Elvis Costello is 55 today. I’d sing “Happy Birthday” in his honor except (a) it’s been made abundantly clear that my vocalizing around the office is not appreciated and (b) I have no idea in what genre I should perform said tribute.
During his lengthy career the man born Declan Patrick MacManus has explored a raft of musical avenues, from his soul-infused 1979 album Get Happy!! to 1993’s The Juliet Letters, a collaboration with British classical outfit The Brodsky Quartet. One year, at Britain’s Glastonbury Festival, I even saw him perform a version of the George Michael hit “I Want Your Sex” accompanied only by something he described as “the Napoleon Dynamite beatbox.” (Okay, truthfully, my memories of that entire event are somewhat hazy. But I’m fairly sure that’s what happened.) However, my favorite live Costello memory is seeing him on the tour to support his still fabulous 1986 country-rock opus King of America, and I leave you with a clip of him performing title-ish track from that album (the song is actually called “Brilliant Mistake”), together with a smidge of Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue.”