Elvis Costello – Shipbuilding (Instrumental Tab)

Elvis Costello and Clive Langer – Shipbuilding (Tab)

This is easily one of the best protest songs ever written. And one of the best songs of any sort. The lyrics are as nuanced and thought-provoking then any other. But it’s the music – written by Clive Langer – that really makes it shine.

The song is in the key of E minor but you’re hardly ever using the Em chord. In my arrangement there’s a grand total of three bars of it. So the song never feels relaxed or settled. It’s always shifting. The jazzy elements unsettle the tune. All that is added to in Robert Wyatt’s version with his vocal wobbles.

I could keep rambling on but I’ll let you play it.


Buy the Elvis Costello version.
Buy the Robert Wyatt version.

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