Cover – Elvis Costello’s “Lipstick Vogue”

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Guitar of the Day 05/11/2015

img-0529Elvis Costello’s Red Stratocaster.

Elvis bought this Strat shortly before the filming of the “Oliver’s Army” videoclip, in which the guitar appears. He would go on to use it live and on stage often over the rest of his career up to the present date.

It is a 1961 Fender Stratocaster in Dakota red (over either an original white finish, or a white primer) with a matching red headstock, maple neck with skunk-stripe and a presumably non-original brass nut.

According to Elvis’ brilliant autobiography, Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink, the guitar was “Impulsively bought on Forty-eighth street [Manhattan]… With my first ever credit card after two or three too many martinis at lunchtime.” before guesting onstage that evening with Richard Hell and the Voidoids at CBGB’s, Photos of the gig and backstage were taken by Roberta Bayley, and some can be seen below.


Elvis Backstage at CBGB’s, preparing to join Richard Hell and the Voidoids onstage on the very day this guitar was first purchased!

Notably Elvis would choose this instrument as his solo accompaniment for his appearance at Live Aid in 1985.


Singing Richard Hell’s”You Gotta Lose” with the Voidoids at CBGB’s.


Backstage at CBGB’s with the Voidoids.

Elvis Costello performing on stage.

Elvis Performing “All You Need is Love” at Live Aid.


The reverse of the guitar as seen during the “Spectacular Spinning Songbook” tour.