Elvis Costello and his Wonderful Spectacles

"Would Elvis Costello become famous today? Simple answer is NO, not a hope in hell. Because

A - He's not pretty enough.
B - He has a distinct voice (not popular in todays market).
C - You couldn't add a rap in the middle of his songs.
D - He can't dance (as proved by his 'I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down' video)

Infact the dancing is so bad in the video that in 2011, it's more likely to be on some painful 'You've Been Framed' compilation than on Top of the Pops.

But does any of the above stop him from being a great artist. Nope not at all.

The man is a genius and I'm disappointed in myself that I've only recently worked it out. I've always liked the song Oliver's Army and I assumed the rest was crap. A one hit wonder who has scraped D list music for teachers and doctors who didn't want to be seen as anything other than authoritarian. What was I thinking. What a waste of my life making an assumption when I could have enjoyed his offerings, but as they say, better late than never.

I started to consider him again after I saw him in 'Austin Powers:The Spy Who Shagged me'. And although Heather Graham in the mini dress stole the show, it was the soft tones of Costello that tugged the heart strings. Sat at the piano was Burt Bacharach. I went home and googled them. I bought their album Painted From Memory and fell in love. If you haven't got it then find it, but it, then go home turn the phone off and ignore the world. It's just wonderful...in my opinion.

And that was pretty much my conclusion of what Elvis had to offer; Painted in Memory and Oliver's Army.

Then the Elton John and David Furnish produced music show 'Spectacle' hosted by Elvis Costello. I loved the way he interviewed Elton John (episode 1) and Lou Reed (episode 2) and it was understanding his passion for music that led me to go out and buy some of his back catalogue. I spent a fair bit and took myself from 1977's My Aim Is True to 1989's Spike.

Shortly I'll be buying the rest. It took 120 minutes of him talking to other people to teach me that I wanted to actually know more about him and his music. I'm hooked now. It's energetic yet subtle. clever, witty and lyrically intelligent which you don't see in pop much these days, infact I'd say the most intelligent music lyrically today is from modern rappers, but that's for another blog.

If you didn't catch the show, please go and find it. It's a refreshing and honest look at music and musicians. Long may it continue to be made and top marks to Elton John, David Furnish and Elvis for putting it together. Other guests included James Taylor, Tony Bennett, The Police (Top marks to Sting who went up in my estimations for managing to deal with the rather odd character of Stewart Copeland for so many years) and Smokey Robinson to name but a few.

Infact I'm going to shut up and suggest you just go and buy it, it's a great piece of musical history.