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Tracklist

Accidents Will Happen3:00
Senior Service2:17
Oliver's Army2:57
Big Boys2:55
Green Shirt2:42
Party Girl3:20
Goon Squad3:15
Busy Bodies3:33
Sunday's Best3:23
Moods For Moderns2:49
Chemistry Class2:55
Two Little Hitlers3:10
Live At Hollywood High
Accidents Will Happen3:23
Alison3:06
Watching The Detectives6:07

Credits (8)

Notes

Armed Forces is Elvis Costello's third album, his second with the Attractions, and the first to officially credit the Attractions on the cover. It was released in the UK by Radar Records and in North America by Columbia in January 1979. The album had the working title Emotional Fascism.

Many initial pressings of the album included a promotional three-song single, Live at Hollywood High, which was recorded on 4 June 1978. The live tracks, also produced by Nick Lowe, are "Accidents Will Happen," "Alison," and "Watching the Detectives". The UK and Dutch edition included 4 postcards featuring pictures of the band. The American version omitted "Sunday's Best" and replaced it with Costello's version of "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding", which had been released the previous November as the B-side of Nick Lowe's "American Squirm" single, at the end of side two. The Yugoslav edition omitted "Two Little Hitlers" and replaced it by the single song with far more benign title "Radio, Radio".

The album has appeared on Q magazine and Rolling Stone magazine lists of "greatest albums". In the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Elliott's brother, Michael (played by Robert MacNaughton), sings "Accidents Will Happen" in the family kitchen after coming home from school.

Armed Forces was the first barcoded release issued by CBS, at the request of Elvis Costello and his management.

Versions

Filter by
    166 versions
    Image, In Your Collection, Wantlist, or Inventory
    Version DetailsData Quality
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Stereo, Foldout Cover
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 56 597, Radar Records (5) – RAD 14Germany1979Germany1979
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-01-05, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 14UK1979UK1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-01-05, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Fold-out Sleeve; 7", 45 RPM, EP
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 14UK1979UK1979
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, CassetteArmed Forces
    Cassette, Album
    Columbia – PCT 35709US1979US1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, Reel-To-ReelArmed Forces
    Reel-To-Reel, 3 ¾ ips, Album, 4 Track Stereo
    Columbia – 1R1 6944US1979US1979
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-01-05, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Pitman Pressing
    Columbia – JC 35709, Columbia – 35709US1979US1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Fold out sleeve; 7"
    Smash Records (3) – SLEPT 5Sweden1979Sweden1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Gatefold
    Smash Records (3) – SLEPT 5Europe1979Europe1979
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album; 7", 45 RPM, EP
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 56 597, Radar Records (5) – RAD 14Netherlands1979Netherlands1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-01-00, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Stereo
    Columbia – JC 35709, Columbia – 35709Canada1979Canada1979
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-01-00, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Limited Edition, Stereo, Yellow & Black Marbled
    Columbia – JC 35709, Columbia – 35709Canada1979Canada1979
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Stereo
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 56 597, Radar Records (5) – RAD 14Germany1979Germany1979
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 14Australia1979Australia1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album
    Warner Bros. Records – LP-S-65-57Portugal1979Portugal1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Stereo; 7", 45 RPM, EP, Stereo
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 56 597Germany1979Germany1979
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-01-00, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album; 7", 33 ⅓ RPM
    Columbia – JC 35709, Columbia – 35709Canada1979Canada1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-02-10, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Stereo; 7", 45 RPM, EP, Stereo
    Radar Records (5) – P-10627FJapan1979Japan1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Reissue
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 14New Zealand1979New Zealand1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album
    Radar Records (5) – S 90.110Spain1979Spain1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album
    Radar Records (5) – K 56597Italy1979Italy1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album; 7", EP
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 56 597, Radar Records (5) – RAD 14Belgium1979Belgium1979
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-02-00, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album; 7", Limited Edition
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 14New Zealand1979New Zealand1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album
    Arletty – ATTY-L 003Finland1979Finland1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album
    Warner Bros. Records – 56597Greece1979Greece1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album
    WEA – 38.026Brazil1979Brazil1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, CassetteArmed Forces
    Cassette, Album
    Radar Records (5) – RAC 14UK1979UK1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-01-05, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Promo, Stereo, CSM pressing ; 7", 33 ⅓ RPM, EP, Limited Edition, Promo, Stereo, CSM pressing
    Columbia – JC 35709US1979US1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Stereo, Boxed STEMRA
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 56 597, Radar Records (5) – RAD 14Netherlands1979Netherlands1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Repress
    Radar Records (5) – P-10627FJapan1979Japan1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-01-05, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Stereo, Santa Maria Pressing; 7", 33 ⅓ RPM, EP, Limited Edition, Stereo, Santa Maria Pressing
    Columbia – JC 35709, Columbia – 35709US1979US1979
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-01-05, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Stereo, Santa Maria Pressing
    Columbia – JC 35709, Columbia – 35709US1979US1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, 8-Track CartridgeArmed Forces
    8-Track Cartridge, Album, Stereo, Dolby
    Columbia – JCA 35709, Columbia – 35709US1979US1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album
    Warner Bros. Records – 56597Israel1979Israel1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Foldout Cover
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 56 597Europe1979Europe1979
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Fold-out sleeve; 7", EP
    Radar Records (5) – RAD 56 597France1979France1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, CassetteArmed Forces
    Cassette, Album
    Columbia – JCT 35709US1979US1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979-01-05, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album, Terre Haute Press
    Columbia – JC 35709US1979US1979
    Recently Edited
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, CassetteArmed Forces
    Cassette, Album
    Radar Records (5) – 456 597, Radar Records (5) – 4-565 97 XGermany1979Germany1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, 8-Track CartridgeArmed Forces
    8-Track Cartridge, Album, Stereo, Dolby
    Columbia – JCA 35709, Columbia – 35709US1979US1979
    New Submission
    Cover of Armed Forces, 1979, VinylArmed Forces
    LP, Album
    Radar Records (5) – 23(0631)00158Colombia1979Colombia1979
    New Submission

    Recommendations

    Reviews

    • gleebi's avatar
      gleebi
      Just have to weigh in here. I am not having any of the troubles espoused here by others. Fun packaging, great sound, sweet to have the 45 single - the sound is clear and comes through my ATC SCM11s with immediacy and emotive clarity. EC rarely sounded better, and this capped his phenomonal 3-LP run at debut. DynaVector 10x5 cartridge brings this legendary album to life with an alert vibrancy. Do not hesitate to add to your collection unless you have concerns about your Kit. Cheers
      • Fergburger's avatar
        Fergburger
        This pressing is very solid. would recommend picking up - great album. Includes 7" live at Hollywood High School which is also phenomenal.
        • mjskywalker96's avatar
          mjskywalker96
          Not the biggest fan of Costello. My wife’s record. But I will comment on the pressing it’s pretty good. It’s a longer record and the inner groove held together. Recommended on a technical level.
          • Blacula76's avatar
            Blacula76
            Best-sounding pressing I've heard of this fantastic album — and I used to own the 2010 Mobile Fidelity reissue.
            • Berzerkly's avatar
              Berzerkly
              I just pulled this out after reading bass player Bruce Thomas’ autobiography “Rough Notes.” It’s a great pressing! Warm and with lots of depth. I forgot what a great album this is.
              • Dzubox's avatar
                Dzubox
                This is a beauty of an Costelo album. Recording, production and pressing are reaaly good and together with all this small thigs like postkards and grafics, this is a beauty. The sound is organic, analog warm, nice, fresh and crisp.
                • franksrecords's avatar
                  franksrecords
                  I have an extra four original postcards that came with this UK pressing, all in excellent shape. I will be posting them soon in my Discogs store.
                  • freewheeling_frankie's avatar
                    While I don't think it was intended to be released before 5 January 1979, I managed to buy Armed Forces round about the 28th December 1978 - before New Year for sure. I'm guessing the shop (the old Virgin Megastore in Oxford Street) already had their first copies in stock before the New Year holiday, or maybe even before Christmas - understandable enough - and weren't intimidated enough by any embargo on selling a hot new album during a big week for record buying. It would be interesting to know how many copies they sold before the official release date, and whether any other shops did this.
                    • ynotster's avatar
                      ynotster
                      Bought my copy used. Sounds incredibly good. Very clean. Good dynamic range.
                      • BrunoKreisky's avatar
                        BrunoKreisky
                        I wonder, if I should add another version of this release to the Discogs database? In Bournemouth I bought a copy of this album yesterday which has the following features:
                        — The outer sleeve is that of a UK 1st pressing (the fold-out-variant).
                        — There are no postcards — they are probably lost, as there has been at least one previous owner.
                        — The LP is an American Columbia pressing with the etched matrices PAL 35 709-1A and PBL 35709-1B respectively.
                        — The promo E.P. is also an American one with white labels and etched matrices ZSM 165296-1A and ZSM 165297-1B.
                        — On both records there a black stickers, covering the „Columbia“-legends; a circular one on the LP that covers the label‘s rim, and just a black stripe on top of the EP-label, which means it must have been imported to the UK.
                        — The sleeve to the EP is the American one.
                        So what do you mean: does it deserve its own entry?

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                        • Avg Rating:4.24 / 5
                        • Ratings:3778
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