In 1971 Elvis moved with his family from London to Liverpool and played in a few groups including folk groups. Elvis did many jobs to keep money coming in, but eventually went back to London for work where he formed a group called Flip City.
It was in 1977 when with Stiff records he released his first single Less Than Zero from the album My Aim Is True. produced by Nick Lowe. Costello wrote in Rhino.
Less Than Zero" was a song I had written after seeing the despicable Oswald Mosley being interviewed on BBC television. The former leader of the British Union Of Fascists seemed unrepentant about his poisonous actions of the 1930s. The song was more of a slandering fantasy than a reasoned argument.The song was slightly rewritten for the U.S. audience to mention Lee Harvey Oswald and in 199 on a live TV show Elvis stopped playing that single and played Radio Radio instead.
Less Than Zero did not become a hit single, and another hit from the same album called Alison failed to single chart, but is now known as a classic Costello song. Costello has never actually said who this song is about.
The same album included a top twenty UK hit called Watching The Detectives.
"I was in my flat in the suburbs of London before I was a professional musician, and I'd been up for thirty-six hours. I was actually listening to another inductee's record, the Clash's first album. When I first put it on, I thought it was just terrible. Then I played it again and I liked it better. By the end, I stayed up all night listening to it on headphones, and I thought it was great. Then I wrote "Watching the Detectives".The song is about a man who should be loving his lady but watches TV instead. This is the first single to credited to Elvis Costello and the Attractions although it was in fact Graham Parker. The Attractions emerged properly in the next album..
Elvis next album was called This Years Model from 1978 and featured several big single hits. The biggest being (I Don't Want To) Go To Chelsea reaching No. 16.Other hits from this album included Pump It Up all about sexual frustration.
The last hit from the album was Radio Radio which was about the commercialization of radio and the control they yielded.
In 1979 came the album Armed Forces which produced the No 2 hit Oliver's Army which has nothing to do with Cromwell but is in fact to do with Elvis traveling through Belfast and seeing so many young soldiers.
The follow up single was Accidents Will Happen and to prove it the cover was printed upside down. The last single from the album and the last of the Elvis Costello became a hit in 1980 called I Wont Stand Up For Sitting Down.
Elvis Costello interviewed in 1978.