Elvis Costello began to gain prominence in the music world in 1977, at around the same time as his namesake left it.
He has now had two hit singles — "Watching the Detectives" and "I don't want to go to Chelsea" — and two successful albums — My Aim is True and This Year's Model.
Belfast, so often a leper to the "big names," played host to him for a grand St. Patrick's Night Special, and what a night it was!
Appearing like an emaciated Buddy Holly (!), Mr. Costello peered out at the capacity Ulster Hall audience from behind his National Health spectacles and grabbed every one of them with his music.
The dominant keyboard and drum sound gave a feeling not a million miles from the winning formula which has given Blondie that massive hit "Denis."
Elvis' voice was the magic wand which transformed the show from something more than just pop. Nasal, almost asthmatic, it conveyed a strength that belied the man's superficial weediness.
His songs reflected a negative sort of attitude, i.e. the line from "Little Triggers" — "I don't wanna be hung up, strung up when you don't call up." But combined with the music they are melodic masterpieces.
The reception for Elvis Costello was amazing. The crowd made a sound worthy of a cup final. Four encores ended the show — and not even Don Williams or Kenny Rogers could produce that!
The "Punk Rock" scene of 1977 produced a number of tedious, mediocre or just plain boring groups. It also produced a number of talented artistes not remotely connected with the movement. Elvis Costello is one, and he should go far.