Iggy Pop is featured on a new French-language version of Elvis Costello‘s “No Flag,” a song that appears on Costello’s latest studio album, Hey Clockface.
The track, which has Iggy on vocals along with the music from the original Hey Clockface version, gets its release digitally tonight at 12 a.m. ET. A hand-drawn animated lyric video for the updated tune premiered today at RollingStone.com and also is viewable at Costello’s official YouTube channel.
Elvis and Iggy recently took part in a Zoom conversation as part of Rolling Stone’s Musicians on Musicians discussion series, during which Costello revealed that “No Flag” features a subtle reference to an Iggy and the Stooges song.
“[The title] should have been a clue right away,” Costello explained to Iggy. “It shared one word and one letter with a famous song of yours [‘No Fun’], but nobody spotted where it was drawing from because nobody expects me to take a cue from you.”
As for how he wound up singing the tune, Pop notes, “Nobody official asked for it. It was just Elvis and [his wife, jazz artist] Diana [Krall,] asking, ‘Do you want to sing this in French?’ And I thought, ‘Well, the French will be a big chore. I can do that."”
Iggy said of the challenge of doing the song in French, “No other language has vowels that sound like that. Learning a song that’s as quick as ‘No Flag’ took a month of practice because my lips weren’t used to those combinations…I [worked on it] for 40 minutes a day for about five weeks.”
Costello told Iggy that he and his wife loved his performance.
“You sound absolutely convincing in French,” Costello said. “Diana and I were both listening to it with tears in our eyes.”
By Matt Friedlander
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