Saturday, April 10, 2010


Album of the Day: Elton John (4/10/70) 40th Anniversary!

Sir Elton John’s eponymous album was released on April 10, 1970. It was his U.S. debut LP but his second in the U.K., following the Brit-only Empty Sky from April 1969 (that was eventually released in the U.S. in 1975 once Sir Reg reached superstardom on the left side of the Atlantic).

Elton John (playlist here) sired the careers of Elton and his songwriting sidekick Bernie Taupin, with two big AM pop hits, the funky “Take Me To The Pilot” and the languid, now-standard “Your Song” since becoming signature John/Taupin songs. But Elton John is more. It’s a perfectly-timed, early 70s showcase LP for the burgeoning singer/songwriting genre. It’s got plenty of soon-to-be-perfected piano/orchestra ballads (a la “Border Song,” a well-crafted companion to “Pilot”), light rockers (“The Cage,” which Warren Zevon likely borrowed almost a decade later), and heavily-orchestrated, over-produced melodies with harpsichords, violins and punching pianos. Yet Sir Reg does it all well on Elton John, a great debut and prelude to Honky Chateau and all the other great E.J. albums. Elton John is the door-opening listen to a hugely influential pop-rock career.

The visual cacophony of Elton John’s later career is absent on Elton John. That would all come later, and none too soon. The duck suits, big glasses, flamboyant hairdos and genre-busting wardrobes aren’t on Elton John. It’s just the early work of true and earnest 70s singer/songwriter looking for his big break. And he got it. Elton John can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads on Amazon or iPod files on iTunes.

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