Accidents Will Happen

Album: Armed Forces (1979)
Charted: 28
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This featured in the blockbuster movie ET when Elliot's brother, played by Robert MacNaughton, sang 2 lines of "Accidents Will Happen" under his breath. Costello was asked by Q magazine March 2008 if it paid handsomely. He replied: "No, I don't think they offered any money. We had no way of knowing it was going to be so huge so there was the chance we'd given it for nothing and they'd use it for some big production number. Haha! But you really have to paying attention to notice."
  • In a humorous reference to the song title, the cover of the single was printed inside-out.

Comments: 4

  • The Toner from Eugene, OrThe EP version was recorded live at Hollywood High School. It was included as a bonus with the LP when it was first released in 1979.
  • Steve from Chino Hills, CaThis was from Elvis's third album, Armed Forces. To really get this song you first have to read the lyrics (see the link above). Armed Forces is one of those albums that best listened to all the way through. The songs all build on each other. ' Accidents will happen' sets the pace for the album, just like "Welcome to the working week" sets up "My Aim is True" and "No Action" sets up "This year's model." Somewhere in the song he puts the lines

    "And it's the damage that we do
    And never know
    Its the words that we don't say
    That scare me so"

    So profound, and to think, this is only the first song of the album! Armed Forces is a journey that is led out by Nick Lowe's "What's so funny bout Peace Love and Understanding?" Armed Forces is a work of art!
  • Marlene from Montreal, QcThere was an EP released of this song where Elvis played it live, just with piano, recorded in England (probably at some club)... It was only available on import and was never released here but I heard it when an english friend played it for me.
  • Ted from Phoenix, AzIn 1979 Phoenix, this was one of the few so-called "New Wave" songs to get a lot of airplay on the local album-oriented rock station. It's a great song with great lyrics and less-than-stellar but soulful vocals, but I still don't know from the lyrics what the accident being sung about was.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

00s Music Quiz 1

00s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

Do you know the girl singer on Eminem's "Stan"? If so, this quiz is for you.

Andrew Farriss of INXS

Andrew Farriss of INXSSongwriter Interviews

Andrew Farriss on writing with Michael Hutchence, the stories behind "Mystify" and other INXS hits, and his country-flavored debut solo album.

Harold Brown of War

Harold Brown of WarSongwriter Interviews

A founding member of the band War, Harold gives a first-person account of one of the most important periods in music history.

Women Who Rock

Women Who RockSong Writing

Evelyn McDonnell, editor of the book Women Who Rock, on why the Supremes are just as important as Bob Dylan.

Zakk Wylde

Zakk WyldeSongwriter Interviews

When he was playing Ozzfest with Black Label Society, a kid told Zakk he was the best Ozzy guitarist - Zakk had to correct him.

Holly Knight ("The Best," "Love Is A Battlefield")

Holly Knight ("The Best," "Love Is A Battlefield")Songwriter Interviews

Holly Knight talks about some of the hit songs she wrote, including "The Warrior," "Never" and "The Best," and explains some songwriting philosophy, including how to think of a bridge.