The image of Elvis Costello from the cover of his debut album, My Aim is True, remains iconic because it perfectly captured the music, artist and even the time. Although released just as punk rock was breaking internationally, 1977’s My Aim is True technically wasn’t punk, but it sure felt that way. Costello was clearly a man with an agenda, a fire in his belly, and his anger had a punk-like intensity.
But unlike his peers, Costello was a traditional rock songwriter — and an exceptionally talented one. My Aim is True stands as one of the greatest debuts in rock history, and Costello long ago established himself as one of rock’s most gifted songwriters. More than 35 years later, he’s still making inspired music, as evidenced by his recent collaboration with The Roots, Wise Up Ghost.
Costello has released 30 albums in a staggering variety of contexts. His finest efforts are with his longtime band, The Attractions, but he’s also recorded with The Brodsky Quartet, Marian McPartland, Burt Bacharach and the London Symphony Orchestra, which performed his ballet score, Il Sogno.