Few artists arrive with as much assurance as Elvis Costello. Fewer still arrive with debut albums as instantly significant as My Aim Is True.

In 1977, when Costello's first LP was released, the music scene – or at least the interesting music scene that was going through a revolution of sorts as punk started to branch off in thrilling new directions – was filled with angry young singers and songwriters who thought they had the answers to all of the world's problems. Most of them didn't, and neither did Costello.

But he had something the others didn't: a knack for writing timeless-sounding songs that weren't just raging against some faceless machine. Plus, he came with a sense of pop and rock history, as later records illustrate in our below list of Elvis Costello Albums Ranked Worst to Best.

Over a career that's spanned decades, and still matters after all this time, Costello has jumped genres more than any other artist of his caliber. Some of these musical experiments work (1982's Beatlesque baroque pop masterpiece Imperial Bedroom), some don't (Almost Blue, the pure country album he made in 1981). But he's rarely not been engaging, whether recording classical music, entire albums of covers or even hip-hop songs. And he's made at least a half-dozen LPs that belong in any serious music fan's collection.

Costello has released albums under various monikers over the decades. In addition to records credited with backing bands the Attractions and the Imposters, he's put out LPs attributed to the Costello Show as well as collaborative albums with Burt Bacharach, the Roots and others. You'll find all those included below. However, two classical-based albums on which he received or shared top billing – 2001's For the Stars with singer Anne Sofie von Otter and Il Sogno, a 2004 ballet score – have been left off because they don't fit as squarely into his discography. You can place them somewhere in the bottom quarter, if you wish.

Elvis Costello Albums Ranked

Even with a career spanning more than four decades, many collaborators and several record labels, his discography has had way more hits than misses.

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