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Robert Wyatt

Shipbuilding (3:04)

"Shipbuilding" is a song written by singer/songwriter Elvis Costello and producer Clive Langer. Written during the Falklands War of 1982, Costello's lyrics discuss the contradiction of the war bringing back prosperity to traditional shipbuilding areas of Merseyside (Cammell Laird), Tyneside (Swan Hunter) and Belfast (Harland and Wolff) to build new ships to replace those being sunk in the war, whilst also sending off the…

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Is it worth it?
A new winter coat
And shoes for the wife
And a bicycle

Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding Lyrics


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  • beautifully brilliant .......
  • Suede's version is fucking wank. This is of course the definitive version of a spellbinding song. Graham Coxon did a great live cover of this on a John Peel session in 2004. Similarities with Wyatt's wonderful voice, same accent, always appearing to be on the cusp of cracking...not technically a great singer but who gives a fuck when its beauty is so fragile, so human and so moving.
  • beautiful!
  • I love this - it's just his voice... stunning. (I know I'm saying exactly the same as everyone else on here by the way! ^_^)
  • Man after Robert's voice nobody can pass... It leaves far behind mr Costello version ... not much people can make you forget the original... This is so amazing and yes that Voice is so Amazingly human... One of my 5 top voices of course.... I dive in it just for fun
  • Plaintive fragility. Nice turn of phrase Owen, also agree with the Billy Bragg comment. "Instead of diving for dear life, we could be diving for pearls" And of course, this version isn't blighted by (the usually good) cheese-trumpet of Chet Baker
  • this is one of the strangest songs i have ever heard disguised as a normal one... i am always dumbfounded when it comes on radio
  • There's a wonderful plaintive fragility in Robert Wyatt's voice that is so haunting. Ranks with Billy Bragg's Between the Wars as one of the best anti-war songs.
  • Mr Costello, who others have posited may be a bit of a musical chancer. Not sure myself but give me Robert any day

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