Hey Clockface/How Can You Face Me?

Album: Hey Clockface (2020)


  • "Hey Clockface/How Can You Face Me?" is a gypsy jazz-influenced tune, which finds Elvis Costello taking on time itself. "This is a song about picking an argument with time, the very clock face, either running too fast or too slow, depending on the company you keep," explained the singer.
  • The song came out of a productive weekend session in Paris' Les Studios Saint Germain. Working with producer Francois Delabriere, Costello recorded nine songs in two days. He sang live on the studio floor, directing his band from the vocal booth.

    Costello's backing band included his longtime keyboardist Steve Nieve, as well as a horn player, a cellist, a reed player and a drummer/percussionist. "We spoke very little," the singer recalled. "Almost everything the musicians played was a spontaneous response to the song I was singing. I'd had a dream of recording in Paris like this, one day."
  • Elvis Costello's father, Ross MacManus, sang with the Joe Loss Orchestra. This jazzy tune reflects that style.

    "My dad came out of the big bands," Costello told Billboard, "and once in a while I write songs that reference those songs."
  • Said Costello regarding the song's meaning: "'Hey Clockface' is me shouting at the clock, because it's weighing on us all; when you're with the one you love, time seems to speed up."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Oliver LeiberSongwriter Interviews

Long before she was judging contestants on American Idol, Oliver was producing Paula Abdul. Here's how he helped turn this unknown choreographer into a star.

Part of Their World: The Stories and Songs of 13 Disney PrincessesSong Writing

From "Some Day My Prince Will Come" to "Let It Go" - how Disney princess songs (and the women who sing them) have evolved.

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)Songwriter Interviews

Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai were two of Graham's co-writers for some '80s rock classics.

Who Wrote That Song?Music Quiz

Do you know who wrote Patti Smith's biggest hit? How about the Grease theme song? See if you can match the song to the writer.

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's SongsSong Writing

"London Bridge," "Ring Around the Rosie" and "It's Raining, It's Pouring" are just a few examples of shockingly morbid children's songs.

Francis Rossi of Status QuoSongwriter Interviews

Doubt led to drive for Francis, who still isn't sure why one of Status Quo's biggest hits is so beloved.