Saturday, March 21, 2009

Elvis Costello

"Costello, the pop encyclopedia, can reinvent the past in his own image"

Elvis Costello seems to have been around for ever, he pops up in a variety of genres including Rock, Pop, Classical, Blues, Movies, Opera etc. He has collaborated with numerous giants of the Music Scene and is married to Diane Krall.

I am going to indulge myself and cherry pick some of my favourites, to which I can refer to in the months to come. This is no mean feat because the scope and quality of his work is outstanding. Anyway I'll do it chronologically a la Wikipedia.

His first album in 1977 included a country feeling ballad "Alison" with a biting lyric.

A couple of years later he released Armed Forces. Both the album and the single "Oliver's Army" went to #2 in the UK

1980s The soul-infused Get Happy!! starts Costello's experiments with genres beyond Pop-Rock. The single, "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" was an old Sam and Dave song (though Costello increased the tempo considerably).

A couple of years later he issued Almost Blue, an album of proper country music cover songs written by the likes of Hank Williams ("Why Don't You Love Me (Like You Used To Do?)"), Merle Haggard ("Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down") and Gram Parsons ("How Much I Lied"). I am cheating here - this song has Audrey Hepburn and Blue in the title and I like it

A further album Punch the Clock generated an international hit in the single "Everyday I Write the Book", the music video features lookalikes of the Prince and Princess of Wales undergoing domestic strife in a suburban home.

In 1985, he appeared in the Live Aid benefit concert in England, singing the Beatles' "All You Need is Love" as a solo artist. Elvis introduces the song as 'an old northern folk song', and the audience was invited to sing the chorus.

1990's He won a BAFTA co-produce, with Richard Harvey, for writing the music in the TV series G.B.H. by Alan Bleasdale.

In 1993, Costello tries classical music with a critically acclaimed collaboration with the Brodsky Quartet on The Juliet Letters.

He starts several collaborations with Burt Bacharach in the mid '90's. Perhaps many will remember an updated version of Bacharach's song "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" for the soundtrack to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, with both appearing in the film to perform the song. I like this one -

21st Century

On 23 February 2003, Costello, along with Bruce Springsteen, Steve Van Zandt, and Dave Grohl performed a version of The Clash's "London Calling" at the 45th Grammy Awards ceremony, in honor of Clash frontman Joe Strummer, who had died in December of the previous year.

In May 2003, his engagement to Canadian jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall was announced. In December, Costello and Krall married at the London estate of Sir Elton John. Their twin sons Dexter Henry Lorcan and Frank Harlan James were born 6 December 2006 in New York City.

In 2005,he is in a jazz phase in November he started recording a new album with Allen Toussaint and producer Joe Henry. The River in Reverse was released in the UK on the Verve label on 29 May 2006.

Elvis has had a long-running songwriting collaboration with Paul McCartney since the late 1980's

"Pump It Up", one of Costello's songs, appears on Rock Band 2.

Costello is also a very knowledgeable music fan, and often champions the works of others in print. He has written several pieces for the magazine Vanity Fair, including the summary of what a perfect weekend of music would be. His collaboration with Bacharach honoured Bacharach's place in pop music history. Costello also appeared in documentaries about singers Dusty Springfield, Brian Wilson, Wanda Jackson, and Memphis, Tennessee-based Stax Records. He has also interviewed one of his own influences, Joni Mitchell.

More of his wife here

No comments: