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In his early-1978 appearance on , Costello spontaneously substituted “Radio Radio,” a venomous attack upon the co-optation of commercial radio, for the song he had been scheduled to play.Costello suddenly found himself on the covers of British music magazines, and set ajar.The tirelessly productive Costello and the Attractions kept up the pace with the more accessible and poppier (1984), his first album to receive mixed reviews.
“In some cases, that was just what they became.”) The working album title was ’ central track, “Oliver’s Army,” on the premise that “they always get a working-class boy to do the killing.” It became Costello’s biggest hit to date, reaching Number Two and selling more than half a million copies in the U. The American version of concluded with the anthemic “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” a fiercely impassioned rendition of a gently ironic anti-war song by Nick Lowe.
He had begun writing his own material and was endeavoring to develop an original style.
The first wave of punk records by the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Damned helped sharpen his sensibility, and his debut single (“Less Than Zero”) reflected an anti-fascistic, angry-young-man outlook.
Greil Marcus profiled him in 1982: “He combined the brains of Randy Newman and the implacability of Bob Dylan, the everyman pathos of Buddy Holly and the uniqueness of John Lennon.” Indeed, every one of those figures exerted some degree of influence upon the broad-minded Costello.
His father, Ross Mc Manus, was a jazz vocalist and trumpeter who had sung with Joe Loss (“the British Glenn Miller”).