The first time I read about Elvis Costello was through the pages of Sounds — English version — in connection with his signature to Stiff. The first I heard of Elvis Costello was his first LP. The first time I saw him live was in the Audimax in Hamburg, and he didn't convince me. I never went to another of his performances, although friends kept telling me how good he was. E.g. they were all very enthusiastic about his Cologne show with Martin Belmont on guitar. But I didn't want another disappointment.
We had been travelling 300 km to Hamburg, and we really had been looking forward to seeing him, but obviously he regarded all us Germans as blockheads (He wasn't entirely wrong) not worth talking to... so he neither said "Hello" nor "Goodbye" or introduce his band or the songs...! He just walked on stage, played his stuff (twice as fast as on record), broke a string after 35 minutes, and considered it a good excuse for walking off so he was never seen again. That's value for your money! We had paid 90 German Marks on petrol plus 20 Marks for the entrance and got 35 minutes music in return!
Today Elvis Costello can be reckoned among the most collected late 70s artists, only beaten by Blondie, I guess. I've never been much into thoroughly collecting very popular artists as it is a string with no end. Every day new couplings, different picture sleeves, and alternative compilations appear. In the end you end up with 43 records of the same song in different covers, or different vinyl colour, backed by alternative flipsides, etc. It just takes storage space and money, and I found it very unexciting, as for me still the music counts! But there are a lot of you out there who collect popular artists, and as I learned from my correspondence (and noticed on fairs, or in auctions) a lot of you collect Elvis Costello.
So here's an Elvis Costello discography which, I hope, is useful to you. It has its roots in the English originals, but states those countries in brackets where the same record appeared with a different picture sleeve. You'll also find the US-releases and any other 45 differing from the original UK-coupling.
Concerning the value of the records I would place the Two Tone 45 on top of all, as Michael paid $125 for a mint copy. But also the Dominion freebie is worthwhile searching for, as it scores a top price. The live picture was taken by us in Hamburg, the concert mentioned above. It is used here as we try to fit in as many original and never before printed photos as possible.