Elvis Costello facts: Singer's wife, children, health, real name, and biggest songs revealed

7 June 2019, 16:30 | Updated: 10 June 2019, 09:52

Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Elvis Costello is one of the biggest pioneers of the punk and new wave movement back in the late 1970s.

He is also one of the most beloved singer-songwriters of his generation, thanks to his catchy and thought-provoking songs alongside his band The Attractions and beyond.

Here are all the big and important facts about the cult icon:

  1. Who is Elvis Costello and what is his real name?

    Elvis Costello in 1978
    Elvis Costello in 1978. Picture: Getty

    Born Declan Patrick MacManus, Elvis Costello is an English musician, producer, author, TV presenter, and actor.

    He began his career in London's pub rock scene in the early 1970s, and later became part of the first wave of the British punk and new wave era later that decade.

    Elvis has won several awards, including a Grammy Award, and has twice been nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Male Singer. In 2003, Costello and the Attractions were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    Costello picked his stage name when he signed his first record deal with Stiff Records. His manager, Jake Riviera, suggested a name change and Costello went with Elvis Presley’s first name and his father’s stage name Costello.

    His father, Ross MacManus, was a British band leader who went by the name Day Costello onstage.

    He legally changed his name to Elvis Costello in 1977, then legally changed it to Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus in 1986.

  2. What are Elvis Costello's biggest songs?

    Among Costello's biggest hits include:

    - 'Alison'

    - 'Watching the Detectives'

    - 'Oliver's Army'

    - '(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea'

    - 'Pump it Up'

    - 'Everyday I Write the Book'

    - 'She' (a cover of the Charles Aznavour song for the Notting Hill soundtrack)

  3. Who is Elvis Costello's wife and does he have children?

    Elvis Costello and Diana Krall
    Elvis Costello and Diana Krall. Picture: Getty

    Elvis Costello has been married three times.

    In 1974, he married Mary Burgoyne, and had one son, Matthew.

    At the end of his first marriage, Costello had an affair with Bebe Buell, then-girlfriend of singer Todd Rundgren, and the mother of Steven Tyler's daughter Liv Tyler.

    In 1986, Costello married Pogues bassist Cait O'Riordan, and they split up by 2002.

    In 2003, he married singer Diana Krall at the home of Elton John. Krall gave birth to twin sons, Dexter Henry Lorcan and Frank Harlan James, in December 2006.

  4. Was Elvis Costello diagnosed with cancer?

    In July 2018, Elvis Costello cancelled six dates of his European tour on doctor's orders.

    This was due to his recovery from surgery to treat cancer. He apologised to his fans, as he thought he had recovered enough from the surgery to complete the tour.

    In November 2018, he gave fans an update on his condition, saying: I’m great! I was extremely lucky to have this little thing found.”

    "I was receiving letters for three weeks. No, I am not dying! It’s not to make a joke of it, because you don’t have to walk very far to find somebody you love who’s genuinely having a fight [with cancer].”