Song of the Day #4,006: ‘The Big Light’ – Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello’s 1986 album King of America blended Country and Americana flavors with his brand of brainy singer-songwriter rock, resulting in one of his greatest achievements.

Among confessional ballads and geo-political explorations, Costello dropped in a few fun rave-ups, including today’s SOTD, ‘The Big Light.’

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Song of the Day #2,046: ‘Indoor Fireworks’ – Elvis Costello

kingofThe Random iTunes Fairy got cute today, serving up a second helping of Elvis Costello after yesterday’s belly-aching about not finding enough time to listen to all of his music.

She even went straight to one my favorite Costello albums, the sublime King of America, zeroing in on one of its signature sad ballads.

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Song of the Day #1,539: ‘Lovable’ – Elvis Costello

I’ve been simultaneously dreading and eagerly anticipating the chance to discuss Elvis Costello as part of the genome project.

Costello is basically a genome all to himself. It’s hard to think of a genre he hasn’t at least dabbled in, a musical inspiration he hasn’t explored on record.

Chamber music fans can claim him thanks to his work with the Brodsky Quartet. He’s a hero to the adult contemporary set thanks to his collaborations with Burt Bacharach and Sofie Van Otter, not to mention his marriage to Diana Krall.

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Song of the Day #1,399: ‘Brilliant Mistake’ – Elvis Costello

Best Albums of the 80s – #6
King of America – Elvis Costello (1986)

ELvis Costello’s King of America was the second album I received from my sister and her future husband for my high school graduation (the first, you may recall, was Michael Penn’s March).

Talk about a gift that kept on giving.

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Song of the Day #1,152: ‘Jack of All Parades’ – Elvis Costello

Best Songwriters – #4 – Elvis Costello

I’m sure it’s no surprise that a man who posted half a year’s worth of Elvis Costello Weekends would have Elvis Costello on his list of favorite songwriters. The surprise is probably that he doesn’t place higher than fourth.

Costello is what I consider the quintessential songwriter. He’s the guy you hear every aspiring pop star list as an influence. He has mastered his art form in a dozen different ways, working in every conceivable genre. From punk to opera, country to classical, you name it and he’s done it.

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Song of the Day #899: ‘Suit of Lights’ – Elvis Costello

A couple of weeks back, I described Imperial Bedroom as my first Elvis Costello album. Sitting here today, I’m wondering whether or not that’s true. It may well have been King of America.

I definitely remember receiving King of America (along with Michael Penn’s March) as a birthday gift from my sister and brother-in-law. And thinking back, that must have been my introduction to Costello.

Either way, it supports the theory that we maintain an allegiance to the work that serves as an entry point to a beloved new artist. It’s probably no coincidence that those two albums remain my favorite Costello releases to this date.

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Song of the Day #898: ‘I’ll Wear It Proudly’ – Elvis Costello

After putting out nine albums over the previous eight years, Elvis Costello took a brief hiatus, waiting two years to release his next album, 1986’s King of America.

Of course he made up for lost time by releasing another new album later the same year, but that will have to wait for next week.

King of America was Costello’s first album since his debut not recorded with The Attractions (though they do show up on one track). Instead he was joined by a group of backing musicians he called The Confederates, traditional country and jazz players assembled by producer T. Bone Burnett.

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