The Night Elvis Costello Flipped the Script on ‘SNL’

Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello | Shutterstock

Elvis Costello’s Defiant ‘SNL’ Moment: A Look Back

It was December 17, 1977. With the Attractions in tow, Elvis Costello made his ‘Saturday Night Live’ (SNL) debut. What unfolded next would become a defining moment in live television history. Barely into their scheduled performance of “Less Than Zero,” Costello swiftly halted the band, “I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but there’s no reason to do this song here.”

Flipping the Script

Without missing a beat, Costello and the Attractions dove into “Radio, Radio” – a pointed critique of English radio’s corporate stranglehold. This wasn’t just a change of tune but a rebellious stand against the norm. A bold move that led to Costello’s 12-year ban from ‘SNL.’

The Fallout and Return

The aftermath was immediate. Costello’s daring switcheroo earned him a ban from ‘SNL,’ a prohibition that lasted until 1989. But the incident also cemented his reputation as a fearless artist unafraid to buck the system. Watch the clip:

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