An explosive, groundbreaking album that crowned a new king of rock in just 33 minutes
Before Elvis Costello was one of Rolling Stone’s greatest artists of all time, before he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he was Declan P. McManus, an office drone with a dull suburban life and a side gig in a pub rock band. In 1976, under the guidance of legendary label Stiff Records, he transformed himself into the snarling, spectacled artist who defied the musical status quo to blaze the trail for a new kind of rock star with his debut album, My Aim Is True. In Elvis Is King, Richard Crouse examines how the man, the myth, and the music of this arrestingly original album smashed the trends of the era to bridge the gap between punk and rock ’n’ roll.
Pop culture writer and critic Crouse takes a fresh look at Elvis Costello's 1977 debut, My Aim Is True. He delves into the songs, but more interesting are his forays into everything that contributed to the album's success. 1970s English culture and the ways that the punk music movement was changing the industry are as important as Stiff Records and producer Nick Lowe, who took a chance on an unknown pub-rocker. Costello's name change from Declan MacManus and his image makeover were key factors, along with his prickly personality on stage and in interviews. Readers learn about backup bands, promotion, and media reaction, all contributing to a deeper understanding of the LP's influence. Crouse includes new and archival interviews, but alas, there's nothing original from Costello himself. The author keeps his adoration for the album "Elvis's raw energy and anger... spoke to me in a way nothing had before" confined to the introduction, though there is little doubt the entire project is a labor of love that many readers will find contagious as listen to My Aim Is True again or for the first time.