Elvis Costello was a punk, even if his music did not sound like it. Just watch what he did on the very first episode of Saturday Night Live. He had been specifically told not to play this song, as it was considered “too controversial,” because the TV network also owned radio stations. Don’t tell Costello what to play!
Interestingly, the Sex Pistols were supposed to be the first musical guests on SNL. Their criminal records delayed work visas, so the debut show added Costello at the last minute. If this was controversial, can you even imagine what havoc they would have wreaked? (Side note: one of my favorite beautiful disasters was the night the Replacements played SNL. Glorious. –Sloane)