Okay, here is another artist that I cannot believe has not yet been discussed… What makes it worse… I have NEVER seen this artist live. I know, I know… Actually I don’t know… How the heck can it be that I have never seen Elton John live?
Folks, I simply do not have an answer and I am sincerely ashamed. I almost remedied the situation when he was on the road with Leon Russell, but that never happened either… so I better get my sweet ass to Vegas… or Australia if anyone wants to take me… Hint, hint!
In 40 years, Elton has put out some amazing songs and albums… picking one was really, really hard. This is one of those days where I am letting outside forces help dictate what I listen to…
My favorite song is “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” but Honky Château, was not quite grabbing me today. “Tiny Dancer” is my second favorite song and even more beloved now for that classic scene from one of my all-time favorite films, Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous. That would let me talk about 1971’s Madman Across the Water, which is Davey Johnstone’s first album. Davey lives near us and is most generous with the community and the schools around here and just a great, sweet guy… and yes, one hell of a rocker. He continues to play guitar for Elton today!
I love that record, but I was leaning towards Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973’s double album and one of Elton’s most popular. Why? Was I being influenced by the fact that is was rated higher on Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest albums? I think I was… Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a Rock n’ Roll classic and an album I adore… but, hmmm… Could I be any more indecisive today?
Okay, that’s it… in honor of Davey, we are going with…
Elton John – Madman Across the Water
Reginald Kenneth Dwight has put out over 30 albums. He is a knight, an activist and one of the most prolific and gifted composers, pianists and songwriters of all time. And oh yeah, he is Elton John.
This is his fourth studio album and features lyrics by the utterly amazing Bernie Taupin, Elton’s main musical partner and collaborator. If ever there was a Rock n’ Roll poet, Bernie is it.
“Tiny Dancer” is one of the most gorgeous songs ever and was written for Bernie’s wife. Now THAT is a gift!
“Levon”, another favorite track was inspired by The Band’s Levon Helm!
Title track “Madman Across the Water” was the third hit from this one and another fave… I also really love “Holiday Inn” and “Rotten Peaches”, and quite enjoy the beautiful melody of that one, playing against some interesting and a bit darker lyrics… That is Elton… a man of contradictions and beauty… rock and pop.
Oh, to have seen him at The Troubadour in Los Angeles in August 1970. That would have been something!!! To see him live at all at this point will be something! In the meantime, I will just have to kick back, close my eyes and listen.