Friday, December 10, 2010

Elvis Costello: Alison

I’ll have to confess that Elvis Costello’s original recording of “Alison” is the definitive version of the song and it is the most popular version in the UK and among American music junkies. Such was not the case with mainstream America in 1978, as adult contemporary radio tended to gravitate towards Linda Ronstadt’s version.

Costello’s original was released twice as a single in the US, but it failed to chart either time in 1977. The refrain from the tune became the title for his debut LP, “My Aim is True.”

Linda Ronstadt’s Version

Although this fourth single from Ronstadt’s double platinum “Living in the USA” album failed to chart in the Hot 100, it was a mid-charting AC hit where it peaked at #30. The sax solo is by David Sanborn. Mike Mainieri plays the vibes which are also featured heavily on this cut.

I have a picture disc of this single and it may be the first picture disc that I purchased. It was either this song or The Cars “Just what I Needed” a song that I first heard in Columbus, Ohio on my trips to that city several times that same year.

While many die hard rock fans and critics have panned Ronstadt’s version of this song, I think the production is excellent – but I also like the original as well.

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