July 2: Elvis Costello released “Imperial Bedroom” in 1982

It may not have been a commercial blockbuster, but it certainly earned the respect of legions of musicians and critics who would have previously disdained such a punk rocker. And, perhaps, that’s also the reason that he abandoned this immaculately crafted style of work on his next album, Punch the Clock.
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)

Elvis Costello’s Imperial Bedroom is really a mansion, each of whose rooms is decorated with painstaking care and detail by the artist. In every aspect of this masterfully wrought, conceptually audacious project, he’s managed to bulwark his emotional directness with vision and clarity — and to make an album that lingers and haunts long after the last note has died out. Like a long, episodic novel — or a long, episodic relationship — you can look back when it’s over and measure how far you’ve traveled.
-Parke Puterbaugh (rollingstone.com)

Man Out of Time:

Released 2 July 1982
Recorded AIR Recording Studios, London, 1982
Genre New wave, baroque pop
Length 50:48
Label F-Beat (UK)
Columbia (US)
Producer Geoff Emerick “from an original idea by Elvis Costello”


Imperial Bedroom is a 1982 album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. It was the second Costello album, after Almost Blue, not produced by Nick Lowe. Production duties were handled by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick. “I wanted to try a few things in the studio that I suspected would quickly exhaust Nick’s patience,” as Costello put it in the liner notes to the 1994 Rykodisc reissue.

It was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll. In 1998 readers of Q magazine named it the 96th greatest album ever. In 1989, it was ranked No. 38 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 100 Greatest Albums of the 80s. In 2003, the album was ranked number 166 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at No. 59 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s”. The album reached number 6 in the UK charts and number 30 in the USA but the singles were less successful. “You Little Fool” and “Man Out of Time” each briefly appeared in the UK Singles Chart, but neither charted in the USA.

Beyond Belief:

Pidgin english:

I admit it–I love the lyric sheet. Helps me pay attention, though not always, and persuades me absolutely that “The Long Honeymoon” and “Kid About It” are as great as songwriting ever gets. But it also shores up my impression that he can be precious lyrically, vocally, and musically, and gnomic for no reason at all–in short, pretentious. And while I’m glad he’s got soul, too often he invests emotion in turns of phrase he should play cool.
Robert Christgau

LP track listing

All songs written by Elvis Costello unless otherwise indicated.

Side one
  1. “Beyond Belief” – 2:34
  2. “Tears Before Bedtime” – 3:02
  3. “Shabby Doll” – 4:48
  4. “The Long Honeymoon” – 4:15
  5. “Man Out of Time” – 5:26
  6. “Almost Blue” – 2:50
  7. “…And in Every Home” – 3:23
Side two
  1. “The Loved Ones” – 2:48
  2. “Human Hands” – 2:43
  3. “Kid About It” – 2:45
  4. “Little Savage” – 2:37
  5. “Boy with a Problem” (music: Costello; lyrics: Chris Difford; additional lyrics: Costello) – 2:12
  6. “Pidgin English” – 3:58
  7. “You Little Fool” – 3:11
  8. “Town Cryer” – 4:16


  • Elvis Costello – vocals, guitar, piano
  • Steve Nieve – piano, organ, harpsichord, accordion, guitar on “Tears Before Bedtime,” orchestrations
  • Bruce Thomas – bass
  • Pete Thomas – drums