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Disturbed at the prospect of terminal promotion into white collar drudgery, Declan Patrick MacManus signs with Jake Riviera\’s fledgling independent, age twenty-two. The leap from computer data entry – in an era when IBM had not yet tipped the scales in its war on paper and Dickensian filing – is not quite so remarkable when one considers that Costello\’s father made a comfortable living as a vocalist with the Joe Loss Orchestra. McManus made his professional debut in 1974, performing on an advertising jingle for R. White\’s Lemonade – \”I\’m a Secret Lemonade Drinker\” – written and delivered by his dad. The pub and club scene was always just around the corner. The nicotine pull of rolling one\’s own. 

Flip City. In an interview conducted for \’Sounds\’ in 1977, the freshly laundered Elvis dismisses attempts to ferret into his past:

\”I don\’t want to talk about the past. It\’s dead and gone. I didn\’t appear in a puff of smoke; I\’ve been around a long time. If people weren\’t interested in what I was doing then, why do they want to know all about it now ?\”

Written by Declan McManus. Produced by Nick Lowe.

Sleeve photographs by Chris Gabrin.

ELVIS COSTELLO: LESS THAN ZERO from \”Less Than Zero b/w Radio Sweetheart\” 45 (Stiff) 1977 (UK)


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