On this day in music history: January 5, 1979 …

On this day in music history: January 5, 1979 – “Armed Forces”, the third album by Elvis Costello & The Attractions is released. Produced by Nick Lowe, it is recorded at Eden Studios in London from August – September 1978. Issued as the follow up to “This Year’s Model”, there are some minor differences between the US and UK releases of the album. The US version deletes the track “Sunday’s Best”, replacing it with “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, And Understanding?”. Initial copies of the LP also come with a three track 7" bonus EP titled “Live At Hollywood High” which includes live versions of “Accidents Will Happen”, “Alison”, and “Watching The Detectives”. The UK and US releases also feature dramatically different cover artwork. In the US, the original painting of a herd of elephants is replaced with another painting with various splatter colors, with the artist name and title painted in bold yellow. The “Live At Hollywood High” EP is reissued as a Record Store Day exclusive in April of 2010, but contains different tracks (“Pump It Up”, “Lip Service”, “Waiting For The End Of The World”) from the same performance, rather than the original three. In 1982, the song “Accidents Will Happen” is quoted by actor Robert MacNaughton in the film “E.T. The Extraterrestrial” during a brief scene. Costello’s original version is also used in an episode of “The Simpsons”.  Remastered and reissued various times on CD since its first digital release in the mid 80’s, “Forces” is most recently reissued on CD in 2007 by Hip-O Records. Audiophile label Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab also reissues album as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2010, with the front side of the LP sleeve featuring the original UK “elephants” cover, and the back side featuring the alternate US cover art. Universal/UMe also issues a 180 gram LP in 2015 using the US cover artwork. “Armed Forces” peaks at number two on the UK album chart, number ten on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.