Folk, Pop, Rock, Alternative, Adult, Art Rock, Classic Rock, Folk Rock, Folk Pop, Glam Rock, Indie, Mellow Gold, New Wave, Permanent Wave, Post Punk, Pub Rock, Punk, Roots Rock, Singer Songwriter
Declan Patrick MacManus (born 25 August 1954), known by the stage name Elvis Costello, is an English singer-songwriter of Irish heritage. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associat...
Declan Patrick MacManus (born 25 August 1954), known by the stage name Elvis Costello, is an English singer-songwriter of Irish heritage. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk rock and New Wave musical genres. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader than that of most popular songs. His music has drawn on many diverse genres; the critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine describes him as a "pop encyclopedia," able to "reinvent the past in his own image"
Costello was born Declan Patrick MacManus in St Mary's Hospital, London, the son of Lillian (née Ablett) and Ross MacManus, a musician and bandleader. He is of Irish heritage. Costello lived in Twickenham, attending what is now St Mark's Catholic Secondary School in neighbouring Hounslow. With a musically inclined father (his father sang with The Joe Loss Orchestra), Costello's first broadcast recording was alongside his dad in a television commercial for R. White's Lemonade ("I'm a Secret Lemonade Drinker"). His father wrote and sang the song; Costello provided backing vocals. The ad won a silver award at the 1974 International Advertising Festival.
Costello moved with his Liverpool-born mother to Birkenhead in 1971. There, he formed his first band, a folk duo called Rusty, with Allan Mayes. After completing secondary school at St. Francis Xavier's College, he moved back to London where he next formed a band called Flip City, which had a style very much in the pub rock vein. They were active from 1974 through early 1976. Around this time, Costello adopted the stage name D.P. Costello. His father had performed under the name Day Costello, and Elvis has said in interviews that he took this name as a tribute to his father.
To support himself, he worked a number of office jobs, most famously at the Elizabeth Arden — immortalised in the lyrics of "I'm Not Angry" as the "vanity factory" — where he worked as a data entry clerk. He worked for a short period as a computer operator at the Midland Bank computer centre in Bootle. He continued to write songs, and began actively looking for a solo recording contract. On the basis of a demo tape, he was signed to independent label Stiff Records. His manager at Stiff, Jake Riviera, suggested a name change, combining Elvis Presley's first name and Costello, his paternal grandmother's maiden name.