Elvis Costello’s 1996 album All This Useless Beauty featured mostly songs he had initially written for other artists. ‘The Other End of the Telescope,’ for example, was written with Aimee Mann and first appeared on ‘Til Tuesday’s fine album Everything’s Different Now.
Today’s track, ‘Complicated Shadows,’ was written for Johnny Cash, though the Man in Black opted not to record it. He did, however, record two other Costello tunes, ‘The Big Light’ and ‘Hidden Shame,’ during his career.
The songwriting matchup of Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello yielded many memorable tunes and a couple of minor hits, including Macca’s ‘My Brave Face’ and Elvis’ ‘Veronica.’
You’ll find lots to love in the deeper cuts as well, such as today’s Random SOTD, from the back half of Costello’s 1989 album Spike.
‘Pads, Paws and Claws’ takes its title from a “junk shop book” and depicts one of the unhealthier relationships in the Costello canon, which is saying something.
Day Two of the 30 Day Music Challenge calls for ‘A Song You Like With a Number in the Title.’ I had many options from which to choose, from Wilco’s ‘The Lonely 1′ to Barenaked Ladies’ ‘If I Had $1,000,000’ and everything in between.
I opted to go with ‘5ive Gears in Reverse’ from Elvis Costello’s excellent Get Happy!! album, because Costello was so committed to the number in the title that he replaced the ‘F’ in ‘Five’ with a 5.
And now, four months of Montauk Madness voting comes down to one last decision as we crown a grand champion. Our contestants face off across the pond, with Billy Joel repping New York and Elvis Costello hailing from merry England.
Two singer-songwriters in their 60s, each with a healthy catalog of original material. Joel has enjoyed far more commercial success, while Costello is the critics’ darling.
Our second Final Four matchup is a battle of London lads: Elvis Costello vs. The Beatles.
A nice connection here, as Costello has been a die-hard Beatles fan since he was nine years old and 27 years later teamed up with Paul McCartney to write an excellent batch of songs that both men released on future albums.
Our third Round Four matchup pits Elvis Costello against Taylor Swift. Swift has been a giant slayer in the contest thus far, propelled by some major fans and a whole lot of debate. She took out David Byrne in Round One, Tom Petty in Round Two and Simon & Garfunkel in Round Three (72/28).
Costello topped Carly Rae Jepsen, then John Mayer and finally Michael Jackson (with a commanding 90% of the vote).
Swift’s path has been a generational war, Millennials vs. Boomers, and that won’t change in this round. Can she continue to topple the oldsters on her way to the Final Four? Or will Costello prove too tough a foe?
Kicking off the final week of Round Threee of Montauk Madness is a showdown between two very different musical legends, Michael Jackson and Elvis Costello.
Jackson made his way here by defeating Belle & Sebastian with 86% of the vote and then easily winning the Motown Showdown with Stevie Wonder, 77-23. Costello bested Carly Rae Jepsen with 67% in Round One and John Mayer with 83% in Round Two. This will be his toughest competition yet. Continue reading