  8. "Alison" (Live at Hollywood High) – 3:08
  9. "Watching the Detectives" (Live at Hollywood High) – 5:51
  • Tracklisting notes: The Rykodisc reissue placed "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?" after a 15 second silence following "Two Little Hitlers."

Bonus disc (2002 Rhino)

  1. "Tiny Steps" – 2:42
  2. "Busy Bodies" (Alternate version) – 3:48
  3. "Talking in the Dark" – 1:56
  4. "Big Boys" (Alternate version) – 2:56
  5. "Clean Money" – 1:57
  6. "Wednesday Week" – 2:01
  7. "My Funny Valentine" (Rodgers, Hart) – 1:33
  8. "Accidents Will Happen" (Live at Hollywood High) – 3:18
  9. "Mystery Dance" (Live at Hollywood High) – 2:01
  10. "Goon Squad" (Live at Hollywood High) – 3:42
  11. "Party Girl" (Live at Hollywood High) – 3:19
  12. "Stranger in the House" (Live at Hollywood High) – 3:52
  13. "Alison" (Live at Hollywood High) – 3:08
  14. "Lipstick Vogue" (Live at Hollywood High) – 4:26
  15. "Watching the Detectives" (Live at Hollywood High) – 5:51
  16. "You Belong to Me" (Live at Hollywood High) – 2:39
  17. "Chemistry Class" (Live solo) – 2:34

Note: The Rykodisc version has the original tracks and bonus tracks on one CD. The Rhino version has two CDs with the original tracks on the first CD.

Personnel

Charts

Album

Year Chart Peak
Position
1979 Billboard Pop Albums 10 [2]
1979 UK Albums Chart 2 [3]

Singles

Year Single Chart Peak
Position
1979 "Oliver's Army" UK Singles Chart 2 [3]
1979 "Accidents Will Happen" UK Singles Chart 28 [3]

Certifications

Organization Level Date
RIAAU.S. Gold February 23, 1979 (1979-02-23)
CRIACanada Gold March 1, 1979 (1979-03-01)
BPIUK Gold March 6, 1979 (1979-03-06)
BPI – UK Platinum June 6, 1979 (1979-06-06)

Notes

External links


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