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Released: July 1977

Rating: 4.495 (average of 17 ratings)

Genre: rock > new wave

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. Welcome to the Working Week
  2. Miracle Man
  3. No Dancing
  4. Blame It on Cain
  5. Alison
  6. Sneaky Feelings
  7. The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes
  8. Less Than Zero
  9. Mystery Dance
  10. Pay It Back
  11. I’m Not Angry
  12. Waiting for the End of the World
  13. Watching the Detectives *
* Only on U.S. version.

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 1.0
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 1.0


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 32
peak on U.K. album chart 14

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Less Than Zero (3/77) --
  • Alison (5/77) --
  • The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes (7/77) –
  • Watching the Detectives (11/5/77) #15 UK

Notes: Rykodisc/Demon's 1993 reissue added nine bonus tracks, some of which were demos of Costello’s first group, Flip City. Additional songs: “Radio Sweetheart,” “Stranger in the House,” Imagination Is a Powerful Deceiver,” “Cheap Reward,” “Jump Up,” “Wave a White Flag,” “Poison Moon,” and demo versions of “Mystery Dance” and “Blame It on Cain.” These cuts were also part of Rhino’s 2001 2-CD reissue, alongside four other songs – live versions of “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself” and “Less Than Zero” along with early versions of “Living in Paradise,” and “No Action” (both songs from 1978’s This Year’s Model.


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. One of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time One of VH1’s 100 Greatest Rock & Roll Albums of All Time.

My Aim Is True
Elvis Costello
“Elvis Costello was as much a pub-rocker as he was a punk-rocker and nowhere is that more evident than on his debut, My Aim Is True. It’s not just that Clover, a San Franciscan rock outfit led by Huey Lewis (absent here), back him here, not the Attractions, it’s that his sensibility is borrowed from the pile-driving rock & roll and folksy introspection of pub-rockers like Brinsley Schwarz, adding touches of cult singer/songwriters like Randy Newman and David Ackles.” STE

“Then, there’s the infusion of pure nastiness and cynical humor, which is pure Costello. That blend of classicist sensibilities and cleverness make this collection of shiny roots rock a punk record – it informs his nervy performances and his prickly songs. Of all classic punk debuts, this remains perhaps the most idiosyncratic because it’s not cathartic in sound, only in spirit. Which, of course, meant that it could play to a broader audience, and Linda Ronstadt did indeed cover the standout ballad Alison.” STE

“Still, there's no mistaking this for anything other than a punk record, and it’s a terrific one at that, since even if he buries his singer/songwriter inclinations, they shine through as brightly as his cheerfully mean humor and immense musical skill; he sounds as comfortable with a ‘50s knockoff like No Dancing as he does on the reggae-inflected Less Than Zero. Costello went on to more ambitious territory fairly quickly, but My Aim Is True is a phenomenal debut, capturing a songwriter and musician whose words were as rich and clever as his music.” STE

Review Sources:

Related DMDB Link(s):

Next Album: This Year’s Model (1978)

Last updated March 14, 2010.