Words & Music:

Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus (Elvis Costello)

Transcribed by: Jeremy Thompson


-n.c. = no chord (i.e., single notes played)

-when (n.c.) notes and (chords) are presented together within slashes (/), it indicates they are occurring at the same time.  If the guitarist is unaccompanied, he will have to decide which set of notes to play.


E / Em


       Bm      G      Em      F#

With a handful of backhanders

      Bm       G   Em      F#

And a bevy of beauty

Bm         G      Em         F#

Going off-limits, going off duty

 Bm            G      Em             F#    G

Going off the rails, going off with booty

[G]                                Em

The tell-tales of fiction found on all the criminal types

 Bm        G      Em      F#

Lead to a higher ranking man

     Bm       G   Em        F#

Or a face within red stripes



     B         F#

The boys next door

     B        F#

The mums and dads

 B            F#

New-weds and nearly-deads

 B                  F#

Have you ever been had

     B  (n.c.) B-E-D#-C# / (chord) F#-F#-F#-F#-F#-F#

In Clubland?

     B  (n.c.) B-E-D#-C# / (chord) F#-F#-F#-F#-F#-F#

In Clubland?


There's a piece in someone's pocket

To do the dirty work

You've come to shoot the pony

They've come to do the jerk

They lead 'em halfway to paradise; they leave you halfway to bliss

The ladies' invitation

Never seemed like this




Em / (n.c.) D#-C#-B (chord) B /   (*see below) G / F# /



     B       A       G         F#     D        E        D   E

The long arm of the law slides up the outskirts of town

B     A        G        F#      D   E    D         E

Meanwhile in Clubland they are ready to pull them down...   hey!


Bm / (n.c.) E-D-C# (chord) G / (n.c.) B-A-B (chord) F# /

Bm / G  G-G  F#  F#-F#    Bm / G  F#    Bm / G  F#


The right to work is traded in

For the right to refuse admission

Don't pass out now-there's no refund

Did you find out what you were missing?

The crowd is taking forty winks, minus ten percent

You barely get required sleep

       Bm        G      Em       F#    G

To go lingering with contentment

[G]                   Em (n.c.) E-F#-G-A-B-B

Thursday to Saturday, money's gone already

Bm           G      Em            F#

Some things come in common these days

     Bm         G    Em      F#

Your hands and work aren't steady


CHORUS:  [repeat last line 2x]


Em / Bm




* the section before the middle (which begins "The long arm of the law...") finishes with Elvis playing jagged three-note phrases high on the guitar neck. Here they are (each measure counts twice):


  G                              F#








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