Saturday, September 28, 2013

painted from memory

Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach created a profound expression of love's labors lost with the classic torch songs of this magical collaboration. 'Painted From Memory' came together after the pair worked together on a song for a movie soundtrack.  Costello reveals:  "We were both approached by Alison Anders and Karen Rachman who were respectively, the director and music supervisor for a movie called “Grace of My Heart”, in 1995, and, uh, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Karen’s name, but she’s been the music supervisor on a number of films such as “Pulp Fiction”; the new “Rugrats” movie and “Boogie Nights”, so she has quite a lot of experience of putting together people from different worlds and from different generations even. I had even been approached a little earlier than Burt to write one song for the film and it’s the story of a fictional songwriter and her personal life... She gets to this dramatic point in her life and they needed this big, big, sort of ballad.
So it put us in a situation of having, like, something to shoot for, you know. And if had just been a theoretical thing-shall we try and write a song, well it just have been about pomegranates, or aardvarks or something. You know it could have a very abstract idea to write about, instead of which we had a very definite thing and schedule which was a matter of days in order to turn the song around.  We live on different sides of the world, you know-I live in Dublin, Burt lives in Los Angeles and we ended up writing the song over the telephone and a little while later we were asked to take the song into the studio and do a version for the end titles and after we had that experience I think it was fairly inevitable that we would want to go on and do some more because it just felt right...You know writing a song which might have been something of a tentative thing, actually was a very smooth process. We trusted one another. Burt was doing something unusual and he continued to do that throughout the project, which was giving up the sole responsibility for writing the music. I mean he normally collaborates with lyricists, he doesn’t work with a composer, but obviously I want to have a say in the musical side of things, being as that’s the way I write and he accepted that so that in itself made this collaboration different from any he’d engaged in, and it affected the kind of detail and the objective of his writing-to try and sustain the mood of the first song in some way through the other songs and use the sound which I think is rather timeless which you find in a pop orchestra as opposed to self-consciously looking for something to modernise our music, and use a breakbeat or something."

Bacharach considers:   "It's a pretty good theme for the both of us.  I've always been inclined to write romantic music, hopefully from the heart. There are not a lot of up-tempo songs in my catalog...It's also the work of two craftsmen, who know what we're doing -- two people who are willing to explore and stick with something, whether it's one note or one bar, and not let it go until we know that it's right."

'Painted From Memory' went to number seventy-eight in the US, sixty-nine in Japan, thirty-eight in New Zealand, thirty-three in the Netherlands, thirty-two in the UK, twenty-nine in Norway, twenty-six in Australia, and eighteen in Sweden.  It was the first album from Costello in over two years and the first in twenty-one years for Bacharach.

"I Still Have That Other Girl" won a Grammy for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" for Bacharach and Costello.

"I Still Have That Other Girl" - by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach 


"This House Is Empty Now"

"My Thief"

"What's Her Name Today?"

"God Give Me Strength"

'Because It's a Lonely World'  was a documentary directed by Irish film producer Phillip King that follows the production of the album.

'Painted From Memory' 
full album:

All songs written by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach.

"In the Darkest Place" – 4:19
"Toledo" – 4:35
"I Still Have That Other Girl" – 2:46
"This House Is Empty Now" – 5:10
"Tears at the Birthday Party" – 4:38
"Such Unlikely Lovers" – 3:24
"My Thief" – 4:20
"The Long Division" – 4:15
"Painted from Memory" – 4:12
"The Sweetest Punch" – 4:09
"What's Her Name Today?" – 4:08
"God Give Me Strength" – 6:11

Illyana Douglas in “Grace of My Heart”

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