“Everybody knows that My Aim Is True is a classic album, but now Richard Crouse makes the definitive case for Elvis Costello’s landmark debut, with a narrative that’s as fast-paced and literate as the album he celebrates. With all the toe-tapping passion of a true music fan, Crouse demystifies the man behind the mystery dance, while simultaneously allowing himself to play the enlightened fan boy. Going in, I thought I knew a lot about Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and the audaciously brilliant world of Stiff Records, but Richard’s book proved to me that I clearly knew less than zero!”
From Barry Avrich, director of The Last Mogul and Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story:
“As a film director who has chronicled the famous and infamous, Richard had me at hello with this book. Elvis pioneered a sound and style that was the alchemy of hip, attitude and talent. This book is an extraordinarily entertaining autopsy of a great career. This book is the new king of music biographies.”
From Justine Lewkowicz’s NewsTalk 1010 Bookends review:
SYNOPSIS: This is the story of how Elvis Costello got his start, and the story of the making of his critically-acclaimed debut album My Aim is True.
His real name was Declan MacManus. His mom worked at the Selfridges department store. His dad was a trumpeter and singer.
Declan worked as a computer operator.
It sounds like any bland life of a typical 9-to-5er. Except that this was a man with a talent.
Richard Crouse details how Declan MacManus convinced an indie record company to believe in him, how they created Elvis Costello, and how a hit album was recorded in just 24 hours.
MY THOUGHTS: Crouse says he loves Costello’s story. Well, he makes you, the reader, love Costello’s story.
Here was a guy with a boring day job who had dreams of something bigger. But what would have happened if he had not decided, while riding the tube one day, to call in sick and keep going an extra couple of stops to drop off a tape at this newly-opened Stiff Records? What if he knocked on the company’s door six months later?
Crouse puts it all into context and asks the “what ifs.” He not only tells Declan MacManus’ story, but also explains the 1970s environment that helped push him forward.
There’s also a personal aspect to the book. It’s a topic that Crouse is passionate about because he grew up listening to My Aim is True… in a tiny room with a shag carpet. It’s something you can relate to no matter who your musical inspiration was in your teenage years (memories of boy bands and 90s punk rock flooding back…).
MY RATING: 4 out of 5