Acton Gazette, December 15, 1977

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Acton Gazette

UK & Ireland newspapers


The shy young lad destined for the top

Acton Gazette

He was called Dec McManus when he worked in North Acton.

He was a shy, solitary character then; he just got on with his job as a computer operator, dreamed dreams and spoke when he was spoken to.

Today, he is known to millions as Elvis Costello, overnight rock sensation with a smash hit single and album under his belt.

He's the small, thin guy who scowls out of the T.V. screen from behind ugly, black-rimmed glasses, sports a Services haircut and looks as though his clothes are too big for him.

His workmates didn't pay much attention to him in the Elizabeth Arden factory, Wales Farm Road. He was just the kid in blue jeans who strummed a guitar and liked a drop of whisky.

But suddenly they looked around and Dec McManus was gone. He was already Elvis Costello, setting off on the short path that was to lead him to international fame.

Inventor Hugh Maclean, who works at the factory, remembers a night three years ago when he gave Elvis a fiver and a bottle of strong stuff to play for him at a private party.

Mac had just designed a pair of shoes with flashing lights in the toes, and the party was for the young lady who modelled them.

"There were only about seven of us at the party, including Elvis," Mac said. "He played by himself on the acoustic guitar.

"He was a good musician, but I couldn't understand the music. I asked him to play some Country and Western but he kept on doing other things. The drunker he got, the better he played."

Elvis used to rehearse with his band in the factory canteen on Sundays.

"He was a loner in work," said Mac. "Every time I saw him, he was on his own. He was friendly enough, although he seemed a bit shy.

"He looked just the same as he does now, except that he wore jeans and a denim jacket."

"He left Elizabeth Arden when he became famous," said Mac. "Everyone was talking about him. No one ever dreamed be would become so popular."

Now that he is a big name, the firm is running a competition through its own magazine for an autographed copy of the last Elvis Costello album, My Aim Is True.

Tags: Declan MacManusElizabeth ArdenMy Aim Is TrueWatching The Detectives


Gazette And Post, December 15, 1977

The Acton Gazette profiles Elvis Costello.


1977-12-15 Acton Gazette page 15 clipping 01.jpg

Page scans.
1977-12-15 Acton Gazette page 01.jpg 1977-12-15 Acton Gazette page 15.jpg


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