Song Of The Day 11/8/2015: Elvis Costello – “Beautiful”


Quarterly Covers Report – Begging your forgiveness in advance for this week’s QCR: I’m racing through all the selections pretty rashly. I’m anticipating a perfect storm of stuff I have to do this week, and since I haven’t been phoning anything in recently I feel some right to slop these write-ups together with Elmer’s Glue and construction paper. I was given a major writing project that could wind up being of major consequence, and that’s due Tuesday. The last installment of The Hidden ’60s is next week and I’ve only gotten through January 1967. There’s stuff I actually have to do for Black Friday for the first time in my entire life. It’s Lucie’s birthday today and we’re going to corrupt some wontons for dinner. The Cardinals are coming to town to face the Seahawks a week from tomorrow and I have to get my hair done for NBC. The pope keeps calling and I’m not interested. Burt Reynolds is commiserating about Sally Field and I’m all like, dude, what does any of this have to do with me, can’t you find another golf partner? I have to anodize all these Air Force medals or we’re going to lose our funding. And then there’s my work with the orphans. So this’ll be a huff-puff-just-send-it-to-the-printers kind of week.

“Beautiful,” written by Linda Perry, is one of this century’s new standards. It’s a great song. It makes up for that other big hit Linda Perry wrote that you can’t escape from. Think twice about hitting that link. Really. Think twice. It’ll get stuck in your head. and you’ll hate me. That’s why I’m not mentioning it by name and giving you a chance to opt out. Consider whether this added knowledge is something you truly can’t do without just a moment more, ’kay? Fine. Anyway, Christina Aguilera recorded “Beautiful” first. I remember my buddy Paul Plagens talking about how great a song it was, and he performed it a couple of times in his sets. A lot of people have covered it: The Lemonheads, Kenny G, Kelly Clarkson, Jason Mraz, the All-American Rejects, and for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, Insane Clown Posse. (Though they rewrote it a little bit and called it “Indestructible.” Because they’re clowns.) Elvis Costello’s brine-and-cotton version was specially recorded for the TV show House, which starred the incomparable Hugh Laurie as a misanthropic doctor from New Jersey. You don’t wanna know about his work with the orphans.

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