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His ability to transcend musical boundaries by producing rock, country, punk, new wave, and soul infused discs throughout the decades has made Elvis Costello an icon. Costello was born out of the british pub rock scene in the mid-70s and has been a prolific musician in every genre for the better part of four decades. Elvis Costello tour dates have been scheduled throughout the US this Spring, 2011 in support of his most recent album, "National Ransom."
Born Declan Patrick MacManus in London, Costello developed an interest in music at an early age and formed his first band in 1971 as a teenager. He soon went solo, sought and won a recording contract with Stiff Records and at the advice of his manager, he boldly changed his name to Elvis Costello. He released his debut, "Less Than Zero," in 1977, which was received with critical and commercial success and was certified with platinum status in the UK and the US. He also debuted his signature oversized glasses, a trend that have made him recognizable throughout the decades. Elvis Costello toured and performed throughout the US in support of his debut and famously stopped mid-song on an appearance at Saturday Night Live. Stunts, and hits, fostered his image as an eccentric singer-songwriter and ensured demand for his persona throughout the 80s.
Costello and his backing band, The Attractions, continued to release records throughout the early 1980s. Due to mounting tensions the group disbanded, and Costello was featured as a solo artist at the 1985 Live Aid Benefit Concert. He soon developed a musical relationship with legendary producer, T-Bone Burnett, who would go on to produce some of Costello's classic work. Under T-Bone's guidance, Costello released, "Spike," in 1989. The album featured Costello's biggest American hit, "Veronica," which was co-penned with Paul McCartney.
Costello coasted through the 90s, releasing ten albums, many of which included collaborations with various genres. He released the classical music collaboration, "The Juliet Letters," with the British string group, the "Brodsky Quartet." He also released an album with American pianist, Burt Bacarach, entitled "Painted From Memory," in 1998. Most notably, however, Elvis Costello was enshrined in pop culture with his appearances in the "Austin Powers" franchise where he played himself in the first two films. Elvis Costello concert dates were scheduled with his former backing band, "The Attractions," in the mid-90s for a brief reunion.
By the 2000s, Elvis Costello was still producing and touring. He formed a new back-up band, The Imposters, which included the same line-up as the Attractions minus their original bass player. Costello and T-Bone continued their close collaborations and in 2004, the duo were nominated for an Academy Award for their song "Scarlet Tide," which was featured on the soundtrack for the film "Cold Mountain." Costello also continued to collaborate with other artists, such as Alison Krauss, Marian McPartland, and Diana Krall (whom he married in 2003). The Elvis Costello concert schedule had him performing at dates in The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and a co-headlining gig with the Police for their 2007/8 Reunion Tour. Costello closed out the decade with appearances on the Stephen Colbert show and the NBC sitcom, 30 Rock, which reintroduced his quirky style to a new generation.
Costello returned in 2010, with new material, "National Ransom," and continues to tour and collaborate with other artists. He most recently played with the Strokes at Madison Square Garden in April, 2011. Throughout the decades, his contributions to music are unparalleled and Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #80 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time! The Elvis Costello concert schedule (2011) is currently available. Elvis Costello tour dates are booked across the United States this Spring and Summer. Make sure you catch this iconic singer-songwriter when he is in your area. Use Eventful as your source for Elvis Costello tour dates and venue information.
Singer/pianist Ben Folds (born September 12, 1966, in Winston-Salem, NC) is best known as the leader of the power pop trio
Ben Folds Five, but has also struck out on his own as a solo artist. Despite playing in bands in high school, his musical career didn't really get off the ground until the late '80s, as a bassist for Majosha (the outfit issued such obscure releases as Party Night: Five Songs About Jesus and Shut Up and Listen to Majosha). Proving his multi-instrumental talents, Folds also played drums as a session musician in Nashville. After relocating to New York, Folds started acting again (he'd done some theater in high school previously) and signed a publishing deal with Sony Music.
Moving back to North Carolina, Folds in 1994 formed Ben Folds Five, a trio that also included bassist Robert Sledge and drummer Darren Jessee. Whereas most alternative bands of the '90s specialized in distorted teen-angst rock, the guitarless trio was a refreshing break from the norm, their sound akin to such past power popsters as Todd Rundgren, Jellyfish, early Joe Jackson, and such piano-driven artists as Billy Joel and early Elton John. But like punk bands, Ben Folds Five put on a high-energy, blistering live show. The band was signed to the independent Caroline Records shortly afterward, resulting in their self-titled debut one year later. Due to airings of their humorous anthem "Underground" (which poked fun at the politics of the punk/alternative scene) on MTV's 120 Minutes) and constant touring, quite a buzz was stirring for the band by the time of their second album.
Released in 1997, Whatever and Ever Amen was pure pop perfection -- easily one of the year's best releases and perhaps the best power pop release of the '90s. The band's songwriting and sound had improved even further, as evidenced by such gems as "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces," "Fair," "Kate," and "Battle of Who Could Care Less," plus their whimsical tribute to breakups, "Song for the Dumped." But it was the ballad "Brick" that broke the band commercially -- unlike the majority of their material, which was upbeat, the song contained melancholic music and vocals, as the lyrics told the story of a teenage couple who decides to get an abortion (it has been speculated that the tale was autobiographical for Folds). The single didn't hit until several months after the album was released, which meant that the band stayed on the road for well over a year, playing with such notables as Dave Matthews, Beck, and as part of the 1997 H.O.R.D.E. festival -- earning Whatever platinum status.
While 1998 didn't see a new studio album by the band, BF5's former label issued a 16-track rarities collection (Naked Baby Photos), as Folds released his first solo album, Volume 1, under the pseudonym Fear of Pop. Although the album went largely unnoticed, it included the song "In Love," which included overly dramatic vocals from none other than Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner (comparable in approach to Shatner's must-hear 1968 album, The Transformed Man) and which was performed on The Conan O'Brien Show shortly after the album's release. Ben Folds Five regrouped with 1999's The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, which was a more mature work than its predecessors, although the energetic lead-off single, "Army," showed that Folds' humorous approach hadn't dulled at all. Folds officially went solo again in 2001 with Rockin' the Suburbs. A series of EPs followed, with the new long-player Songs for Silverman dropping in 2005. He released Supersunnyspeedgraphic: The LP the following year.