Overall, I can take or leave Elton John. And I don't mean jut the current nasty-ass Elton, who is also the same one that is seemingly for gay rights, but would sell his soul for $1M to play Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding.
No, I'm talking the 45 year career of Elton John. Admittedly, he's had some good stuff out there, but the amount of throwaway stuff is at a much much higher percentage.
And while there is no accounting for taste (mine included), if I never hear "Crocodile Rock", "Sad Songs (Say So Much)" (and does anyone not sing "Sasson"?), or "I'm Still Standing", again, it would be too soon.
Sometimes John's music would be off the mark for the lyrics, but often Bernie Taupin's lyrics were off ("sugar bear"???). Now and again, they fired on all cylinders: "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word", "Levon", "Tiny Dancer" and even "Sacrifice" - though Sinéad O'Connor's version packs much more of a wallop. - are good examples.
Maybe it's odd - perhaps not - that I think they both peaked so early into their careers. Madman Across the Water was just his fourth album in three years (1971) and the title track ranks as his best performance - in my book. Hey, maybe you like "Philadelphia Freedom"....I can pass on it.
But lyrically and musically, "Madman" goes together and the pacing and mood just fit. From the opening to the end, it just works for me.
There is no actual video - though some lesser live performances exist out there. None of them come close to capturing the studio version.
Great blog. I don’t think he did much worth mentioning after 1976. But before that he had so many well written and composed songs that I think you might be overlooking.
“Sugar Bear” was Long John Baldry. In 1969 Elton was set to marry Linda Woodrow who he was dating at the time. For some reason the idea of getting married made Elton feel very sad – even suicidal. One night Elton broke down and saught comfort from his friend Long John Baldry. After a heart to heart Long John talked Elton out of the marriage and convinced him if nothing else to at least “come out to yourself”. Elton followed his advice. After telling Bernie the story they wrote “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”. Sugar Bear was a personal nickname for Long John and he was the “someone”.
(Just saw this again yesterday and it make me love Elton all the more)
I don't know Sir John's work very well/much.
Some day I mean to explore it.
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