Elvis Costello Says He Won’t Perform “Oliver’s Army” Anymore And Radio Stations Should Stop Playing It

Kate Green/Getty Images

Elvis Costello Says He Won’t Perform “Oliver’s Army” Anymore And Radio Stations Should Stop Playing It

Kate Green/Getty Images

In a new interview with The Telegraph, Elvis Costello said that he will no longer perform one of his most popular songs, “Oliver’s Army,” and asked that radio stations no longer play it. On the hit 1979 track, which is about the conflict in Northern Ireland, Costello sings the line: “Only takes one itchy trigger/ One more widow, one less white n—–.” Over the last couple decades, radio stations have often censored the word when playing the song.

“If I wrote that song today, maybe I’d think twice about it,” Costello said in the new interview. “That’s what my grandfather was called in the British army – it’s historically a fact – but people hear that word go off like a bell and accuse me of something that I didn’t intend.”

“On the last tour, I wrote a new verse about censorship, but what’s the point of that?” he continued. “So I’ve decided I’m not going to play it. [Bleeping the word] is a mistake. They’re making it worse by bleeping it for sure. Because they’re highlighting it then. Just don’t play the record!”

“You know what. It [not playing it] would do me a favor,” he went on. “Because when I fall under a bus, they’ll play “She,” “Good Year For The Roses,” and “Oliver’s Army. I’ll die, and they will celebrate my death with two songs I didn’t write. What does that tell you?”

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