by Adam Hacker
photo by James O’Mara
Without exaggeration, Elvis Costello is easily one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century. Pub rock’s greatest acolyte has influenced countless musicians and were it not for his backing band Clover, we might not have been blessed by bands like Toto, The Doobie Brothers, and Huey Lewis & the News. (It gives me great joy to imagine Costello singing “Power of Love” or “Jesus Is Just Alright.”) While his Buddy Holly-inspired look seems to be over-the-top and at times makes him look like Rivers Cuomo’s dad, his stage presence feels seismic as an undeniable forefather of modern rock ‘n’ roll. Attaching any genre to Costello is reductive at this point as his career spans punk, country, power-pop, and occasionally even reggae. It’s truly a feat that he is only listed at number 80 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “Top 100 Greatest Songwriters” when his singing is one of his less appreciated traits. God bless Elvis Costello.