Elvis Costello performed “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” from his home in Vancouver, where he’s spent the last two weeks in self-quarantine. Filmed for Artists4NHS, all proceeds will go to the UK National Health Service (NHS) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After opening with his classic, Costello discussed the coronavirus crisis. “You can look on social media to find out how you might contribute,” he said. “Pretty much anything you do that adds to the solution rather than adds to the problem is the right thing to do, as you know. You don’t need me to tell you that.”
“There’s my favorite musical revolutionary behind us,” he said, pointing to the photo of Louis Armstrong, “keeping us safe.” He then reads fans’ questions out loud, including a question about his opinion on Mad Love, Linda Ronstadt’s 1980 New Wave album that includes several covers of his songs, including “Alison.”
“I have to be honest, when I heard her version, I thought she sang it well, but I really hated the arrangement,” he said. He admitted he regrets the way he publicly noted this at the time. “I was a little bit too full of myself, to say the least,” he said. He urged listeners to watch the new documentary on the artist, The Sound of My Voice.
Costello and the Imposters spent most of last year touring, recently wrapping up their “Just Trust” North American tour last fall. According to the band, the leg was named after answers to musical questions like “Will they play my favorite song?” or, “Are they going to frighten the horses with a lot of excellent songs that are rarely performed?” Just before the trek, the band embarked on a summer 2019 tour with Blondie.
Elvis Costello and the Imposters dropped an EP titled Purse last spring, which featured contributions from Paul McCartney and Burt Bacharach.