Saturday, 2 June 2018
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
Released October 1973
Recorded at Chateau D'Herouville, France
In 1973 Elton John could do no wrong on both sides of the Atlantic. “Honky Chateau” and “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player” had paved the way, but this tour de force really put Elton and his magnificent lyricist Bernie Taupin into the limelight. Not forgetting the marvellous band - Davey Johnstone on lead guitar, Dee Murray on bass and Nigel Olsson on drums. They were red hot on this album.
Putting out a double album was always a risk but no such worries here. There is not a duff track on it. Even now, it is such a fulfilling listen. Amazing that something now forty-five years old still sounds so good. The remastering is amazing too as it is on all the Elton John Deluxe Editions.
1. Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
2. Candle In The Wind
3. Bennie And The Jets
4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
5. This Song Has No Title
6. Grey Seal
7. Jamaica Jerk-Off
8. I've Seen That Movie Too
9. Sweet Painted Lady
10. The Ballad Of Danny Bailey (1909-1934)
11. Dirty Little Girl
12. All The Girls Love Alice
13. Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n' Roll)
14. Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
15. Roy Rogers
16. Social Disease
The old “side one” is wonderful. “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” (Jim Steinman admits “Bat Out Of Hell’s long intro was influenced by this, along with Elton’s earlier “Burn Down The Mission”), the iconic “Candle In The Wind” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” are timeless. Subsequent highlights are “Grey Seal”, then my own personal favourite, the beautiful “Sweet Painted Lady” and the atmospheric “Danny Bailey”. “Your Sister Can Twist” is a fairground rocker and then you get the titanic assault that is “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” based on Bernie’s Lincolnshire upbringing and nights out in towns like Spalding and Market Rasen. Johnstone’s guitar in this is stunning, “Roy Rogers” sees Taupin revisit his Wild West fascinations.
“Harmony” is a lovely end of this fantastic album. Even lesser-known titles like “I’ve Seen That Movie Too” and “This Song Has No Title” are corkers. “All The Girls Love Alice” was ground-breaking, lyrically, for the time.
The bonus material of the 1973 Christmas Eve was what attracted me to buying this album again, however. I clearly remember watching it in my teenage bedroom on a tiny little portable TV we owned. It had a six inch screen but it was great to see Elton in concert. Now, all these years later it is wonderful to hear it.