Friday, 20 December 2019

Elton John - The Eighties (1980-1989)




Elton John released an album in every year of the eighties, with the exception of 1987. The problem was, though, most of them weren't very good. I have tried to find the positives, however. They do improve as the decade progresses, so stick with it.

The albums covered are:-

21 At 33 (1980)
The Fox (1981)
Jump Up (1982)
Too Low For Zero (1983)
Breaking Hearts (1984)
Ice On Fire (1985)
Leather Jackets (1986)
Reg Strikes Back (1988)
and Sleeping With The Past (1989)

Scroll down to read the reviews chronologically.

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21 AT 33 (1980)

1. Chasing The Crown
2. Little Jeannie
3. Sartorial Eloquence
4. Two Rooms At The End Of The World
5. White Lady, White Powder
6. Dear God
7. Never Gonna Fall In Love Again
8. Take Me Back
9. Give Me The Love   

After the disastrous experiment that was Victim Of Love and its disco meddling, Elton John returned to a certain amount of normality with this album. Still part-estranged from Bernie Taupin for a while, (he contributed three songs) Gary Osborne was still his main lyricist. It is not a bad album though, in places. It is notable, though, that the Taupin songs are three of the best ones - Chasing The CrownTwo Rooms At The End Of The World and White Lady, White Powder. We were heading into the eighties, though, and the worst aspects of that decade were beginning to make themselves known via drum machines, layered synthesised keyboards and the like. A Single Man, from 1978, for example, had none of that sort of thing. It had the band playing "proper" rock, still.

                                     
Chasing The Crown is a thumping, bassy rocker to open with which was relief after the previous album. He was playing piano again, too, which he hadn't done on that previous one. The beguiling, melodic Little Jeannie was a single and a most fetching one it was too, with an addictive hook and Elton on fine vocal form. There are slight hints of Daniel on the song, just every now and then. My personal favourite on the album is is the big, dramatic ballad Sartorial Eloquence which has an excellent build up to a very catchy chorus. Two Rooms At The End Of The World is a riffy, rocking number while White Lady, White Powder is an exhilarating, singalong ode to cocaine from an Elton who was getting increasingly dependent. It was a song addressing his problem, but almost admitting there wasn't much he could do about it. The desperate plea of Dear God comes next, maybe quite appropriately.

Never Gonna Fall In Love is an appealing ballad and Take Me Back is an upbeat, country-ish number with Elton adopting that strange, twangy voice he does on occasions and a fiddle break in the middle. Give Me The Love is a slightly dull but perfectly pleasant closer, albeit with some nice orchestrated backing, to what was actually quite a short album. It certainly wasn't a special album in any way, it had its high points, but it is not one out of  Elton's many albums, all of which I own, that I return to very often.

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THE FOX (1981)

1. Breaking Down Barriers
2. Heart in The Right Place
3. Just Like Belgium
4. Nobody Wins
5. Fascist Faces
6. Carla/Etude - Fanfare - Chloe
7. Heels of The Wind
8. Elton's Song
9. The Fox 
              
Elton John spent the eighties trying to re-focus, using songwriter Gary Osborne as well as Bernie Taupin. The results were mixed. In some ways this is a "treading water" album, in other ways there are a couple of hidden gems on it.                                        
The first track, Breaking Down Barriers is rather nondescript and suffers from  muddy production somewhat. Heart In The Right Place is a heavy, clunky rocker with some killer lead guitar on it.

Just Like Belgium is one of my favourite, "undiscovered" Elton John songs. It is a Bernie Taupin song and you can tell. It is catchy, singalong and just very enjoyable. Nobody Wins is a late-era ABBA-esque, European-influenced melody but it is buried in eighties production and just sort of passes you by. Fascist Faces is a hard-hitting grinding rocker, with some searing guitar at the end and is a rare time when Taupin has written blatantly political lyrics.



Carla/Etude/Fanfare/Chloe form a neo-classical, highly orchestrated piece that has four parts. It has its ups and downs, but it is pretty unremarkable, to be honest. It is less than the sum of its parts. It is certainly no Funeral For A FriendHeels Of The Wind is a lively, upbeat Taupin song, but it is another one blighted by eighties production. It would have been a lot better with a conventional "rock" approach.

The final two tracks are excellent - the plaintive lament of Elton's Song and the slow-burning but melodic The Fox. Again you can tell it is a Taupin song as soon as Elton starts singing. Overall, it is an unremarkable album lit up by Just Like Belgium and The Fox.

  

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JUMP UP (1982)

1. Dear John
2. Spiteful Child
3. Ball And Chain
4. Legal Boys
5. I Am Your Robot
6. Blue Eyes
7. Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)
8. Princess
9. Where Have All The Good Times Gone
10. All Quiet On The Western Front                      

This is one of Elton John's unfortunately half-baked albums that were juxtaposed with good ones throughout the eighties. He still had not properly reunited with Bernie Taupin (he wrote lyrics on five of the tracks) and the results are predictably uneven.

Dear John starts off with a Saturday Night's Alright drum shot and is a riff-laden, upbeat rocker, but is somewhat blighted, as many eighties recordings were, by synthesisers in the backing. Elton's vocal is strong and confident and, while the track is enjoyable, it is nothing special. It has a nice bit of  piano boogie at the end, though. Spiteful Child, a John/Taupin song, again has an intro that reminds you of an older, better track, this time it is Honky Cat. Thereafter it is pretty much downhill. The song is ponderous, despite its occasional killer piano licks. It is listenable enough, but not anything that makes you particularly want to listen to it again in a hurry. Ball And Chain, again, is catchy enough, with handclaps and "doo-doo" backing vocals, but there is just something missing, that certain je ne sais quoi. It is hard to put my finger on it, however. Legal Boys is a collaboration with Sir Tim Rice and sounds like it - dramatic and theatrical, as if it were written for a musical. It actually has a bit of an appeal, particularly when the chorus kicks in.

  

The inane (both musically and lyrically) I Am Your Robot, astonishingly, is a John/Taupin song and probably, despite a few lively rocky riffs, best left undiscussed. Blue Eyes, of course, written with second songwriting partner Gary Osborne, is a different matter and was the tender, romantic, yearning hit single from the album. There were always one or two excellent tracks, even on these slightly under-par albums. Continuing the quality is Elton and Bernie's poignant tribute to their old friend John Lennon in Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny).  It is a moving song, especially at the end, when it speaks of Lennon's Empty Garden. Elton and Osborne's Princess is actually quite appealing in a schmaltzy early eighties sort of way, with that cute little guitar bit on the chorus.

Where Have All The Good Times Gone amazingly, also starts like an older song, it's Philadelphia Freedom this time. The whole song has vibes of that hit from 1975. It is a nostalgic song for times gone by and in that respect, is sort of self-perpetuating. Then, it's All Quiet On The Western Front, one of those big, piano-led slow ballads that Elton and Bernie did so well in the early/mid seventies. It sounds as if it should be on Don't Shoot Me. It is a good one, let's be honest. Big and dramatic, with one of those really moving Elton vocals. It has some killer guitar/drum interplay right at the end.

There are some good moments on the album, yet it is always labouring in the shadow of the next album, Too Low For Zero (largely because of that one's hit singles). A treading water offering. (It has an awful eighties-style cover, front and rear, too).

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TOO LOW FOR ZERO (1983)

1. Cold As Christmas
2. I'm Still Standing
3. Too Low For Zero
4. Religion
5. I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
6. Crystal
7. Kiss The Bride
8. Whipping Boy
9. Saint
10. One More Arrow  
                                           
After several years in the (comparative) wilderness, people were beginning to wonder if Elton John was still relevant or whether he now was just another washed up has-been. There was a convincing argument to say that he hadn't put out a decent album since 1975's Captain Fantastic. Some occasional moments of brilliance, but not too much more, let's be brutally honest. Punk and its rages had been and gone, new wave too, even New Romanticism was getting passe. It had all morphed into pop - synthesised, often electronic, drum machine pop. Elton John could actually find his place back in this milieu - as a grand old queen, loved by the old, middle-aged and young alike. He reunited his Bernie Taupin (not before time), got together his old band and released this album that got close to recapturing the feeling of those halcyon days. Not quite though, the album was still somewhat blighted by the excesses of eighties production to be another Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Let's concentrate on the good points though. The opener, Cold As Christmas was a melodic, but quite bleak and poignant piano-driven ballad to begin the album on a laid-back note. I'm Still Standing changed that - a perfect eighties upbeat pounding pop song, that would suit both the clubs and the mainstream radio. Too Low For Zero was catchy and tuneful, but with a bit too much eighties percussion for my liking and grand synthesiser sweeps. There is still room for some classic Elton piano work, however. Religion was a chugging rocker with some Stonesy guitar in the background and a wry lyric about evangelism. It is ok, but Elton's voice sounds far weaker than it did ten years earlier and that whole bluesy rock groove the band used to have had disappeared to be replaced by a much slicker, polished sound, but one that, for me had lost its grit and soul. There is something a bit muffled about the sound on this album. Play this track, or I'm Still Standing and then play something from Don't Shoot Me or Caribou and I guarantee you will notice the difference.

  

I Guess Why They Call It The Blues suffers in the same way from a half-baked production, but even that can't detract from what was a classic Elton John single. Soulful, catchy and instant. No arguments to this song's classic status. Crystal, however,  is far too "synth pop" for my liking. A bit of a throwaway this one. It begins with foreboding wind sounds, like Funeral For A Friend and then goes all Euro Pop, electronic keyboards and all. Shame.

For many people, though, this album was the first Elton John album they bought and it consequently means a lot to them and they think it's great. For me, I find it quite a disheartening experience listening to this having just listened to Madman Across The WaterHonky Chateau and Don't Shoot Me. Also, later albums like the excellent Peachtree Road are vastly superior to this, in my opinion. Not just in terms of the quality of the songs, but in the sound quality too. Give me Peachtree Road over this any day.

Kiss The Bride was a single and a punchy, singalong rocker it was too (although, once again, strangely muffled) and Whipping Boy is similar, although much faster, and played at a fair old pace. Elton almost falls off the edge. Again, both of them are acceptable, but I can't get too far beyond the lifeless sound. I really miss the bluesy Elton on albums like this. It is far too pop for my taste. Saint is another track that I feel could have been produced better. There is also something about Elton's voice during this period that I just found too high in pitch. It had lost its bluesy growl of the seventies and had yet to get to the warm depth of the late nineties and beyond.

The closer, the grand piano and strings ballad One More Arrow again has a high voiced Elton grating somewhat on what is not a bad song. It could have been one of those great album closers, Like Curtains or High Flying Bird. However, it doesn't actually even sound like Elton. As I said, I know many, many people love this album, but it is not one of my favourites, and I own every album he has released. I understand the album's appeal, but like mid-eighties music in general, it wasn't quite to my taste.



** The non-album material from this album's sessions were -

Earn While You Learn, a lively organ and piano dominated instrumental. It is ok, but it goes on far too long at getting on for seven minutes, by the end of it much of its appeal has gone. Even longer at over seven minutes is Dreamboat, a track with a nice, gentle vocal and some attractive slightly funky guitar parts. It has vague hints of Betty Wright’s Clean Up Woman. Despite its length, it strangely doesn’t get tiresome. It just sort of drifts gently along. The Retreat is a more typical Elton John piano ballad with hints of the Tumbleweed Connection era about it until the eighties synthesisers take over. It is the best of these three tracks.

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BREAKING HEARTS (1984)

1. Restless
2. Slow Down Georgie (She's Poison)
3. Who Wears These Shoes
4. Breaking Hearts
5. Li'l 'Frigerator
6. Passengers
7. In Neon
8. Burning Buildings
9. Did He Shoot Her?
10. Sad Songs             

This is another of those patchy eighties albums from Elton John, that somehow didn't do it, either for me, or for many others, it would seem. However, listening to it again, I am pleasantly surprised to hear that is much better than I recall. I have owned it for years and not dug it out too often. I am finding it has hidden depths. Bernie Taupin was back with Elton full time now, as he had been on the previous album, the successful Two Low For Zero. Also, the Elton John Band - Dee MurrayDavey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson are all present here, which is always a good thing.
                                    
Restless get the album off to a fine start with some chunky Stonesy riffs and a confident, lively vocal. Slow Down Georgie (She's Poison) is lyrically banal, but is actually quite an exhilarating, upbeat number that gets you singing along, embarrassingly. Who Wears These Shoes is, funnily enough, also strangely addictive in its funky liveliness. Maybe it is not quite as ordinary an album as I remembered. Breaking Hearts is a bleak, sad song, hauntingly sung over a sparse piano and choral backing. Li'l 'Frigerator up the tempo once more, with a frantic, typical Elton seventies-style rocker.  He does this sort of thing so well. You know, I'm not that big a fan of Too Low For Zero and I find I am enjoying this album more, to be honest.

  

Passengers, I have always felt, was a really odd song, with its slightly reggae-ish beat and strange, chanted lyrics. It also has a captivating air about it, though. Maybe this album has a few hidden secrets. In Neon (or "Ne-awwwn" as Elton sings it, Jagger style) is a fetching, melodic slow number with that slightly country-ish feel to it that we are so familiar with in John/Taupin compositions. Burning Buildings is a big production, dramatic number reminiscent of the material on Captain FantasticDid He Shoot Her? is another surprisingly appealing one that I have found I have enjoyed all these years later more than I ever did. Elton's voice sounds excellent here, even though it was only a couple of years away from an operation.

Sad Songs is one we all know - melodic and singalong. It doesn't need further comment from me. What does need to be said, however, is that this is a far better album than I had remembered, or is popularly conceived as being. In my view it is the superior, not only of Jump Up! but also of Too Low For Zero.



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ICE ON FIRE (1985)


1. Your Town
2. Cry To Heaven
3. Soul Glove
4. Nikita
5. Too Young
6. Wrap Her Up
7. Satellite
8. Tell Me What The Papers Say
9. Candy By The Pound
10. Shoot Down The Moon    

This was one of the slightly less patchy eighties albums from Elton John, but, being released in 1985, it is still blighted by the worst excesses of eighties electronic, synthesised keyboard instrumentation. It is very much of its time, unsurprising, as Elton very much liked to ride contemporary waves. There is supposed to be guitar (Davey Johnstone) on the album, but he is only audible occasionally. There are no Saturday Night's Alright riffs, that's for sure. Before this came Breaking Hearts. After it came Leather Jackets. This was, unfortunately a dour period which led to it being just "another Elton John album".
                                                         
The opener, This Town has a funky, disco-ish rhythm with a good rubber-band bass sound, but its horn breaks sound synthesised as do some of the drums. It is ok, but certainly nothing special. Cry To Heaven is lovely, actually, and it has a bit of discernible guitar. One instrument that survived unscathed during the eighties was the bass. There was a distinctive eighties bass sound, such as heard on The Christians' Ideal World that dominates this song beautifully and melodically.

  

Soul Glove is a hooky song, but again, very much of its time. That bass line returns, wonderfully, for the gorgeous Nikita that rode high above the eighties fog. It is still one of my favourite Elton songs. It is evocative, atmospheric and makes me so nostalgic for those October/November days of 1985. Certain songs just do that, this is one of them.
Too Young is pleasant enough, but sort of forgettable. Wrap Her Up is a dreadful eighties dance song, featuring additional vocals from George Michael. It is positively awful, particularly in its embarrassing namechecking of various female celebrities at the end. One of my least favourite Elton songs of all time. Satellite is Talking Heads-ish in places and has a reasonable groove to it. It is certainly better than the previous track.

Tell Me What The Papers Say is pretty awful too, buried in eighties keyboards and drum dance rhythms. Sorry, but it is just pretty damn ordinary. "Coal mines closed down, nobody's working underground today..." was not one of Bernie Taupin's best lines. Candy By The Pound is once again nothing special. It is almost not really like the Elton John we knew from the seventies. Most artists put out some bad albums in the mid-eighties, but because Elton has always put out albums very regularly, he seemed to release more than most that were thus afflicted. Shoot Down The Moon is a mournful, classical-sounding piano ballad and ens on a high note what really was quite a mediocre album, in retrospect.



** The non-album extra material that appeared with this album's later release included -

The Man Who Never Died, a Song For Guy type grandiose instrumental. Like that track, it has minimalist vocals right at the very end. Restless, an upbeat live cut of the track from Breaking Hearts and Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word and I’m Still Standing also appear in impressive, enjoyable live versions.

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LEATHER JACKETS (1986)

1. Leather Jackets
2. Hoop Of Fire
3. Don't Trust That Woman
4. Go It Alone
5. Gypsy Heart
6. Slow Rivers
7. Heartache All Over The World
8. Angeline
9. Memory Of Love
10. Paris
11. I Fall Apart          

By his own admission, Elton John has himself condemned this album as his worst ever. He has confessed to be completely coked-up during much of the recording and expressed a sympathy for producer Gus Dudgeon, who had to try and cope with him as he took "a bag of coke a day". Amazingly, it is co-written with Bernie Taupin. The muse seemed to have temporarily left both of them. It is not quite as bad as many would have you believe, but it suffers from the awful eighties malaise of layered swathes of synthesisers in the backing, which swamped Elton's piano almost completely. Lots of bands/artists fell victim to this at the time - The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Queen, David Bowie and even Bob Dylan, so Elton was not alone. The red cover also was a victim of ludicrous eighties posturing.
                                            
Leather Jackets is, funnily enough, quite a good one an upbeat rocker that would have sounded pretty good with electric guitar and piano instead of synthesiser riffs. I actually quite like the hooky, lively ballad Hoop Of Fire. It is one of the best tracks on the album. Don't Trust That Woman is, let's face it, pretty awful, both musically and lyrically - one of Bernie's worst ever. It is full of terrible eighties instrumentation and an affected disco-ish vocal from Elton. The lyrics are best not commented upon.

  

Go It Alone is vibrant and riffy enough, but the whole ambience and electronic keyboard backing is just pretty uninspiring and, again, the lyrics are totally unimaginative, which is unusual for possibly the finest lyricist this country has produced. Thankfully, on Gypsy Heart we actually get to hear Elton's piano. It is nice, slow, melodic ballad with a strong vocal. It is one of the stronger songs on the album. What is odd about Elton's albums in the eighties, though, is that they veer from good to patchy in a literally one good/one patchy series, starting with 1981's The Fox  (good), to Jump Up (patchy), Too Low For Zero (good), Breaking Hearts (patchy), Ice On Fire (good), this one (patchy), Reg Strikes Back (good).

Slow Rivers is a duet with Cliff Richard and it is acceptable, but, as with much of the material, just seems somehow unrealised. Elton has said that Heartache All Over The World is his worst song of all time. It is hard to disagree with him. It is like some of the supposed "disco" stuff that Queen put on their Hot Space album. Positively dreadful. Angeline is not much better, possibly even worse, with an awful "oh-oh-oh" vocal intro. Yes definitely, this worse than Heartache. Ironically, John Deacon and Roger Taylor of Queen play on the track. Memory Of Love is a completely ordinary ballad. It is not so much the music here, it is actually the lyrics. Quite where Bernie's mind was at the time is unclear.

The last two tracks see an improvement. Paris is an appealing, melodic number with quite a catchy hook, while the stark, solemn ballad I Fall Apart seems to sum up Elton's situation at the time. I can't really recommend this one, other than as a perversely interesting curiosity.

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REG STRIKES BACK (1988)

1. Town Of Plenty
2. A Word In Spanish
3. Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters
4. I Don't Want To Go On With You Like That
5. Japanese Hands
6. Goodbye Marlon Brando
7. The Camera Never Lies
8. Heavy Traffic
9. Poor Cow
10. Since God Invented Girls    

This album was hyped very much as Elton John's "comeback" album after some torrid years in his personal life - the break up of his odd marriage and a huge cocaine consumption. It was unfairly criticised by many in the media and bracketed with 1986's execrable Leather Jackets. That was an unfair comparison. This album is a million miles better. The difference between both is light and day.

  
                                                              
Town Of Plenty is a catchy, upbeat opener, with, unfortunately, a synthesiser riff, but it is a good one, and the lyrics show a vast improvement on Bernie's last incomprehensibly bad effort on the previous album. Elton's voice is one fine form now, after a successful operation. This track is a real breath of fresh air, after the last outing. A Word In Spanish is an evocative, melodic and appealing Latin-flavoured ballad. Re-recording a beautiful classic like Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters from Honky Chateau was usably not the best of ideas, but if you take this punchy, horn-driven bluesy thumper as a completely new track, it works fine. The trumpet solo is impressive. It just doesn't match the original, of course, so it is best viewed separately, if that is possible. I like the version of it, though, it has some soul, and power. Similarly, I Don't Want To Go On With You Like That is a singalong slice of insistent piano and drum boogie, with another great vocal. Many have put this track down, why I am not quite sure. I have always liked it.


Japanese Hands is a lovely, atmospheric song, that sees Bernie Taupin back on lyrical form. Heaven knows what happened to his muse in 1986. He was back now, no doubting that. This is a fine song. You feel both Elton and Bernie have their mojos back. Goodbye Marlon Brando has a welcome seventies-style guitar riff and rocks, healthily. It also has some cynically witty lyrics. The Camera Never Lies is another rocking corker of a track, Elton back to his best. There really was nothing like this on Leather Jackets. Some great boogie-woogie piano on it too. This is more like it.

Heavy Traffic harks back in places to Honky Chateau in its slightly funky sound. Poor Cow has a decidedly odd vocal from Elton, but it has another vibrant urban funky flavour to it. Since God Invented Girls is a haunting, moving ballad to end on. This was, contrary to much popular opinion, an impressive album. It has good sound quality too.

** The non-album extra track was Rope Around A Fool,  a nice chunky number, delivered with a healthy enthusiasm and considerable vitality that adds to the “Elton is back” feeling of the album.

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SLEEPING WITH THE PAST (1989)

1. Durban Deep
2. Healing Hands
3. Whispers
4. Club At The End Of The Street
5. Sleeping With The Past
6. Stone's Throw From Hurtin'
7. Sacrifice
8. I Never Knew Her Name
9. It Amazes Me
10. Blue Avenue
                   
The 1980s were a strange period for Elton John, each higher quality album seemed to be floored by a patchier one. There are some highlights - the Too Low For ZeroIce On Fire and Reg Strikes Back albums, but for long periods of the decade he was involved in length legal proceedings against the UK's "Sun' newspaper for defamation (which he won). So, by 1989, a weight seemed lifted from his often troubled shoulders and he returned with one of his most successful albums. He seemed to have straddled the generations well, and now had the respect of the younger generation. indeed, the forthcoming decade was the one that would see him elevated to the somewhat ludicrous, media-created and perpuated position of "national treasure". He seemed to enjoy that sort of thing, though, despite his battles with the media, and the old creativity came rushing back.

Back with Bernie Taupin once again  for this album, having re-united for the previous year's Reg Strikes Back there was some great, often upbeat material. There was a bit of unfortunate late eighties synthesised influence on the percussion at times, but you just have to accept that from this era. Everything was awash with synthesisers.

                  
The opener, Durban Deep  is a rocking song about South African miners, strangely. It is a good one, with Elton on fine vocal form. His voice sounding strong and confident. Healing Hands is even more lively and captivating, with an instantly singable chorus and a pounding beat. The tempo drops for the melodic, delicate Whispers. The synthesised percussion is a bit off-putting on this one, but it has a soulful hook that rescues it. The good-time, toe-tapping beat returns with the atmospheric and effervescent Club At The End Of The Street, with its addictive sixties soul feel and lyrical references to Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. This is my favourite song on the album. It never fails to lift the spirits.

Sleeping With The Past is a pumping, bluesy (as far as late eighties music could be bluesy) metronomic rocker.  Elton's vocal attack on it is enthusiastic and strident. He sounds as if he is enjoying himself. Stone's Throw From Hurtin' is another rumbling rocker with even more of a deep, swamp rock, bassy feel than the previous track. Both of these tracks are not the instantly recognisable ones from the album, but they are well worth checking out. It is a shame songs like these just get forgotten, even by Elton himself, who does not play them live.

The sombre but tuneful Sacrifice was actually his first number one (apart from Don't Go Breaking My Heart with Kiki Dee). It is tender and attractive, staying in the mind as soon as you hear it. Elton's voice is clearly ageing, even at this point, but has an attractive lisping slur to it, that it still has. This was never there in the seventies. His voice throughout the album has lowered in timbre from the one we were used to previously. It has been lower ever since. I Never Knew Her Name is a big, booming, horn-driven upbeat number. It Amazes Me is a gospelly, Southern states-style bluesy ballad in the typical eighties/nineties Elton style. Blue Avenue is a gentle number to end what is a pleasant and stimulating album. There is some delicious trumpet/French horn? on the backing to this one. This album probably just makes in to Elton's top ten albums, just. Or maybe not. There and thereabouts though.

 

** The non-album tracks were the upbeat, beaty synth pop of Dancing In The End Zone and the muscular, brassy rock of Love Is A Cannibal. There was also Give Peace A Chance, which appeared as the b side of Club At The End Of The Street in some countries. It is a cover of the John Lennon chant, packed full of idiotic voices. Completely unessential.

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