Let’s take a break from the pending Mixtape Apocalypse (which, by the way, is coming along quite nicely with our first draft done… but seriously, calling ALL CANADIANS & FLORICANADIANS, come find me at Facebook or over in Our Society, let’s commiserate and destroy The 405!)… With the Tour De Cure, I haven’t much time to get my vinyl on, so here it is, Saturday, I got a little extra sleep, I’m resting my legs, and I got me a sweet 1st edition double LP from 1973 I found in some local “antique” shop that I’ve been wanting to hear & share… Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John!!
This actually marks the very first time I (ashamedly) ever listened to an Elton John record all the way through. Like many if not most of you, your experience with Elton John comes through 1) generic radio play throughout your life or 2) some greatest hits CD you thought would be a good idea to pick up. For me, it was option one. I only know Elton John through whatever the radio or the overhead speaker at some store was playing, and the songs were fine enough, but nothing ever compelled me to buy an album.
Part of the reason was the whole “Elton John thing” confused me. No, not his sexuality, nothing confusing or interesting about that (he likes men… so does half the population of earth, congrats). No, part of it was the whole Bernie Taupin thing… I’d see a record at the shop and wander along the aisle wondering who the hell is he? The lyricist? Really? Elton can’t write his own lyrics? Is he illiterate or something? Is is actually the brains of the operation, writing everything and Elton John is just the willing puppet? Are they actu—- Ooo… new Violent Femmes! And then I’d forget all about it until the next time I was in the record store and some Elton John thing would catch my eye….
Then there was the flamboyancy. Again, this has nothing to do with his sexuality. No, for me, I’d hear the songs on the radio and they were fine, rather harmless piano-pop/rock affairs, but then I’d see the man and see some guy decked out, and we all know what I’m talking about, it’s Elton John, it’s what he’s famous for, right?
Oopah… need to flip the record, hold on, side 4’s up…
To me, the music & the look didn’t fit. It’d be like a quiet folk singer wearing a S&M leather ensemble
or the New York Dolls wearing sensible Dockers and a pale blue polo.
It, personally, made me question the legitimacy of whatever the fuck he was doing. Was Elton John more a musically talented freak show? Something that anyone can listen to but also something that is fun to discuss at the water cooler? For lardy’s sake, he became “known” for the different glasses he’d wear???
I think it was this question of integrity & authenticity which, especially during my rabble-rousing youth, was very important to me (still is, but in a more comical/life is absurb kinda way, see Of Montreal’s Outback Commercial).
Add into that the weird Princess Diana death and Elton John’s involvement and re-release of “Candle In The Wind”, and really put a fork in me, as they say, because I figured I was done.
But, I’ve changed alot in the past 10, 20, 30, hell, 36 years, so when Mama Tsuru and I walked into a local antique/people’s crap they are selling shop and I saw what I believe is a 1st edition Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in really good condition for $10, I figured it was time to finally give “sir” (don’t you just hate that “sir” crap? some of the silliest pomp & circumstance still in existence) Elton John a twirl.
I’ll tell ya….. it ain’t too shabby! It’s weird to hear some ridiculously famous songs in the context of their actual album when the songs themselves, for so many years, lived a life all their own. Here “Candle In The Wind” and “Bennie And The Jets” are just part of Side 1! Yeah, I kinda like this. It’s fun, it’s varied, it’s just lots of good times. I think my only complaint is the length. I think it may run a little long with just a few too many my-ego-tells-me-all-my-songs-are-amazing songs. Which ones? I don’t know, we probably all would have a different opinion on that, but I found myself part way through side four wondering when it was going to end, you know?
So there you go. My first Elton John record and it’s good times. By the way, want a fun read? Check out this 1973 Rolling Stone review of the album. The guy really didn’t care for the album and finishes with, and keep in mind, this was written 36 years ago, “What are we going to do with Elton John?” Kinda funny. I’m no critic, I just talk about what I do and what I like, but it should make you think about places like Pitchfork who are making money giving snarky reviews of albums they probably wish they could create or at least push a button in the control room on… Who is Stephen Davis? No clue. Mark Hogan? Joshua Klein? No fucking idea… Who is Elton John? This guy…
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John on Vinyl!!!
1. “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”
2. “Candle in the Wind”
3. “Bennie and the Jets”
1. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
2. “This Song Has No Title”
3. “Grey Seal”
4. “Jamaica Jerk-Off”
5. “I’ve Seen That Movie Too”
1. “Sweet Painted Lady”
2. “The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34)”
3. “Dirty Little Girl”
4. “All the Girls Love Alice”
1. “Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock ‘n Roll)”
2. “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”
3. “Roy Rogers”
4. “Social Disease”