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Happy Birthday, Elvis!

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Mr. Costello, that is, lest you confuse him with that other Elvis.

Angry Young Man Elvis Costello (born Declan MacManus on August 25, 1954) turns 50 today. There is little evidence to suggest that he’s turned into Mellow Middle-Aged Man, which puts him very high on my list of personal heroes.

Costello continues to challenge his fans with detours from the expected. His last album, North, a collection of jazz ballads inspired by the breakup of his second marriage and his relationship with and subsequent marriage to jazz singer Diana Krall, garnered mixed reviews from both critics and fans alike. Not one to allow his career to be guided by the winds of popularity, September will see the release of two new Costello recordings, Il Sogno and The Delivery Man.

Il Sogno marks Costello’s first foray into classical composition; it will be released by Deutsche Grammophon and features Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. A performance this past summer at Lincoln Center was well-received. The Delivery Man, on the Lost Highway label, is Costello’s most recent outing with the Imposters and marks a return to his rock roots. Rhino just released the most recent of their excellent Costello re-issues, so this is a good time indeed to be an Elvis fan.

Happy birthday, Mr. Costello. Rock on, and thanks for all the music.

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