Elvis Costello and Saturday Night Live

There’s a famous story about Elvis Costello appearing on Saturday Night Live, back in 1977, when the show was still pretty brand new. Because SNL is live, timing is critical. Costello was supposed to sing Less Than Zero and the show’s timing was based on that fact. But in the middle of the song, he suddenly stopped and switched into the song he originally wanted to play, Radio Radio. Pissed Lorne Michaels off and he was banned from the show. This is an old, well known story. If you are interested, follow the link above and you can watch the video.

Here’s the part of the story I did not know. In 1999, Lorne and Elvis had made up and Elvis was invited back on the show as a surprise guest. Here’s how that went.



  • Moeskido

    I saw the first Elvis Costello appearance when it first aired. It was one of the reasons I loved both live tv and SNL. This is a hell of a follow-up that I never heard about.

  • franksspam

    You slightly misread the article. They made up in 1989 and he came back on the show. But then 10 years later, in 1999, he did the surprise appearance with the Beastie Boys as a parody of the original appearance.

    I knew something was odd when you said 1989 and the Beasties were signing Sabotage, which wasn’t released until 1994.

    • Dave Mark

      Thanks, Frank. Good catch. Fixed.

  • bobrk

    Chills. I totally remember the first EC appearance, and this one was awesome, too!