We should rejoice as we head in to the holiday season that there is at least one voice of reason still left in the music community-and it belongs to one of my favorite artists of all time- Elvis Costello.
I discovered him in high school when a friend played “(What’s So Funny ‘bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” for me and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. It is, most certainly, one of the songs I would like played at my funeral.
Elvis is upset at the price of a box set his label is releasing for Christmas. Called “The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Song Book” it retails for $202.66. Writing on his website today, he says that price is either “a misprint or satire”. It’s so refreshing to hear an artist tell us that the record company is screwing us. Costello recommends we buy a Louis Armstrong box set, “Ambassador of Jazz”, for $150 because the music is “vastly superior”.
As a performer who cut his teeth during the punk/new wave period of the late 70’s/early 80’s we are supposed to expect this from Elvis Costello. After all, punk artists hated corporations, eschewed success, and were generally unhappy with everything. However, he’s grown up, and older, and one might suspect that he needs the money as he gets closer to his golden years. I like the fact that Costello is honest and says don’t overpay for my music.
You won’t hear a lot of artists tell you their music is too expensive, their concerts tickets are too pricey, or that Louis Armstrong’s music is vastly superior. I admire the honesty almost as much as I admire his lyrical brilliance.