Elvis Costello is our first Featured Artist of 2014. Check out his YouTube clips posted on our Home Page. It's hard to do justice to his prolific and protean talents within our limited space, but I've found a few gems.

The English singer-songwriter Declan MacManus who liked replica watches adopted the stage name Elvis Costello when he released his first single, "Less Than Zero," in March 1977. Five months later, Elvis Presley died. When Costello's first LP was released in the U.S. that November, it was so damned good it earned him a pass on the sacrilege of copping The King's first name.

Costello's first three albums constituted an almost seamless flow of great songs and performances in contemporary punk and new wave styles, featuring a fetching sense of wordplay and a distinctive voice blending detached irony with committed passion. Each of the three was among the very best albums of 1977-1979. His legacy was already secure.

Costello continued to make significant albums until he parted company with his band, The Attractions, at the end of 1986. Since then he has released many solo albums and also partnered on album projects with a wide range of other musicians, from Paul McCartney and But Bacharach to Allen Toussaint and, most recently, The Roots.

He has said that Wise Up Ghost, his 2013 CD with The Roots, will be his last. If so, he's going out on top. Check out this live-in-the-studio rendition of "Walk Us Uptown," the lead track from that CD, one of my favorite albums of the year. This is the album's most immediately accessible song, but there's nary a weak track on it.

Costello also hosted a superb TV series on the Sundance channel, Spectacle, which for two seasons (2008-2009) brought many of the best musical artists in the world to an intimate setting to be interviewed about their music and to perform by themselves and together with Costello. This clip of E.C. and Lou Reed singing Reed's "Perfect Day" on Spectacle showcases the kind of unique chemistry afforded by the intimate setting of this show.