All This Useless Beauty is the 17th studio album by the British rock singer and songwriter Elvis Costello, released on compact disc as Warner Brothers 46198. It peaked at #28 on the UK album chart, and at #53 on the Billboard 200. It is his final album with his long-standing backing band The Attractions, and the last album he delivered under his contract to the Warner Brothers label, his contract expiring with a further compilation album, Extreme Honey.
In its original conception, the album was to be a two-disc set of songs written for other artists, entitled A Case for Song, with backing by a diverse array of musicians, influenced by his participation in the 1995 Meltdown Festival.Costello, Elvis. All This Useless Beauty. Rhino Records R2 74284, 2001, liner notes, p. 3. Aspects of this concept survived to the final album, as four songs previously released by others made it to the final track listing: "The Other End Of The Telescope," co-written with Aimee Mann and originally recorded by 'Til Tuesday; "You Bowed Down," recorded by Roger McGuinn; "All This Useless Beauty" and "I Want to Vanish," recorded by June Tabor. The title is a sarcastic reference to what Costello thought would be the fate of the album.Costello, p. 7.
Instead, Costello hired the Attractions, and recorded the songs at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin and Westside Studios in London with Geoff Emerick producing. "Complicated Shadows" had been intended for Johnny Cash, and "Why Can't A Man Stand Alone?" for Sam Moore, but neither singer elected to record them.Costello, p. 8. Another of his collaborations with Paul McCartney appears, "Shallow Grave."
Unusually, six tracks were released as singles in either the United Kingdom or the United States: "It's Time;" "Little Atoms;" "The Other End of the Telescope;" "Distorted Angel;" "All This Useless Beauty;" and "You Bowed Down." Only "It's Time" charted, and only in the UK, peaking at #58.
The album was released initially on compact disc in 1996. As part of the Rhino Records reissue campaign for Costello's back catalogue from Demon/Columbia and Warners, it was re-released in 2001 with 17 additional tracks on a bonus disc. Additional tracks continued the album's initial concept, tracks intended for recording by or in collaboration with other artists.Costello, pp. 7-8. "The Days Take Care of Themselves" and "The Comedians" had been written for Roy Orbison, his recording of the latter appearing on Mystery Girl, while "The Only Flame In Town" had been intended for Aaron Neville. "The World's Great Optimist," another collaboration with Aimee Mann, appeared on her Bachelor No. 2 album, and Johnny Cash recorded "Hidden Shame" on Boom Chicka Boom. This reissue is out of print, the album reissued again by Universal Music Group after its acquisition of Costello's complete catalogue in 2006.
* Elvis Costello – vocals, guitars, bass, piano, other instruments
* Steve Nieve – piano, keyboards, drum programming on "It's Time"
* Bruce Thomas – bass
* Pete Thomas – drums, percussion, acoustic guitar on "You Bowed Down"
* Peter Whyman – bass clarinet on "All This Useless Beauty" and "I Want to Vanish"
* Roy Babbington – double bass on "All This Useless Beauty" and "I Want to Vanish"
* Brodsky Quartet - string quartet on "I Want to Vanish"
* Ruth Causey – clarinet on "I Want to Vanish"
* Brian Eno - gadgets on "My Dark Life"
* The Fairfield Four - vocals on "That Day Is Done"
* Larry Knechtel - piano on "That Day Is Done"
* Matt MacManus - Fender bass, drum loop on "The Bridge I Burned"
* Danny Goffey - drums on "The Bridge I Burned"
* Ned Douglas - sample control on "The Bridge I Burned"
Category:Elvis Costello albums
Category:Albums produced by Elvis Costello
Category:Rhino Records albums
Category:Warner Bros. Records albums
fr:All This Useless Beauty
ja:オール・ディス・ユースレス・ビューティThis text has been derived from All This Useless Beauty on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0
Declan Patrick MacManus (born 25 August 1954), known by the stage name Elvis Costello, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader than that of most popular songs. His music has drawn on many diverse genres; the young American critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine describes him as a "pop encyclopedia," able to "reinvent the past in his own image".Stephen Thomas Erlewine, , Allmusic. Retrieved 17 September 2007.
Costello was born Declan Patrick MacManusHis full given name is sometimes inaccurately listed as Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus but Aloysius was not one of his names at birth. Costello began using the name "Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus" (or sometimes, "D.P.A. MacManus") in both the writing and production credits of his albums in 1986, though this was largely phased out by the mid-1990s. It has been suggested that Aloysius could be his confirmation name, or that the use of the name Aloysius is a reference to English comedian Tony Hancock -- born Anthony John Hancock, Hancock became famous in the UK playing a comic character who went by the name Anthony Aloysius St. John Hancock. in St Mary's Hospital, London, the son of Mary (née Costello) and Ross MacManus, a musician and bandleader. He is of Irish heritage. Costello lived in Twickenham, attending Hounslow Secondary Modern School, which is now St Mark's Catholic Secondary School, in neighbouring Hounslow.Paul Inglis, , The Elvis Costello Home Page. Retrieved 17 September 2007. With a musically inclined father (who was a jazz trumpeter and sang with The Joe Loss Orchestra), Costello's first broadcast recording was alongside his dad in a television commercial for R. White's Lemonade (I'm a Secret Lemonade Drinker). His father wrote and sang the song; Costello provided backing vocals. The advertisement won a silver award at the 1974 International Advertising Festival.
Costello moved with his Liverpool-born mother to Birkenhead in 1971. There, he formed his first band, a folk duo called Rusty, with Allan Mayes. After completing secondary school at St. Francis Xavier's College, he moved back to London where he next formed a band called Flip City, , Flip City website. Retrieved 17 September 2007. which had a style very much in the pub rock vein. They were active from 1974 through early 1976. Around this time, Costello adopted the stage name D.P. Costello. His father had performed under the name Day Costello, and Elvis has said in interviews that he took this name as a tribute to his father.
To support himself, he worked at a number of office jobs, most famously at Elizabeth Arden – immortalised in the lyrics of "I'm Not Angry" as the "vanity factory" – where he worked as a data entry clerk. He worked for a short period as a computer operator at the Midland Bank computer centre in Bootle. He continued to write songs, and began actively looking for a solo recording contract. On the basis of a demo tape, he was signed to independent label Stiff Records. His manager at Stiff, Jake Riviera, suggested a name change, combining Elvis Presley's first name and Costello, his mother's maiden name., Fresh Air from WHYY, National Public Radio, WHYY-FM, Philadelphia, 28 February 1989 (rebroadcast 14 September 2007). Retrieved 16 September 2007.
Costello's first single for Stiff was "Less Than Zero," released on 25 March 1977. Two months later, his debut album, My Aim Is True (1977), was released to moderate commercial success (No. 14 in the UK and, later, Top 40 in the US) with Costello appearing on the cover in what became his trademark oversize glasses, bearing some resemblance to Buddy Holly. Stiff's records were initially distributed only in the UK, which meant that Costello's first album and singles were initially available in the US as imports only. In an attempt to change this, Costello was arrested for busking outside a London convention of CBS Records executives, protesting that no US record company had yet seen fit to release Costello records in the United States. Costello signed to CBS's Columbia Records label in the US a few months later.
Costello's backing on the debut album was provided by American West Coast band Clover, a country outfit living in England whose members would later go on to join Huey Lewis and the News and The Doobie Brothers. Later in 1977, Costello formed his own permanent backing band, The Attractions, consisting of Steve Nieve (born Steve Nason; piano), Bruce Thomas (bass guitar), and Pete Thomas (drums; unrelated to Bruce Thomas). He released his first major hit single, "Watching the Detectives," which was recorded with Nieve and the pair of Steve Goulding (drums) and Andrew Bodnar (bass), both members of Graham Parker's backing band The Rumour (whom he had used to audition for The Attractions).
Elvis Costello 1978.jpgthumb250pxleftElvis Costello, in Massey Hall, Toronto, April 1979 Photo: Jean-Luc Ourlin
On 17 December 1977, Costello and The Attractions appeared as the musical guest act on the episode of Saturday Night Live as a last minute fill-in for the Sex Pistols. Scheduled to play "Less Than Zero," he surprised the SNL crew by abruptly stopping the song mid-intro, and launching into "Radio Radio." This stunt helped ensure he would not appear on the show again until 1989. Following a whirlwind tour with other Stiff artists – captured on the Live Stiffs album, notable for Costello's recording of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David standard "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself" – the band recorded This Year's Model (1978). Some of the more popular tracks include the British hit "(I Don't Want to Go To) Chelsea" and "Pump It Up." His U.S. record company saw Costello as such a priority that his last name replaced the word Columbia on the label of the disc's original pressing.
A tour of the U.S. and Canada also saw the release of the much-bootlegged Canadian promo-only Live at the El Mocambo, recorded at a Toronto rock club, which finally saw an official release as part of the 2½ Years box set in 1993. It was during the ensuing United States tour that Costello met and developed a relationship with former Playboy model Bebe Buell (mother of Liv Tyler). Their on-again-off-again courtship would last until 1984 and would allegedly become a deep well of inspiration for Costello's songwriting. In 1979, he released Armed Forces (originally to have been titled Emotional Fascism, a phrase that appeared on the LP's inner sleeve). Both the album and the single "Oliver's Army" went to #2 in the UK. Costello also found time in 1979 to produce the debut album for 2 Tone ska revival band, The Specials.
Costello's standing in the U.S. was bruised for a time when in March 1979, during a drunken argument with Stephen Stills and Bonnie Bramlett in a Columbus, Ohio Holiday Inn bar, the singer referred to James Brown as a "jive-ass nigger", then upped the ante by pronouncing Ray Charles a "blind, ignorant, nigger". Costello apologised at a New York City press conference a few days later, claiming that he had been drunk and had been attempting to be obnoxious in order to bring the conversation to a swift conclusion, not anticipating that Bramlett would bring his comments to the press. According to Costello, "it became necessary for me to outrage these people with about the most obnoxious and offensive remarks that I could muster." In his liner notes for the expanded version of Get HappyThis text has been derived from Elvis Costello on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0