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Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Thursday, April 21, 2005
Elusive Elvis Costello's career revisited
By Kenneth Aguar
"Here we are living in paradise, living in luxury. Oh, the thrill is here but it won't last long. You better have your fun before it moves along and you're already looking for another fool like me."
These immortal words from "Living in Paradise," off of Elvis Costello's second record "This Year's Model" (1978) came shortly after Costello burst on the music scene with his ground-breaking and classic debut album, "My Aim Is True."
His rebellious spirit, angry social commentary, dry English humor and intimidating stage presence predetermined the new wave/punk rock lifestyle for years to come.
During a performance on "Saturday Night Live" in 1978, Costello was warned by producer Lorne Michaels not to perform the song "Radio, Radio." He played it anyway, proclaiming: "I wanna bite the hand that feeds me. I wanna bite that hand so badly. I wanna make them wish they'd never seen me."
The incident saw him banned from network television for years to come. Costello was an angry young man. Eventually, however, the music he created with his longtime backing band The Attractions would propel them into a more sophisticated pop craftsmanship which incorporated elements of country, Motown, soft rock and blue-eyed soul. It was during this period he also produced records by The Specials and Ireland's The Pogues, whose bassist Cait O'Riordan became, for a time, his wife.
Costello reached his creative peak in 1982 with the album "Imperial Bedroom," but it wasn't until 1983 he actually broke onto the U.S. pop charts with the song "Everyday I Write The Book," commercially accessible, but lyrically just as caustic as ever: "Don't tell me you don't know the difference between a lover and a fighter. With my pen and my electric typewriter, even in a perfect world where everyone was equal, I'd still own the film rights and be working on the sequel."
Throughout the '90s, Costello collaborated with such musical royalty as Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Brodsky Quartet, to name a few.
Now in his 50s and married to singer-songwriter Diana Krall, Costello probably is recognized as the most prolific songwriter since Bob Dylan. His most recent album, "The Delivery Man," finds him collaborating with Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas, both from The Attractions, as well as such alt-country legends as Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and T-Bone Burnett. His appearance at the Classic Center next week represents his first appearance in the Classic City. Speaking with someone recently regarding the show here with The Pick-Ups, Costello quipped, "I've always wanted to see Athens. I hear that they have some great ruins."
Elvis Costello and the Pickups
Featuring Davey Faragher, Pete Thomas and David Kidalgo from Los Lobos on guitar
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 27
Where: Classic Center Theatre, 300 N. Thomas St.
Call: (706) 357-4444
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