Personalities | Elvis Costello | Seventies | Rock

(Guitar, singer-songwriter, b. 1954)

One of new wave’s most celebrated songwriters, Costello (born Declan Patrick MacManus) initially portrayed himself as an angry, revenge-obsessed young man before steadily maturing into a genre-straddling elder statesman. His cheeky appropriation of the name ‘Elvis’ was in tune with the iconoclastic mood of 1977, when his debut album My Aim Is True was released. Temporary backing band Clover were superseded by The Attractions – Bruce Thomas (bass), Steve Nieve (real name Nason, keyboards) and Pete Thomas (drums) – and their early work together, This Year’s Model (1978) and Armed Forces (1979), established Costello as a major artist.

1980’s Get Happy embraced soul music whilst an album of country covers, Almost Blue (1981), signalled expansive musical horizons. Costello went on to work in a variety of genres and with various collaborators; these include the Brodsky (string) Quartet, songwriter Burt Bacharach, opera singer Anne-Sofie von Otter and New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint. Costello’s third wife is jazz pianist Diana Krall.

Styles & Forms | Seventies | Rock
Personalities | Jim Croce | Seventies | Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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