Elvis Costello was born Declan Patrick MacManus in London, England on August 25, 1954. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Costello moved to Birkenhead in 1971. There, he formed his first band, a folk duo called Rusty, with Allan Mayes.
After completing secondary school at St. Francis Xavier's College, he moved back to London where he next formed a band called Flip City, which had a style in the pub rock vein. They were active from 1974 through to early 1976. Around this time, Costello adopted the stage name D.P. Costello. His father had performed under the name Day Costello, and Elvis has said in interviews that he took this name as a tribute to his father.
To support himself, he worked at a number of office jobs, most famously at Elizabeth Arden – immortalised in the lyrics of "I'm Not Angry" as the "vanity factory" – where he worked as a data entry clerk. He continued to write songs, and began actively looking for a solo recording contract. On the basis of a demo tape, he was signed to independent label Stiff Records. His manager at Stiff, Jake Riviera, suggested a name change, combining Elvis Presley's first name and Costello, his father's stage name.
Costello's first single for Stiff was "Less Than Zero," released in March 1977. Two months later, his debut album, My Aim Is True, was released to moderate commercial success. with Costello appearing on the cover in what became his trademark oversize glasses, bearing some resemblance to Buddy Holly.
Stiff's records were initially distributed only in the UK, which meant that Costello's first album and singles were initially available in the US as imports only. In an attempt to change this, Costello was arrested for busking outside a London convention of CBS Records executives, protesting that no US record company had yet seen fit to release his records in the United States.
Costello signed to CBS's Columbia Records label in the US a few months later. The backing for Costello's debut album was provided by American West Coast band Clover, a country outfit living in England whose members would later go on to join Huey Lewis and the News and The Doobie Brothers. Later in 1977, Costello formed his own permanent backing band, The Attractions.
-----Costello has released over 30 studio albums on his own and with the Attractions, the Imposters, or others. He has also released five live albums: Live at the El Mocambo, Deep Dead Blue, Costello & Nieve, My Flame Burns Blue, Live at Hollywood High, and The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook. There have also been numerous compilations, box sets, and reissues by labels such as Rykodisc, Demon, Rhino, and Universal Music Enterprises.
In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #80 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
He is married to jazz singer and pianist, Diana Krall.
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