- Series: Pop Classic (Book 4)
- Paperback: 136 pages
- Publisher: ECW Press (April 14, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1770411887
- ISBN-13: 978-1770411883
- Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,785,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Elvis Is King: Costello's My Aim Is True (Pop Classic) Paperback – April 14, 2015
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“There is little doubt the entire project is a labor of love that many readers will find contagious as they listen to My Aim Is True again or for the first time.” ― PublishersWeekly.com
“Crouse says he loves Costello’s story. Well, he makes you, the reader, love Costello’s story.” ― Justine Lewkowicz, NewsTalk 1010
“There’s no pretentious navel-gazing or ‘how do I fill 100 pages?’ tangents in Elvis Is King: Costello’s My Aim Is True. Like that no-bullshit debut album released at the end of a decade infamous for its poses and pomposity, Crouse’s book says what’s necessary in fast, furious fashion, covering Costello’s musical upbringing, his debut’s recording, its marketing, its songs, and subsequent stage and TV support appearances. Never does he lapse into obnoxious and very un–Rock & Roll pseudo-academic blather.” ― Psychobabble
“Though relatively brief (and appropriately so, given its narrow focus), Elvis Is King presents a tight, thorough portrait of the musician as a young man that will appeal not only to die-hard Costello fans but rock historians in general.” ― Small Press Reviews
“His little book is worth a read.” ― ARSC Journal
About the Author
Richard Crouse is the regular film critic for CTV’s Canada AM , CTV’s 24-hour News Channel and CP24. His syndicated Saturday afternoon radio show, Entertainment Extra, originates on NewsTalk 1010. He is also the author of six books on pop culture history including Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of The Devils and The 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, and writes two weekly columns for Metro newspaper. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.
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Richard Crouse’s Elvis is king. Costello’s My Aim is True was written for ECW Press’s Pop Classics series. Crouse tells us of Declan MacManus, his transformation to Elvis Costello and the making of his first album, My Aim is True. To me, Crouse and many others, it has become a true classic.
Elvis Costello grew up in London, son of Ross MacManus, a musician, and Lillian MacManus, manager of the record shop at Selfridge’s department store. Growing up in a musical family, he listened to many types of music, and by age 15 was writing his own. He debuted in his first band, Rusty, when he was 17. While working as a computer operator, he hooked up with Stiff Records, and the rest was history. My Aim is True, produced by Nick Lowe, was recorded at Pathway Studio in virtually 24 hours.
My Aim is True came at a time which was ripe for a transition in music. Many bands were more interested in themselves than their audience and were beginning to play in large stadiums instead of intimate settings. Rock of the time included lengthy guitar solos. Punk was just coming into being partly as a reaction to this. Elvis Costello’s music was neither rock nor punk but had early rock influences, as well as punk, reggae and jazz influences. Although none of the songs on the album became number one hits, they are all definitely hit worthy and spoke to many of us in the late 70’s who were looking for a different sound.
Richard Crouse’s book is an easy-to-read and well-written and researched story of how My Aim is True came to be. It is very easy to tell that he loves the album as much as I do, and I learned quite a bit about one of my favorite musicians. My Aim is True is probably still one of my favorite albums, and I never get tired of listening to these songs. If you have not heard this album, download and listen as soon as you can, then go and read this book because you will want to know more.
I enjoyed this book - likely because Elvis Costello is probably my favorite musician and My Aim is True is, IMO, one of his best albums. It's a biography of sorts. Frankly, I would have liked to have read more, but I guess I'll have to wait until his memoirs come out later this year.
If you have never heard anything by Elvis Costello, I would encourage you to go to iTunes or Amazon or wherever you buy your music and listen. But whatever you do, please do not listen to just one song, or even one album...Elvis's music is so varied that you would not be doing him justice to listen to a little of it and in fact to get the full idea, you should listen to all if it. His music runs the gamut from alternative, post-punk to pop, jazz, country, classical, creole, easy listening, and everything in between. He has recorded with and written for a vast variety of musicians. He is a very talented song-writer and although I may not love all of his music, I do admire his talent and his voice. I have seen him in concert many times, and the one that stands out for me the most was in the late 80's at Mershon Auditorium at The Ohio State University where he performed a completely acoustic set. His voice was so powerful and amazing. I wish I had a recording of that concert because it was probably the best that I have ever been to.
I received this book from GoodReads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.
We get the early days of Declan P. McManus, including his early work in pub bands, and the influence his parents played. We find the lucky confluence of an angry young office drone and a spunky recording label called Stiff Records. Declan transforms to Elvis and finds fame even though no one can quite corner the genre of music he plays. It's not really new wave, and it's not really punk either. It is a backlash to the kind of corporate over-produced rock of the mid to late 1970s. One chapter analyzes each track on the album. Another talks about the strange tour Elvis finds himself on and how he ends up sharing headlining duties. It finishes with him coming to North America and subsequently getting banned for 10 years on Saturday Night Live.
Richard Crouse is the regular film critic for a few programs on CTV, but I can tell he would argue with anyone who disagrees that My Aim Is True is a true genius of an album. I don't disagree. The book quotes from a lot of other sources and interviews, but it really shines when the author's rabid fandom comes through (and I say that as a complete compliment). I didn't know much about the early days of Stiff Records, but it seems like the kind of madcap setup that we don't see anymore, and more's the pity. Costello is a legend, and this peak into his early days was interesting.
I received a review copy of this ebook from ECW Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.