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My Aim Is True

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Performer Notes
  • The 2001 edition of MY AIM IS TRUE comes with a bonus disc of rare material including demos and alternative versions of songs.
  • Personnel: Elvis Costello (vocals, guitar, piano); John McFee (guitar, pedal steel); Alex Call (guitar); Sean Hopper (piano, organ, background vocals); Steve Nieve (piano, organ); Nick Lowe (piano, bass, background vocals); Stan Shaw (organ); John Ciambotti (bass, background vocals); Bruce Thomas, Andrew Bodnar (bass); Michael Shine, Steve Goulding, Malcolm Dennis, Ian Powling (drums); Dickie Faulkner (percussion).
  • Recorded at Pathway Studios, Islington, United Kingdom from 1976 to 1977. Originally released on Stiff (UK SEEZ 3)/Columbia (US 35037). Includes liner notes by Elvis Costello.
  • When MY AIM IS TRUE was released in 1977, no one knew that the character on the cover, with coke-bottle glasses, ill-fitting clothes, and Jerry Lewis posture would become a pop-culture icon. Elvis Costello arrived as the uber-geek, hell-bent on blowing away years of macho rock posturing with his revenge-of-the-nerds image and sharp, snappy sound, instantly defining New Wave. In retrospect, the songs--with echoes of everything from the Band ("Blame It on Cain") to the Byrds ("[The Angels Wanna Wear My] Red Shoes")--owed more to rootsy pub-rock than it did to punk, but it was still miles beyond the hairy-chested blues-rock theatrics bogging down the airwaves in the mid-'70s.
  • While Elvis hadn't hooked up with the Attractions yet, he's ably backed on most of the album by Californian pub-rockers Clover (who would eventually become--shhh--Huey Lewis & the News), and crucially, on the white-reggae "Watching the Detectives," by Steve Goulding and Andrew Bodnar, on loan from key Costello influence Graham Parker. None of this would have mattered had Costello's melodic knack not been so crafty and his lyrics so trenchant, immediately establishing him as the premier singer/songwriter of the post-hippie era.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.136) - Ranked #168 in Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time"

Rolling Stone (8/16/01, p.106) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...One of the great debut albums in the annals of pop music. Balancing the rage of punk with the formalism of the century's best songcraft, the album delivers passion and intelligence in equal measure..."

Entertainment Weekly (p.147) - "[O]ne of rock's most potent debuts..." -- Grade: A

Q (11/93, p.143) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...MY AIM IS TRUE is remarkable not only for its star turns ('Alison,' '[The Angels Wanna Wear My] Red Shoes'), but for the fine performances by Clover..."

Uncut (11/01, p.110) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...As classic a pop album as A HARD DAY'S NIGHT or PARADE....MY AIM IS TRUE created a new universe in 30 minutes..."
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