The man who borrowed Buddy Holly's glasses and stole Elvis' name in order to sneak onto pop-rock radio, Elvis Costello, turns 57 today. With a look based on the spirit of '57 and an attitude shaped by the spirit of '77, Costello took punk rock attitude and classic pop sensibilities and spearheaded the New Wave movement.
Ever since his debut My Aim Is True in 1977, his songwriting genius has been evident. He's worked with the cute one, Paul McCartney and with the legend of the lounge room, Burt Bacharach. Needless to say, he's an amazing songwriter who will go down in history as one of the best, if not best-selling, of all time.
We can't do the man justice on his birthday, but we can enjoy some of his finest tunes. Let's just ignore the phone for a while and bask in his power-pop glory.
To everyone in the audience and at home, it was probably really confusing that Elvis and the Attractions would start one song, stop it angrily and launch into another. Like we said, Costello is punk at heart and he'll be damned if Lorne Michaels and his label tells him what song he has to play. Because of this, he was banned from Saturday Night Live for 22 years.
"Watching The Detectives"
Costello plays something that sounds a little like Reggae and a little like surf on this song about boys with no feelings, girls who stalk private eyes and sending people to hell. It's cool, it's dark, it's one of the best.
On his album Spike, Paul McCartney was his a featured player. Macca on the second fiddle? Yup.
"Pump It Up"
If you make a movie, set it in the '80s and don't put this on the soundtrack, you didn't really make a movie. This song is often imitated, but never duplicated. Elvis is the king of power-pop rock 'n' roll.
This love song is so good it makes us want to cry sometimes. The genius of Costello shines crazy bright in the early performance.
Bonus tracks, for the Elvis nuts:
"I Want You"
"Deep Dark Truthful Mirror"
"13 Steps Lead Down"
We hope he is partying hard with Macca, Austin Powers, The Imposters and The Attractions today. We'll eat some Digestives and sip some Twinings in his honor. Cheers!
Elvis Costello & the Imposters. 7 p.m. Sunday, September 18, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $45 to $85. Click here.