List: Top Five Story Songs — No. 4

4. King Horse, by Elvis Costello.

King Horse on Spotify.

This is, without a doubt, the best juggling song ever.

It’s from Elvis’ best album, Get Happy!, which I was listening to quite a bit in the winter of 1981-82, when I learned how to juggle. Besides being a great song, it has lots of wild starts and stops and timing changes, perfect for throwing in tricks. In fact, the lyric I quoted at the top of yesterday’s post is precisely the point of juggling nirvana, for this or any other song.

As jugglers go, by the way, I claim nothing but amateur status. I can keep three objects in the air pretty well, but try adding a fourth and there are soon four objects on the floor. But three, three I can do. And when I hear this song, my arms start itching to juggle.

My second favorite juggling song is Modern Love by David Bowie. Beyond that, really, any song will do.

Not much of a story, eh? Well, it is No. 4…


By the way, I mentioned that what songs mean to us is often different from what the songwriter originally intended. So what did Elvis Costello intend with King Horse? Some interesting discussion here.


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