GIRLS TALK (Elvis Costello song)

Girls Talk (Elvis Costello song) 1979

“Girls Talk” is an Elvis Costello song. Originally written for Costello’s 1979 album Get Happy!!, the song was later recorded by Dave Edmunds and Linda Ronstadt. Edmunds’ version peaked at #4 on the UK Singles Chart.

As with many of Costello’s previous songs, it is tricky to ascertain a particular meaning, as his lyrics are replete with such double meanings as “though you may not be an old-fashioned girl, you’re still going to get dated”. However, in the liner notes for the 2002 Rhino reissue of Get Happy!!, Costello stated that the record was about women’s gossip, and that it had been donated to Dave Edmunds “in a moment of drunken bravado”.

Released in June 1979, Edmunds’ version charted at #4 on the UK Singles Chart, spending 11 weeks on the chart. It was his final top ten hit in that country, and began his album Repeat When Necessary. Costello’s version, however, did see the light of day when released as the B-side of his single “I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down”, and was a fixture of the set lists for his tours for some time after it was recorded.

A music video was produced for the song. It features Edmunds and Rockpile playing on the roof of the Warner Brothers Records building in Midtown Manhattan as well as assorted shots of people walking through Manhattan.

Critical reception

Stewart Mason of AllMusic gave the song a positive review, complimenting the tone of “suppressed menace”, and saying that “it features some of his sharpest lyrics of the era”. In addition, Debra Rae Cohen of Rolling Stone said that although Edmunds’ version was “cocky and rowdy”, “Costello restores the tune’s paranoiac underpinnings with the nervous quaver of his voice and soft keyboard parts that echo like footfalls”.