Elton John

Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

To the uninformed Elton John may have seemed like a flamboyant one hit wonder at the end of his twenty year time in the spotlight back in the early nineties.  Not too much has been heard of him since then, a few songs on a movie score here and there but nothing like his former glory.  My last two memories of Elton are of him performing at Princess Di’s funeral and all the praise he received for his work on The Lion King soundtrack but strike those two events I can’t think of too much else that he’s done in the past couple decades.  I’m here today to tell you that Elton John has created some fantastic original music that influenced a generation of musicians and non musicians alike.  Starting in 1970 he began a chain of album releases matched by few in consistency of quality throughout.

Elton John began his musical career in 1962.  Back then he was living in Middlesex, England and taking music related jobs pretty much wherever he could.  He’d play bars at night and work at record companies during the day.  This went on for a few years until John met up with Bernie Taupin, a gifted lyricist.  The two made an excellent pair with Taupin writing lyrics and John creating the melodies to match his lyrics.  They released their first album in England in 1969 without much fanfare.  They didn’t give up though and a second album was released in America and England in 1970.  This second album changed everything.  When John came to America to kick off his first US tour the first club he played was called The Troubadour, in LA.  This first show was in front of some major players in the music scene at the time, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond etc.  I’ve seen interviews with some of the attendees of that first show and they were blown away.  Over night Elton John had a American following and almost constant success from then on through the seventies.

Elton John’s music is primarily piano driven.  His backup can range from a traditional rock band to a full on orchestra to no backup at all.  So you never really know what you are gonna get when listening to a Elton John album for the first time.  Elton is a gifted piano player whom could play at an advanced level from a young age.  I read an article that told a story about when Elton went for his first lesson with a particular teacher at the age of seven, the teacher played him a classical piece as an example of the music he’d be learning to play.  After the teacher was done Elton played it back verbatim having completely learned the piece by ear from a single listen.

Of all the Elton John albums out there my faves are the ones from his 1970 self titled release to “Rock of the Westies” in 1975.  There are plenty of other good ones too but those are my faves and to be honest I haven’t thoroughly listened to his complete catalog because it is immense.  Here are Elton’s studio releases, keep in mind these are just the studio releases, no live albums or soundtracks.  I really didn’t know he had so many albums prior to writing this.  Elton John has to have one of the largest catalogs out there…

1) Empty Sky [1969]
2) Elton John [1970
3) Tumbleweed Connection [1970]
4) Madman Across the Water [1971]
5) Honky Château [1972]
6) Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player [1973]
7) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road [1973]
8) Caribou [1974]
9) Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy [1975]
10) Rock of the Westies [1975]
11) Blue Moves [1976]
12) A single Man [1978]
13) Victim of Love [1979]
14) 21 at 33 [1980]
15) The Fox [1981]
16) Jump Up! [1982]
17) Too Low for Zero [1983]
18) Breaking Hearts [1984]
19) Ice on Fire [1985]
20) Leather Jackets [1986]
21) Reg Strikes Back [1988]
22) Sleeping with the Past [1989]
23) The One [1992]
24) Duets [1993]
25) Made in England [1995]
26) The Big Picture [1997]
27) Songs from the West Coast [2001]
28) Peachtree Road [2004]
29) The Captain & The Kid [2006]

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