(Debuted April 22, 1989, Peaked #19, 14 Weeks on the Chart)
In 1987, Elvis Costello sat down with Paul McCartney to write a few songs for what eventually became McCartney's Flowers in the Dirt album. Eventually they knocked out a dozen songs from the collaboration, and the highest-charting of these was "Veronica," which was on Costello's Spike LP and which McCartney provided the bass line. Costello's songwriting style was similar in some respects to John Lennon's, so it was a natural collaboration for the former Beatle.
In fact, it was the biggest U.S. pop hit of Elvis Costello's career. That is likely a surprise to many, since the song wasn't exactly targeted to the Top 40 and much of the stuff that hit the Top 40 in 1989 was from hair bands, dance groups and teen idols. Not only that, but fans of Costello's work remember him better for his earlier albums. However, as influential and ground-breaking as he was, Elvis Costello was never a draw on the U.S. singles charts.
Rather than going to safe, easily digestible material, the video for "Veronica" touched on an elderly woman in a retirement whose advancing Altzheimer's was causing her to reflect on her own past. Costello, as a narrator, was helpless to do anything but describe what he was seeing. That was a different viewpoint for 1989, but Elvis Costello -- as his body of work will attest -- wasn't afraid to put it out there.