Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £24.00

Buy Now for £24.00

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink, written and read by Elvis Costello.

In a career spanning four decades, Elvis Costello (born Declan MacManus) has made himself a huge reputation through his tunes, lyrics and occasional bad behaviour. Now, for the first time, he is telling his story.

From miming on Top of the Pops to becoming one of the industry's elder statesmen, Costello's memoir - which he has written himself and will promote assiduously - is a one-man history of British music.

A warm, deep and surprisingly funny insight into an amazing life, it is rich with anecdotes about family, musicians and the creation of his famous songs.

©2015 Elvis Costello (P)2015 Penguin Books Limited

What listeners say about Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    104
  • 4 Stars
    60
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    120
  • 4 Stars
    37
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    90
  • 4 Stars
    59
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Must for Music Lovers

The cover of this title shows a 20-something Costello relaxing on a hotel bed, guitar in hand, notebook lying close by, waiting his turn to hit the stage with his band The Attractions. And this turns out to be a very apt picture, as the tone of this excellent book is very much in the style of a casual conversation.

Rather than tell his story in chronological order as you might expect, Costello instead looks at the components and aspects of his long career in which the telling of one story triggers a memory of another one and so he digresses for a minute before returning to his original theme.

For instance, he talks of his father, a professional session singer and long-time member of the very popular Joe Loss Orchestra. As he tells the story of how he would spend some childhood Saturdays watching his dad work the afternoon crowds at the local Locarno Ballroom, he is reminded of a time years later when he and his band ran into his dad at 3am at the Blue Boar Services on the M1, a popular stopping place for working bands after a hard nights playing. Whilst recalling his initial recording experiences in the late 70s, he is reminded of how his dad was booked to sing the “R Whites Lemonade” theme tune for a TV ad (“I’m a secret lemonade drinker”) and how Costello himself, only a teen, was roped in to provide the now famous “R Whites” chant on backing vocals.

Train journeys similarly evoke memories for him, be he on the way to an important meeting with his record label, a court appearance following a publicity stunt that went wrong, or simply going home for Xmas. The overall effect is of listening to Costello tell tales whilst he sits on a hotel bed, strumming his guitar. It’s very engaging.

I was also surprised to find that Costello was not the snarling, punk wunderkind portrayed in his videos, but actually preferred listening to Crosby, Stills and Nash and Joni Mitchell, as he held down a series of day-jobs to support his wife and young son whilst all the time dreaming about, and working towards, a far different future.

Costello does a first-class job of the narration, and keeps the listener engaged throughout. At the time of writing this I’ve not yet finished the book, and am very much looking forward to my commute home for an opportunity to pull on my headphones, shut out the world and catch up on the next chapter.

Very highly recommended

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Needs staying power

If like me you know little more about the author that his late 70s early 80's career with The Attractions then you're in for a real eye opener.
Liked:
The narration by Elvis,.He's a great storyteller and has a relaxed, understated style that's easy to listen to. Needs to be as the tome is over 18 hours!
What I learned about the myriad of musicians that Elvis worked with and their music.
Discovering the broad talents and considerable reputation of the man himself.
The book isn't linear, it jumps about all over the timeline making it like a long chat with the author. 18 hours of 'next...' would have been tough.

Negatives
Many rambling sorties off track that just didn't hold my interest. Towards the end there's several minutes of something approaching a short story that seemed to have no context. It's pure self indulgence and happens too often, hence 18 hours of book! I wanted to ffwd too many times but resisted the urge to do so.

Overall it's a great insight in to what made the man. it's all about family and music, swerving any muck raking surrounding relationships and substance abuse. Stick with it's one for the music lovers.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating account of a creative life

A huge fan of this talented and passionate musician, this honest and entertaining account of a driven creative had me glued to my i pad for a week. Read by the man himself and peppered with his lyrics and short stories it gave a very personal insight into his inspiration and obsessions and provided a fascinating historical context for his musical outputs.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Spectacle!

Fantastic book written and read perfectly by Mr. Costello.
I particularly enjoyed his vocal delivery and impressions.
When telling the story of his father's passing, hearing the emotion and hearing Elvis' voice slightly crack, brought a tear to my eye.
I do home Mr. Costello continues writing, as I'd love to hear him read another audio book.
A superb memoir.
Highly recommended!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What a story…Best yet

Compelling, intriguing and cracking good tales from Elvis Costello. Written brilliantly and narrated with class as Elvis has a calm, almost understated voice that feels like a soft lit room wrapping itself around you. The story as a whole is simply a joy with plenty of nostalgic memories of music from yesteryears. A hidden gem that I’ll be re visiting a few times there is so much materials to take in. Brilliant stuff.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great to hear Elvis narrating his autobiography.

I was 14 years old, very short-sighted and having to wear national health glasses (black frames) and very self-conscious, living in a working-class area of Paddington, when I first heard "watching that detectives", just new straight away this is going to be my music, Love the music stories, and Elvis talking about his family history.


Elvis makes a fine narrator






  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely outstanding

Even if you have never heard a note of EC’s brilliant music, this book will fascinate you and touch your heart. A tribute to several lifetimes of music and a reflection on 20th century rock and roll like no other. Elvis Costello seems like the Forest Gump of music turning up at many of the most important moments and recounting his behind-the-scenes perspective like a fly on the wall who is also playing a tune in the second act. What a gent!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Basically a stream of consciousness

I love elvis costello BUT I did not love this book. It was read as well as elvis sings, fantastically. However like his lyrics it is very dense and difficult to follow. The form is not linear and elvis just assumes that you know a great deal about his music and life already. It's a shame, maybe it's me but I just did not like the style. I read bruce springsteens autobiography prior to this and found it mind blowing and I was not a bruce fan prior to that.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great!

Really enjoyed this, although the way it jumps around is slightlyannoying .
4 more words required

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Perfection

This is quite simply the most honest and heartfelt musicians autobiography I have ever read.

The non-linear structure just adds to the joy of it.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for hughesthat
  • hughesthat
  • 29-12-19

Evocative, melancholy and uplifting.

Evocative, melancholy and uplifting. Brilliantly written as you would expect. The narrative jumps around rather than being a case of this happened then that then that. You will want to have a streaming service handy to explore the hundreds of musical references that come up, both by Costello and the many other figures from the book.