Spectacle Report

Elvis Costello Comes Alive

Elvis Costello Comes Alive

This week’s guest on SPECTACLE, Rufus Wainwright, is one of the most acclaimed songwriters of his generation. He is equally celebrated, however, for his power as a live performer; as he notes in the episode, he’s been on stage from a very young age, singing with his mother and aunt, the renowned folksingers the McGarrigle…

Elvis Costello and The Police

Elvis Costello and The Police

Following Tony Bennett with the Police this week only serves to underline Spectacle’s range. Obviously, we hope this strikes you viewers as engagingly eclectic (or eclectically engaging) and not crazy, because these shows are all different. But then that’s been a big part of the fun of making this series. To be honest, it was…

Elvis Costello and Reggae Influences

Elvis Costello and Reggae Influences

One of the most interesting—and often forgotten—musical cross-pollinations in rock history is the connection forged between punk and reggae in 1970s England. The scenes were so connected that when Bob Marley visited London in 1977, he wrote “Punky Reggae Party” to celebrate the common ground these communities were finding. Though the Clash was the band…

Spectacle Report: New Year's Eve

Spectacle Report: New Year's Eve

Whether you’re spending New Year’s Eve in black tie or in your bathrobe, you could do a lot worse in the entertainment department than watching Elvis and the great Tony Bennett. (Although if you are in your bathrobe, you may want to put on an ascot or heels – or both.) Now, unbelievably, an octogenarian,…

Elvis Costello and Standards

Elvis Costello and Standards

What is a “standard?” The dictionary on my desk, as its fifth definition for the word, says that it is “a piece of music that has remained popular for many years.” Which is actually a pretty good, non-partisan description from an old dictionary, since the word is almost always applied to a specific body of…

SPECTACLE playlist

SPECTACLE playlist

Check back each week for the previous week’s playlist. Episode 3 with Bill Clinton “Mystery Train” by Elvis Presley Performed by Elvis Costello and band (James Burton, Davey Faragher, Pete Thomas) “Baby Let’s Play House” by Elvis Presley Performed by Elvis Costello and band (James Burton, Davey Faragher, Pete Thomas) “Is This America? (Katrina 2005)”…

Bill Clinton on Spectacle

Bill Clinton on Spectacle

A conversation with a former president of the United States may seem out of the ordinary for a music interview and performance program, but then we like to think Spectacle is out of the ordinary to begin with. We’d talked about including Bill Clinton in the series almost from the beginning. Although the idea for…

Elvis Costello in the Nineties

Elvis Costello in the Nineties

This week’s guest on SPECTACLE, President Bill Clinton, is probably the single most defining figure of the 1990s. His election in 1992 marked the triumph of the Baby Boom generation on the global stage, and during his two terms in the White House, the United States enjoyed peace and unprecedented prosperity; the record federal budget…

Preparing with Lou Reed

Preparing with Lou Reed

Many thanks to all the people who watched our first episode and reacted so favorably and enthusiastically…we thought there was an audience for this kind of show – maybe we were right. The second episode on Sundance Channel features Lou Reed, with a special, not-to-be-missed appearance (and “performance”) by artist/filmmaker Julian Schnabel. Coincidentally, Julian got…

Elvis Costello And Punk Rock

Elvis Costello And Punk Rock

“Punk—what nonsense that was,” Elvis Costello recently said to Spin magazine. “I never really went along with the philosophical background…I’m just a songwriter. I knew older stuff and I knew newer stuff.” It’s easy to understand why, given his obvious other interests from Day One and the wide range of musical styles he would soon…

Elvis Costello and The Pop Tradition

Elvis Costello and The Pop Tradition

Elton John – Elvis Costello’s guest for the premiere episode of SPECTACLE (as well as one of the show’s executive producers) – is a towering example of contemporary pop songcraft. In a career spanning four decades, he has gone from creating such indelible melodies as “Your Song” and “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” to composing…

It's Alive!

It's Alive!

With the launch of SPECTACLE on Sundance Channel, it seems only fitting to reflect on how we got here. But the truth is the story of how SPECTACLE came to be is a bit of an epic itself, and we haven’t the time nor the bandwidth to do it justice here. Let’s just say David…

The Spectacle Report – Prologue

The Spectacle Report – Prologue

Welcome to the “Spectacle Report,” a new weekly journal that will delve deeply into the distinguished musical careers of Elvis Costello and his many guests. In these reports, we’ll explore the parallels and differences between Elvis and his guests, demystify some of the references dropped during the episodes and discuss some of the emerging themes…