Written by from NPR
Composer, singer and guitarist Elvis Costello was born Declan MacManus in 1954. He grew up in London in a household filled with music: His father was a trumpeter, singer and bandleader and his mother worked in a record store. Both of his parents enjoyed the popular music of the day. As a child of the early ’60s, Costello soon came under the spell of the Beatles, the Kinks and other popular British groups and began writing his own pop-inflected tunes on an acoustic guitar. At 16, he made his first public performance in a local folk club, playing and singing his own songs.
Throughout the early ’70s, Costello was active in the local pub rock scene, playing both solo and in groups. His big break came with the release of his 1977 album My Aim Is True. After 30 years worth of albums — solo records as well as releases with his group, the Attractions — Costello is regarded as one of the most influential and unique singer/songwriters of his generation.
After making a name for himself in the world of pop music, Costello began branching out, experimenting with other genres and collaborating with a wide variety of artists. Costello has recorded and appeared with, among others, Sam Moore, Bob Dylan, Tony Bennett, The Jazz Passengers, Burt Bacharach, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, The Chieftains, The Count Basie Orchestra, and the Charles Mingus Big Band. His own tunes have been performed by a stylistically diverse group of performers including Chet Baker, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Dusty Springfield to name a few.
Originally recorded Sept. 3, 2006 at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival.