Why I still love Elvis Costello

I’ve been a fan of Elvis Costello for many years. Like the almighty Neil Young, he’s one of those artists whose work I don’t always expect to like, or even understand, but he’s produced more than enough of the Good Stuff – songs that stick in your mind, tunes that you’ll never forget, lyrics of such mind-boggling brilliance that make you feel like giving up all attempts at writing anything that you’d actually dare to show anyone. For instance, these lines from The Other Side of Summer, a sodding album track from Mighty Like a Rose.

Was it a millionaire who said “imagine no possessions”?
A poor little schoolboy who said “we don’t need no lessons”?

Nicely oblique, no names mentioned, but quite clear who he’s talking about. And there are many more examples. But today, I came across an even finer example of his work. It seems his record company are putting out a live recording in a slightly expensive package. The Man Himself is not amused by this, and suggests people should wait until next year when cheaper versions are available, assuming that they haven’t made alternative, and it is implied, but not stated, not necessarily legal arrangements already. He also suggests that there’s a nice Louis Armstrong box set that’s less exotically priced, and that contains better music.

What a hero. I’ve long respected the man, but he’s just gained several thousand extra points.

steal this record – Yellow Press – Elvis Costello