The son of British bandleader Ross McManus, Elvis Costello (born Declan McManus) worked as a computer programmer during the early '70s, performing under the name D.P. Costello in various folk clubs. In 1976, he became the leader of country-rock group Flip City. During this time, he recorded several demo tapes of his original material with the intention of landing a record contract. A copy of these tapes made its way to Jake Riviera, one of the heads of the fledgling independent record label Stiff. Riviera signed Costello to Stiff as a solo artist in 1977; the singer/songwriter adopted the name Elvis Costello at this time, taking his first name from Elvis Presley and his last name from his mother's maiden name.
My Aim Is True, his debut album, was released in the summer of 1977 to positive reviews; the album climbed to No. 14 on the British charts but it wasn't released on his American label, Columbia Records, until later in the year. Along with Nick Lowe, Ian Dury, and Wreckless Eric, Costello participated in the Stiffs Live package tour in the fall. At the end of the year, Jake Riviera split from Stiff Records to form Radar Records, taking Costello and Lowe with him. Costello's last single for Stiff, the reggae-inflected "Watching the Detectives," became his first hit, climbing to No. 15 at the end of the year.
Costello has since built a reputation as one of the world's top singer-songwriters and as a master of multiple musical styles. Along the way he has collaborated on record with an array of top international artists and multiple Grammy winners. One such artist, Opry member Emmylou Harris, invited Costello to make his Opry debut alongside her in February 2006.
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane