The Essential Elvis Costello

Friday, January 07, 2011

Elvis Costello was the epitome of cool amongst the crowd I hung with in high school. Many of us, me included adopted the look popularized by him. The skinny ties, sport coats and jeans look. You knew us. We were the music snobs that bad mouthed "mainstream" rock n roll as being too commercial. This was in spite of the fact we were secretly listening to Rush, Pink Floyd & others at home in the dark of the night.

I will admit to having a bit of a falling out with him after his shockingly racist comments about Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. After he apologized, saying he was drunk at the time and was trying to end a conversation1 and Ray forgave him, saying "Drunken talk isn't meant to be printed in the paper.", I had moved on.

When I heard "Everyday I Write The Book" from "Punch The Clock" in 1983, I started listening again.  In 1989, he released Spike, which I think is one of his better releases, harkening back to the early days of his career.

You may notice that my list features no songs from the 1990's1. It isn't that I don't like some songs from that period of Elvis Costello's career. It was just okay. His cover of She (which I do like) is kind of a summary of everything good and average about the 90's and Mr. Costello.

In 2008, I saw Elvis & The Impostors open for The Police2 and he was in rare form that night. It really rekindled my teenage love for Elvis Costello. Since then I have been revisiting the back catalog and buying the new stuff.
  1. Radio Radio (Live) - Live At The Mocambo
  2. Alison - My Aim Is True
  3. Party Girl - Armed Forces (With The Attractions)
  4. Shipbuilding - Punch The Clock (With The Attractions, Featuring Chet Baker)
  5. (You're Nobody Till Everybody In) This Town (Thinks You're A Bastard) - Spike
  6. Monkey To Man - The Delivery Man (With The Impostors)
Videos & More after the jump
Elvis Costello and Beastie Boys- Radio, Radio (some context about this)

Alison

Party Girl

Elvis Costello - Shipbuilding - Solo Acoustic - Glasgow 1994

This Town

Monkey To Man

6 More
Mystery Dance - My Aim Is True
Lipstick Vogue - This Years Model
Veronica - Spike
Less Than Zero - My Aim Is True
Every Day I Write The Book - Punch The Clock (With The Attractions)
Deep Dark Truthful Mirror - Spike

2 Extra Videos, too!
Every Day I Write The Book

Deep Dark Truthful Mirror (Live)

1.) I know Elvis participated in Britain's Rock Against Racism, but his claim that "it became necessary for me to outrage these people with about the most obnoxious and offensive remarks that I could muster.", seems a bit weird when I think about it. I am not saying Mr. Costello is racist, merely pointing out the direction he picked to be "offensive" is surprising.
2.) I must admit, Sting, Andy and Stewart were in rare form that night as well.

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