MCA-2012 Elton John
Produced by Gus Dudgeon
Released on April 10, 1970
UK CHART POSITION #11 . . . US CHART POSITION #4 . . . GOLD RECORD
Find it at GEMM
MCA-2012 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

M othballed moribunds, social unrest, politicos losing power, first love fading and first child blooming. All of which might have been a stone bore but that a good half of it features that inimitable Elton oomph. When the man sings “Holy Moses, I have been deceived,” it’s not just a song, it’s a sermon. And who among us hasn’t sung along to the chorus of “Your Song” at least once? Honestly, you would have to squint pretty hard to see the star quality in a “Lady Samantha.” Here it’s staring you in the face. I wouldn’t give the eponymous Elton a free pass because “First Episode at Heinton” and “The Greatest Discovery” suck as much as anything on Empty Sky, just as “Take Me To The Pilot” rocks like nothing before it. Not for nothing does this remind me of David Bowie’s Man of Words, Man of Music. Gus Dudgeon and Paul Buckmaster, the producer/arranger tandem behind the eponymous Elton John, also teamed up to help Mr. Jones launch his career with “Space Oddity.” Both albums were precious, precocious and prescient. Yet Elton’s album has more to recommend it, from the Stonesy “No Shoestrings On Louise” to the snarling “The Cage.” The singer/songwriter aspirations are still present, but they would fade in favor of Elton’s uninhibited black/white persona. Like Mick Jagger, the man behind the piano is a charmer, channeling blues and country and gospel like he’d been spoon-fed the stuff from birth. The man behind the harpsichord, well, he’s still a stuffy schoolboy in thick glasses overly impressed with his new friend’s poetry. Those two personas duke it out on this album and you can guess who wins and who loses.

TRACK LISTING

  1. YOUR SONG    4:00
  2. I NEED YOU TO TURN TO    2:30
  3. TAKE ME TO THE PILOT    3:48
  4. NO SHOE STRINGS ON LOUISE    3:30
  5. FIRST EPISODE AT HEINTON    4:52
  6. SIXTY YEARS ON    4:38
  7. BORDER SONG    3:19
  8. THE GREATEST DISCOVERY    4:11
  9. THE CAGE    3:28
  10. THE KING MUST DIE    5:09

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  11. BAD SIDE OF THE MOON
  12. GREY SEAL
  13. ROCK 'N' ROLL MADONNA

    All selections written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin

CREDITS

ELTON JOHN -- vocals, piano, harpsichord
CLIVE HICKS -- guitars
BARRY MORGAN -- drums
CALEB QUAYE -- lead guitar
BERNIE TAUPIN -- lyrics
Madeline Bell -- backing vocals
Paul Buckmaster -- solo cello, arranger
Tony Burrows -- backing vocals
Frank Clark -- acoustic guitar, acoustic bass
Roger Cook -- backing vocals
Terry Cox -- drums
Brian Dee -- organ
Leslie Duncan -- backing vocals
Kay Garner -- backing vocals
Colin Green -- guitar, Spanish guitar
Roland Harker -- guitar (2)
Tony Hazzard -- backing vocals
Les Hurdie -- bass guitar (10)
Skaila Kanga -- harp
Diana Lewis -- Moog synthesizer
Dennis Lopez -- percussion
Barbara Moore -- choir leader (7)
Tex Navarra -- percussion (9)
Alan Parker -- rhythm guitar (3)
Dave Richmond -- bass guitar
Alan Weighll -- bass guitar
Robin Geoffrey Cable -- engineer
Steve Brown -- co-ordinator
Stowell Stanford -- photography
David Larkham -- art direction
Jim Goff -- sleeve production

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK April 10, 1970 DJM LP DJLPS-406 gatefold cover
US/CAN July 22, 1970 Uni LP 73090 gatefold cover
AUSL 1970 DJM LP SDJL-934065  
SPA 1970 DJM LP 1J-062-92110  
US 1971 Uni LP 93090 gatefold cover
US 1973 MCA LP MCA-2012 gatefold cover
JPN   DJM LP 25AP-1552 gatefold cover
US 1979 MCA LP 37067  
US 1992 Polydor CD 827689  
US 1996 Island/Rocket CDX 528 156 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
UK 2004 Mercury CDX 9824121 SACD w. bonus tracks
JPN   Mercury CDX PHCR-4012 20-bit remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN 2006 Universal CDX UICY-9101 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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