Best Quotes by Elvis Costello

By | October 7, 2016

These are the sort of things that push you on in music – the curiosity, a passion for new ideas.

Elvis Costello

Happiness isn’t a fortune in a cookie. It’s deeper, wider, funnier, and more transporting than that.

Elvis Costello

People become so deeply attached to the sound of one period that they blow a fuse when you move on. I’ve heard people complain bitterly about recordings they haven’t even heard.

Elvis Costello

And over the last ten years, after my work with the Brodsky Quartet, I had the opportunity to write arrangements for chamber group, chamber orchestra, jazz orchestra, symphony orchestra even.

Elvis Costello

My ultimate vocation in life is to be an irritant.

Elvis Costello

I know that when I make a record like The Delivery Man as a contrast to even Il Sogno, this is going to reach a wider audience, because it communicates in that very direct way.

Elvis Costello

‘Content’ is a word that has never sat well with me. Like ‘maturity’. They are two words I’ve never liked. I think they imply some sort of decay. A settling.

Elvis Costello

Mention Hubert Sumlin, as well, because Hubert’s a great man, and again, you know, I don’t play the guitar very good, but when I’m playing this kind of music, I always have him in my mind. I wish I could play like Hubert.

Elvis Costello

I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused.

Elvis Costello

My family calls me Declan. But most people call me E.C. I think it comes from my dad. It’s an Irish convention. You usually call the first child by the initials.

Elvis Costello

You have to face the fact that I have no reputation as a composer; I have my reputation as a songwriter and a performer-and that opportunity came this summer, when I was invited to perform at the Lincoln Centre festival in New York… three nights.

Elvis Costello

Life for me is about movement.

Elvis Costello

The Internet is overrated. It’s much smaller an innovation than people think it is. I don’t think it’s changed the way anybody makes music.

Elvis Costello

And I don’t feel any form of music is beyond me in the sense of that I don’t understand it or I don’t have some love for some part of it.

Elvis Costello

I find humming is very useful.

Elvis Costello

Maybe I just never learned my harmony part, because what everybody says sounds odd to them sounds perfectly natural to me.

Elvis Costello

Sometimes I write notes that I have difficulty singing.

Elvis Costello

I’m a working travelling musician, but just on a bigger scale.

Elvis Costello

Women hear rhythm differently than men.

Elvis Costello

There’s no such thing as an original sin.

Elvis Costello

And obviously, when I started out, I had a little bit more curiosity than some, and went seeking out the original artists, or in some cases searching up country music.

Elvis Costello

But there are things in Il Sogno that the methods of The Delivery Man could never achieve.

Elvis Costello

I found with this record I had to really be strong-willed, because in the past I’ve tended to tinker and add a thing or take a thing away, and nearly always been wrong.

Elvis Costello

I’d been to Memphis before, but we stayed out of Memphis early on in the late 70s for obvious reasons. People were very sensitive about Elvis Presley, and my stage name obviously would be provocative to some people in that area at that time.

Elvis Costello

I’ve been lucky to listen to lots of different types of music.

Elvis Costello

Obviously I got known for some other songs early on, and some of those were rock’n’roll songs. Some of them were melodic pop songs. And I’ve done lots of different things, as you know, but every so often I get drawn back.

Elvis Costello

Obviously the people that I admired, like the Beatles, were really into rock’n’roll, but it was already a little past rock’n’roll when I started listening and making my own choices about music.

Elvis Costello

Really the only thing holding a lot of records together is the personality of the singer, and the will to write all of these different things.

Elvis Costello

There are many critics who have an idealised version of where my strengths lie.

Elvis Costello

Very similar experience happened last year when we released this album, North. It was on Deutsche Grammophon, it was very, very honest. It was the most honest record I’ve ever written.

Elvis Costello

Well, I’ve had a lot of different experiences in music over the years. And not everything you do can satisfy everybody’s idealised version of you.

Elvis Costello

Well, T Bone’s had a remarkable career as a producer since the time that we first worked together. He was dividing his time between recording and producing when we first met, and touring. We toured together and we were great friends.

Elvis Costello

You need a platform upon which to release an orchestral record, otherwise it’s just going to be an obscurity.

Elvis Costello

I believe that music is connected by human passions and curiosities rather than by marketing strategies.

Elvis Costello

People tend to repeat the same quotes at me that I said when I was 23. And of course, you say things then, and sometimes they’re ill-advised.

Elvis Costello

I don’t think I was ever particularly mean. I can certainly think of some idiotic exchanges I’ve had. I was accused of destroying pop music, like Wagner destroyed opera – a guy in Germany started ranting that at me.

Elvis Costello

I’ve always felt writing a song was a bit like going on location. That’s true in an almost literal sense. Where you are seeps in somehow.

Elvis Costello

I’ve worked hard, every single day since I left school. I think I have a Protestant work ethic.

Elvis Costello

You do have to be a bit careful with your voice. It is an instrument.

Elvis Costello

Smokey Robinson writes the heartfelt songs, whereas it was my job to write the songs about weakness and failure in love.

Elvis Costello

I think when I was younger I was not very good at writing love songs that didn’t have a twist.

Elvis Costello

We’re all just animals. That’s all we are, and everything else is just an elaborate justification of our instincts. That’s where music comes from. And romantic poetry. And bad novels.

Elvis Costello

Songs are more powerful than books.

Elvis Costello

Living a very long time would be a very scary thing.

Elvis Costello

There was not a lot of rock n’ roll in the house. Our parents didn’t think it was very groovy, and I tend to agree with them. If you grew up with Charlie Parker, Bill Haley wasn’t very hip.

Elvis Costello

It’s a petty thing, but I wouldn’t join the Scouts when I was a kid, ’cause you had to swear allegiance to the queen. I’m just not a royalist. I think it’s idiotic, a hereditary principle.

Elvis Costello

I’ve never felt British. I’m just not interested in national identity. I don’t know why.

Elvis Costello

It’s what I do. I don’t deserve any awards for this, it’s just music. It’s just writing songs. You sit down, you write a song, you record it. You tour and play the songs live, dress them up a bit differently, or dress them down.

Elvis Costello

I get very frustrated by this term ‘genre exercise.’ I mean, what exactly is that? Genre is not really relevant when you are writing a song; hopefully you are doing it to explore something, to create something, and I don’t agree that any of my albums are genre exercises.

Elvis Costello

I find it to be the ultimate backhanded compliment when you are compared against yourself.

Elvis Costello

I’ve had an unusual life. A life far removed from most people’s experience.

Elvis Costello

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