Complicated Shadows: The Life and Music of Elvis Costello

Complicated Shadows: The Life and Music of Elvis Costello

Graeme Thomson

Language: English

Pages: 448

ISBN: 1841957968

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Elvis Costello is undoubtedly one of the most important and challenging musicians of the last thirty years. Complicated Shadows paints a detailed portrait of an intensely private, complex, and creatively restless individual. It draws on a wealth of new research, including exclusive interviews with people from all stages of Costello's life and career: classmates, friends, members of his early bands, former lovers, members of the Attractions, producers, and various collaborators. Complicated Shadows unearths many previously unknown details about Costello's childhood in London and Liverpool and his early years as a struggling musician, as well as his turbulent personal life. It also reveals the circumstances surrounding his marriages to ex-Pogues bassist Cait O'Riordan and jazz singer Diana Krall, and the bitter breakup of his longtime backing band, the Attractions. Complicated Shadows contains a full examination and analysis of the entirety of Costello's vast and varied musical output, both in the studio and on the stage.

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1978. The echoing beats were still in place, however, ensuring that this band ultimately sounded unlike any other Elvis had toured with. He was using his older songs to build momentum for his newer songs. In this way, a spectral ‘Watching The Detectives’ would set the mood for ‘Spooky Girlfriend’, while ‘Brilliant Mistake’ lead into ‘Tart’. In New York, there was a very rare ‘How To Be Dumb’ and versions of ‘All This Useless Beauty’ and ‘Clubland’. Elvis also premiered a declamatory new soul

notice and would later break the career of Dire Straits. Gillett had been aware of the existence of Flip City through his acquaintance with Ken Smith, who sometimes helped out on the radio show by volunteering to answer phones. Indeed, Gillett had plugged Flip City gigs on his show and had once made a specific effort to see the band in 1975, which ended in vain when he couldn’t find the venue. Perhaps fortuitously, having failed to hear the band, when Gillett received Declan’s tape in the post he

When a ‘load of real dross’ subsequently dropped through the Alexander Street letterbox, Jake offered Declan a deal on the spot, as a performer rather than merely a writer. While this may indeed have been the genuine sequence of events, in the small world of the London pub-rock scene it would have taken a frankly astonishing series of coincidences for Declan to arrive on Stiff’s doorstep as a completely unknown quantity. Nick Lowe, of course, knew him well from his regular appearances at

clothes: he almost always arrived at Eden wearing a suit and often a tie. ‘I’d have this mad hippy hair and there was Nick looking like the pub rocker and Elvis would always be in his suit with his Doc Martens,’ says Roger Bechirian. ‘And he would always come in with a carton of orange juice, because he believed it would keep colds away.’ The sessions were not without their tensions, primarily due to Elvis’s attitude. It had only been a year since the release of My Aim Is True, and in that time

anything to hurt him, you’re going to answer to me,’16 he reportedly told Bebe. On 22 October, the affair become public property when the couple attended a recital by ‘punk poet’ John Cooper Clarke at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park. Elvis made a very poor attempt at passing off incognito, with a pork pie hat jammed over his head and shades over his eyes, and he and Bebe were soon spotted by journalists and photographed, as they surely realised they would be. Indeed, the next morning an excited

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