Elvis Is King: Costello’s My Aim Is True chronicles how a young man named Declan P. McManus transformed himself into rock star Elvis Costello, one of the most significant musical voices of his era. Costello — with his famous glasses, punk urgency, above-punk-level musicianship and touching sincerity — became that rarest of things in the arts: something new. The release of his unlikely debut album, My Aim Is True, was a virtual metronome for the cultural time it was made in, combining disparate musical influences into a package so sharply rendered that its genre seemed to have existed before. But it hadn’t. Costello invented it — just as he did his persona.
Author Richard Crouse, a Canadian film critic and culture vulture, smartly tells this tale of Costello’s beginnings — indeed he tells the tale of the invention of Elvis Costello the character. Another star of the book is Stiff Records, which was Dr. Frankenstein to Costello’s monster — and to his monster hits.