ELVIS COSTELLO Biography - Musicians


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Name: Declan Patrick MacManus                                                                 
Born: August 25, 1954 London, England                                                         
Elvis Costello (born August 25, 1954) is an English musician and singer-songwriter.           
Costello came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene               
in the mid-1970s, and later became associated with the punk rock and New Wave                 
musical genres, before establishing his own unique voice in the 1980s. Costello's             
lyrics are typically literate[neutrality disputed] and steeped in wordplay, and               
his music has drawn on dozens of genres. Critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote, "Costello,     
the pop encyclopedia, can reinvent the past in his own image".                               
Costello was born Declan Patrick MacManus in St Mary's Hospital, Paddington                   
in London, the son of Mary (née Costello) and Ross MacManus, a musician and                 
bandleader. Costello lived in Twickenham, attending what is now St Mark's                     
Catholic Secondary School in neighbouring Hounslow.[4] With a musically inclined             
father (his father sang with The Joe Loss Orchestra), Costello's first broadcast             
recording was alongside his dad in a television commercial for R. White's                     
lemonade ("I'm a Secret Lemonade Drinker").                                                   
Costello moved with his mother to Birkenhead in 1971. It was there that he                   
formed his first band, a folk duo called Rusty. After completing secondary                   
school at Saint Francis Xavier in Liverpool, he moved back to London where he                 
next formed a band called Flip City, which had a style very much in the pub                   
rock vein. They were active from 1974 through early 1976. Around this time,                   
Costello adopted the stage name D.P. Costello.                                               
To support himself, he worked a number of office jobs, most famously at the                   
Elizabeth Arden cosmetics firm—immortalised in the lyrics of "I'm Not Angry" as             
the "vanity factory"—where he worked as a data entry clerk. He worked for a                 
short period as a computer operator at the Midland Bank computer centre in                   
Bootle Merseyside. He continued to write songs, and began actively looking for a             
solo recording contract. On the basis of a demo tape, he was signed to noted                 
independent label Stiff Records. His manager at Stiff, Jake Riviera, suggested a             
name change, using Elvis Presley's first name and his great grandmother's name               
to form Elvis Costello.                                                                       
The first Costello single for Stiff was "Less Than Zero" b/w "Radio Sweetheart (single       
mix)," released on March 25, 1977. Two months later, Costello's first album, My               
Aim Is True (1977), was a moderate commercial success (No. 14 in the UK and Top               
40 in the US) with Costello appearing on the cover in his trademark oversize                 
glasses, bearing a striking resemblance to a menacing Buddy Holly. A highlight               
of the album was the country-influenced ballad "Alison" with a typically biting               
Costello lyric. Costello's backing on this first album was provided by American               
West Coast band Clover, a roots/country outfit living in England (contrary to                 
rumor, Clover did not exactly become Huey Lewis and The News - Huey Lewis did                 
play with Clover shortly before the recording of My Aim Is True, but he and Sean             
Hopper, who appears on Costello's record, struck out on their own later).                     
Costello was originally marketed as a punk artist. Later on, as the term new                 
wave was applied to the first post-punk bands, Costello was classified as new                 
wave for a time.                                                                             
From 1993 to 1995, Rykodisc Records (U.S.) and Demon Records (UK) reissued                   
Costello's pre-Warner Bros. catalogue with bonus tracks for each album as well               
as a greatest hits compilation and the live album Live at the El Mocambo. In                 
addition, Rykodisc were the U.S. distributor for The Juliet Letters. This                     
licensing deal ended in 2000.                                                                 
Starting in 2001, Rhino Records began an eighteen double-disc reissue program                 
for Costello's back catalogue prior to his Polygram/Universal contract. Except               
for the compilation, each of the reissues presented the remastered original                   
album on one disc, and a separate bonus disc of B-sides, outtakes, live tracks,               
alternate versions and/or demos of songs.                                                     
The project featured the direct participation and guidance of Elvis Costello                 
himself, who wrote new liner notes for each album consisting of his thoughts on               
the music as well as anecdotes and reminiscences from the time. They were                     
released in batches of three, with the exception of King of America, The Juliet               
Letters, and The Very Best of Elvis Costello, the last being an unaltered re-release         
of the Polygram compilation of 1999, which arrived in the stores singularly. The             
reissue dates are as follows:                                                                 
April 17, 2001: The Very Best of Elvis Costello                                               
August 11, 2001: My Aim Is True, Spike, All This Useless Beauty                               
February 19, 2002: This Year's Model, Blood and Chocolate, Brutal Youth                       
November 19, 2002: Armed Forces, Imperial Bedroom, Mighty Like A Rose                         
September 9, 2003: Get Happy!!, Trust, Punch the Clock                                       
August 3, 2004: Almost Blue, Goodbye Cruel World, Kojak Variety                               
April 26, 2005: King of America                                                               
March 21, 2006: The Juliet Letters