Created with written permissions/agreements with: Universal Music Group.
Elvis Costello: "Punch The Clock" was our chance to get reacquainted with the wonderful world of pop music and still maintain a sense of humour. After Nashville and the labyrinth of "Imperial Bedroom" I was ready to find a different production approach.
Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley certainly knew where the charts were but they also made great records. They had produced hits for The Teardrop Explodes, Dexy's Midnight Runners and Madness. In fact I first met Clive as a fellow producer for 2-Tone Records. By the time I had finished The Specials' debut album, Clive and Alan had moved with Madness to Stiff Records where they cut some of the best pop singles since the finest days of The Kinks.
Despite making the most "English" music on the planet "Clanger and Winstanley" even managed to get Madness to No. 1 in America with "Our House". By 1983 they were pretty irresistible and unstoppable.
(Clive was also an excellent songwriter. "Clive Langer and The Boxes" opened for us on the "Get Happy" tour of seaside towns and out of the way places. I produced a version of Amen Corner's "If Paradise Is Half As Nice" for his "Splash" album on F-Beat. Alan, the quiet and patient one of the team, also had some pretty mean credits to his name including engineering The Buzzcocks' best records).
They favoured the "building-block" method of recording: retaining very little from the original "live" take (often only the drums) and tailoring each instrumental overdub to best serve the arrangement. This system naturally precluded the spontaneity of our past "happy accidents" but could yield startling results when the last piece was in place.
Now to be honest I haven't always been kind about this album. I find it hard to ignore the benefit of hindsight. However I shall try to explain how we fared among the passionless fads of that charmless time: "The Early 80's".
Artist: Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Album: Punch the Clock
Song: Charm School
Written by: Elvis Costello
Performed by: Elvis Costello & The Attractions (with Afrodiziak)
Produced by: Clive Langer & Alan Winstanley
String arrangement: David Bedford
Musicians: Elvis Costello - vocals, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
Caron Wheeler - backing vocals
Claudia Fontaine - backing vocals
Recorded: January-April 1983, AIR Studios, London
Released: August 5, 1983
To obtain rights to a song administered or published by Universal Music Publishing Group. Contact:
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Fax: 310 235 4905
Website: synchexpress(dot)com or umpg(dot)com
Art & Video: Tony Tuthill.