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Elvis Costello Reveals Cancer Surgery, Cancels European Tour

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Elvis Costello has canceled the remaining dates on his European tour after revealing he is recovering from surgery for an “aggressive” form of cancer. Costello, who is now 63, explained the although the prognosis is good but that his doctor “has strongly advised him to take a break from his current tour itinerary and rest.”

Costello, who did not reveal the specific kind of cancer he’s dealing with, posted in part on his official website (, “Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, ‘You should start playing the Lotto.’ He had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery. I was elated and relieved that our European summer tour could go ahead.

Post-surgical guidelines for such surgery, recommend three weeks to four weeks recovery depending on whether you are returning to a desk job or an occupation that involves physical work or travel. It was impossible to judge how this advisory would line up with the demands on a traveling musician, playing 90-minute to 2-hour-plus performances on a nightly basis but by the time we reached the Edinburgh Playhouse, I was almost fooled into thinking that normal service had been resumed.

Take very good care of your loved ones but Gentleman, do talk to you friends — you’ll find you are not alone — seek your doctor’s advice if you are in doubt or when it is timely and act as swiftly as you may in these matters. It may save your life. Believe me, it is better than playing roulette.”

Although Elvis Costello is by far one of the most scholarly singer-songwriters when it comes to pop music in the 20th century, he understands that the actual art of songwriting is as big a mystery to him as it was to his heroes: “Music just starts to arrive in your head and at your fingertips and you don’t have any choice but to — y’know, unless you’re a real fool — to take it on, and try and work out what it is that is happening.”

Photo Courtesy of  Andy Gotts

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