Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"Everyday I Write the Book" by Elvis Costello & the Attractions

Song#:  1575
Date:  08/20/1983
Debut:  82
Peak:  36
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Englishman Costello honed his craft in the early 70s playing with folk-rock and pub rock bands around England. By 1976, he was out on his own and recording demos. Those songs got the attention of Stiff Records who signed the young artist. His highly regarded debut album, My Aim Is True, was issued in 1977 and it did well enough to reach #14 in the UK (#32 US). He then formed his backing band The Attractions and proceeded to release a string of acclaimed albums, all of which reached the UK Top 10. He also scored three Top 10 singles along the way. In the US, Costello was very popular with critics and a large set of dedicated fans, but he wasn't a huge star. The lack of a single on the US chart didn't help, but he began to turn things around with this single from his album Punch the Clock. It became his first Top 40 hit (#33 Rock).

ReduxReview:  I have to admit that I really didn't get Costello at the time. I had heard of him and knew his albums were considered among the best in rock, but I wasn't familiar with any of his material. On a whim, thanks to a glowing review from Rolling Stone, I bought his 1982 LP Imperial Bedroom. It was totally lost on me. I think I tried to listen to it twice and then just put it away. Later on I got more into Costello thanks to covers of his songs by other artists. I warmed up to his music, but I've never been a major fan. He does have some classic songs that I enjoy and did release one album that I dearly love - his 1998 duet disc with Burt Bacharach Painted from Memory. He and Bacharach (a favorite of mine) were just perfect together. As for this particular song, I like it better now than I did back then. It's probably one of his most pop-friendly songs and that proved out when it went Top 40. It should have gone Top 20, but the fact that it make it as far as it did was pretty good.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Costello's given name is Delcan Patrick MacManus. Early on in his pub days, he began to use the name DP Costello. The Costello portion came from his father Ross MacManus who was a bandleader. The elder MacManus used Day Costello for a stage name. To pay tribute to is father, Delcan adopted the last name. After being signed to Stiff Records, it was suggested he keep the last name, but change his first name to Elvis, after Elvis Presley. He did and thus was born Elvis Costello.


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