December 21, 1999

I discovered, much to my surprise, that I have a bunch of E1 Elvis Costello nodes. A planned five minutes of creating E2 soft links to Elvis' node turned into half an hour, as I found all sorts of nodes that make reference to him. Thus destroying the concept of drive-by noding. Had this been an actual drive-by, the cops would have nabbed me, mugshot me, and had my lawyers make a statement on the Evening News.

I must like the guy. Since I'm here, with my cup of tea (now reaching a lukewarm state, for my mousing hand is also my teacup hand), I might as well make this writeup. The 7,000 Names of Elvis.

Declan Patrick MacManus was born in London in 1954 (his parents come from Liverpool, and Dec lived there for a while also); his dad Ross was a pop singer, most notably in the Joe Loss Orchestra. Since Ross' gig included doing covers of the top pop hits of the day, he got a lot of records for free - thus began the nurturing of the musicologist/historian side of young Declan.

But I'm not writing a Costello node.

He became "D.P. Costello", using his mother's maiden name, by the time of his original Stiff Records demos. Jake Riviera - always the showbizzy one - dubbed him "Elvis", putting him in the fine British tradition of stupid pop-singer aliases, from Billy Fury to Gary Glitter.

Elvis later changed his name to Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus, part of a time in which he had many aliases - an incident during one of his first US tours (drunk, he provoked a barroom brawl with humourless gits like Bonnie Bramlett and Joe Lala from Stephen Stills' band) made "Elvis Costello" a household name of the worst kind in the States, and a stigma was attached to it for a long time.

He was The Imposter, for a couple of great one-off protest song 45s: "Pills and Soap" and "Shipbuilding", the latter being so good that Robert Wyatt, a man with an ear for the singable protest, did a version. He became "Little Hands of Concrete", for King of America, when he wanted to begin de-stigmatizing himself. Some other aliases:

The Beloved Entertainer, Roscoe DeVille, The Horace Barlow Experience, Howard Coward (of the Coward Brothers, for a recording of "The People's Limousine" with T-Bone Burnett, a.k.a. "Henry Coward" - Henry is T-Bone's middle name), The Emotional Toothpaste, King of America (with his Imperial Margarine crown), Napoleon Dynamite, The Pope of Pop, Eamonn Singer.

Some of these were taken from the Elvis FAQ, for my mind is now old and enfeebled.

Sir Elvis remains married to his second wife, Cait O'Riordan, former bassist of The Pogues. He leaves behind several aliases, a Fender Jazzmaster, peace, love, understanding (stolen from Nick Lowe), and a pair of red shoes.

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