Saturday, August 28, 2010

Elvis Costello/Elvis Costello and the Attractions

As mentioned in a previous post, I have a slew of Elvis Costello 45 picture sleeves, and here they are.

Why was I such a big fan of one Declan McManus during the mid 1970s through the early 1990s?

In the middle of the disco boom in the mid-1970s came this rather odd-looking guy, who was a cross between Buddy Holly and Pee Wee Herman. His music was something else, and I guess it was something I was looking for during this period. It was bare bones rock and roll, sung by one of the most unlikely looking rock stars.

When most of us were grooving to the new disco sounds of acts like the Bee Gees, I was listening to Elvis Costello.

In the early days, you couldn't find many outlets that would play his music. He wasn't Top 40, and even the album rock stations didn't want to take a chance with him.

It was the alternative radio of the day--in New York, it was WPIX-FM, which for about eight months went to an all punk/new wave format--which got my ear, playing Costello and a whole load of other acts that were virtually unheard of here.

But Elvis Costello was the leader. He was gnarly, he was angry, he was vicious, and his music stood out from just about everything that was popular back then.

During the 1980s, American pop radio came around, and started to play his poppier tunes. To add to his many British hits, he actually had one single, "Veronica," that made the Top 20 in the U.S.

But soon, he branched into other music, stuff that I wasn't really fond of, including jazz, orchestral stuff and the like. I didn't hear that angry young man anymore, just a middle aged guy continuing to branch out a bit.

But it didn't hit me between the eyes anymore, and I really haven't heard much of his stuff in years.

But those early records continue to be magical. Here are the picture sleeves from those records, most of them from England.

Which one is my favorite? "Accidents Will Happen" was released with two different sleeves in England; one a standard sleeve, the other, an "accident," as it is inside out. It's the one which is pretty much blank, and can be found in this massive section.

To me, during that period in time, Elvis was really the king. I'm not on his current musical journey, but boy, I was a card-carrying member of his fraternity when few stations in the U.S. would play his music.

And for that music, I will be eternally grateful to him.

Elvis Costello and the Attractions - High Fidelity.mp3
Elvis Costello and the Attractions - Getting Mighty Crowded.mp3


  1. I was first introduced to Mr McManus on the soundtrack LP "Americathon". Now there was an oddball collection of music! Elvis, Beach Boys, Harvey Korman...

  2. Yes, I have that album too ... terrible movie, great soundtrack.



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