Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello

Dai Griffiths
Distribution: Canada and United States of America
Publication date: 07/02/2008
Format: Paperback 12 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22006-6
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Here to stay, and recognized by Burt Bacharach as "a great survivor," Elvis Costello has produced a large and significant body of work. This is the first book on Costello that avoids chronological presentation in favor of a thematic approach focused on music and words over the nearly 30 years that separate "Radio Sweetheart" and "Country Darkness." In addition to engaging with the songs Costello has performed as a rock musician, the book features informed discussions of more recent albums, such as Painted from Memory, North, and Il Sogno. Also considered are the essays Costello has written to support CD reissues of his recordings, a substantial body of writing that approaches a critical autobiography. The book demonstrates that on all fronts—music, words, voice, instrumental resources—Costello's work broadens and deepens, as he sets himself the task of expanding the range of expressive material available.

Author Bio

Dai Griffiths is Principal Lecturer in Music at Oxford Brookes University. He has published papers on popular music, including the history of pop music since punk, cover versions, and the role of words in songs. He is author of Radiohead: OK Computer. He lives in Oxford, England.


“A thematic approach to this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and original voice in rock, from My Aim Is True to River in Reverse. Here to stay, and recognized by Burt Bacharach as "a great survivor," Elvis Costello has produced a wildly diverse body of work, drawing on dozens of genres.”

“Griffiths . . . documents Costello's rise to popularity since he emerged in the 1970s alternative pop/punk scene in London. . . . Recommended.January 2009”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents

1. Past
2. Making Music
3. Writing Words
4. Singing
5. Writing Prose
6. Future