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The Best of the First 10 Years

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Album Review

Six years after the commencement of a major Elvis Costello reissue campaign at Rhino, his catalog transferred over to Universal, which had been releasing new Elvis music since 1998's Painted from Memory. Like every one of his previous two big catalog shifts — a campaign with Rykodisc/Demon in 1994, a jump to Rhino in 2001 — the 2007 series is preceded by a new hits collection, this time The Best of Elvis Costello: The First 10 Years, a 22-track collection of highlights that's pretty much exactly what it says it is. It is quite similar to the last previous single-disc collection, the 1994 Ryko/Demon set The Very Best of Elvis Costello and the Attractions, which also ran 22 tracks, 19 of which also appear on The First 10 Years. The three omissions — "Watch Your Step," "New Amsterdam," and "Love Field" — will not be missed by anybody looking for a new Costello comp in 2007, particularly because all three substitutions are better choices for the casual man: "New Lace Sleeves," "Almost Blue," and "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes," which bizarrely wasn't on the 1994 set. With these three songs rubbing shoulders with "Alison," "Watching the Detectives," "Pump It Up," "Oliver's Army," "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding," and all the other usual suspects, The Best of Elvis Costello: The First 10 Years winds up being the best single-disc summary and introduction to Costello's prime years.

Customer Reviews

Some Great Songs - But Just A Taster

The songs on here seem to cover Elvis Costello's first five albums or so, plus a few stray singles. There's a wealth of great tracks. However, if you like this then you need to know that there are many, many songs just as good (often even better) on the albums themselves. Indeed, some of the later ones on here are a bit duff when compared to what has been left out. Costello is one of those few artists who released albums so full of wonderful music that the singles only really scratched the surface. In these early years, his genius was prolific. Hopefully the original albums will be on iTunes soon and you can see what I mean. If not, go out and buy the first four (My Aim is True, This Year's Model, Armed Forces and Hi Fidelity). You won't regret it.

Expensive as a download

Great album... very expensive on iTunes. This is £4.99 currently from a well know Jersey based CD store including free delivery. And you have a physical CD and booklet. Don't waste your money here.


Throughout the years this man has been probably the single most prolific writer on the planet. There is too much missing here for you to really appreciate his talent. The singles were good but Oliver's Army for instance has to be one of the least favourites of many fans. Costello albums are available at knockdown prices right now on the web etc. so I suggest you go buy the older ones. You won't like it all, I don't.....and I saw the guy live in 1979. But I guarantee you'll like lots of it and you'll recognise true lyrical genius at work. Quite possibly the best songwriter ever to come out of the uk. (Lennon McCartney included)


Born: 25 August 1954 in Paddington, London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When Elvis Costello's first record was released in 1977, his bristling cynicism and anger linked him with the punk and new wave explosion. A cursory listen to My Aim Is True proves that the main connection that Costello had with the punks was his unbridled passion; he tore through rock's back pages taking whatever he wanted, as well as borrowing from country, Tin Pan Alley pop, reggae, and many other musical genres. Over his career, that musical eclecticism distinguished his records as much as his...
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