Elvis Costello Finally Writes That Book

Remember this one from Elvis Costello?

He may be that prolific when it comes to writing songs, but when it comes to writing proper books, not so much. This was my column in this week’s Metro papers.

“I was asked to write an autobiography when I was 24,” says Elvis Costello, “and I said ‘Can I get back to you when I’ve done something?’” Now at age 61 — and ten years after he was approached again — he’s finally published a memoir.

“There’s a lot of stuff ahead,” he tells Metro, “and if I had to carry all this memory around with me without any other account of it … I never kept a diary. All of this is what I remembered.”

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink is more than a review of life lived in music; it’s a love letter to a father, a massive influence on his life. Elvis’ dad worked as a jazz singer for decades. Before that, his granddad was a trumpeter with the White Star Line playing standards to passengers.

His father met his mother in a record store — “It’s lovely. It’s a beautiful thing!” he exclaims — so it’s no surprise that Elvis was exposed to all kinds of music as a child: Dizzy Gillespie, Sinatra, the Beatles, Peggy Lee. If ever he challenges you to a game of musical trivia, politely take a pass and save yourself the embarrassment.

There are some very clever descriptions in the book. He recalls his New Wave period as “being tipped into a shoebox with all the other broken toys” featuring “anyone who played fast, spiteful songs in a narrow tie, rather than with the authentic voice and attire of punk outrage.”

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Elvis Costello Finally Writes That Book

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.