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Elvis Costello: The singer-songwriter was born Declan Patrick MacManus in London, United Kingdom, son of Joe Loss singer/bandleader Ross MacManus (usually written McManus).
The name's seen by some as a cheeky attempt to combine Elvis Presley and 1950s American funnymen Abbott And Costello, by virtue of his own early appearance - not that of the typical rock star.
In fact Costello came from his mother's maiden name: he used it when his parents separated and moved with her to Liverpool. He played early gigs as D.P. Costello. The name Costello wasalso used by his father who charted in some countries in 1970 with a version of The Beatles' song The Long And Winding Road. Ross said: "MacManus wasn't a very good name for a rock star."
Elvis Costello was worried about pinching Presley's crown, but he got used to it.
Jake Riviera became Declan's manager and signed him to the independent Stiff Records, on the condition he became Elvis. Costello said the idea initially struck him as insane. His first success coincided with Presley's death, which led to the shock value nearly backfiring. Costello was later seen as a worthy successor to The King. His 1986 album, The King Of America, featured his own name, McManus, which also cropped up on film soundtracks.
He used the pseudonym The Imposter for 1983-84 political protest songs Pills And Soap and Peace In Our Time. Costello fans know this pseudonym was appropriated from a track he recorded in 1980.
Costello also hid his identity, electing to be credited as Eamonn Singer, for the artwork of the 1986 LP Blood And Chocolate. He had once produced a painting, entitled Napoleon Dynamite. The album’s vocals, apparently referring to the painting or the track Poor Napoleon, credit one Napoleon Dynamite - again, Costello in disguise.
He may have inspired The Tragically Hip. Related: The Attractions. Cf Reg Presley.
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