Elvis Costello is a musical chameleon, equally attracted to driving rock and twangy country, with an inherited affinity for the big band swing of his bandleader father, and having dabbled in reggae and been labeled a stalwart of the London punk movement when he broke in on the scene in the '70s.
In truth, Costello, whose name was Declan Patrick MacManus until a record label exec combined his grandmother's maiden name and the first name of Elvis Presley, is an eclectic musician and personality who defies categorization. When he performs a makeup date with his band, the Imposters, at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's Hard Rock Live at 7 p.m. on April 25th, his playlist will be nothing if not diverse.
Costello was a computer programmer passing out demo tapes during those confused, post-Beatles days of the early '70s when he managed to get signed and assembled a band called The Attractions. His angry style and bristling cynicism conformed to the new wave movement, but he soon set himself apart with his heady lyrics and eclectic musical tastes.
As the era of music videos dawned, Costello, playing passionate, high-energy rock in his Buddy Holly glasses, further confused the issue with Fellini videos that were pastiches of absurd scenes and visual slapstick.
His first album, My Aim Is True, contained the single "Less Than Zero" but when the Attractions got a last-minute booking to perform the song on a 1977 Saturday Night Live episode, he surprised show producers by abruptly halting the intro and breaking into "Radio Radio."
During his early U.S. tours, Costello typically booked three dates in each city — one with his rock band, one with a country band and one for a solo performance.
He released a country album in 1981, with covers of hits by Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and George Jones. He's also collaborated extensively with Burt Bacharach, T Bone Burnett and Paul McCartney (with whom he wrote the Top 40 hit, "Veronica"), has written a ballet and an opera, and has been married since 2003 to torch singer Diana Krall.