I2 28157 Empty Sky
Produced by Steve Brown
Released on June 1969
US CHART POSITION #6 (1975)
Find it at GEMM
I2 28157 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

L ike the late-night prayers of little children, these early works slip smokewise out of music factory windows and into the cold, noisy world at play. In the din of 5 to 12, nobody hears them; they die, or dissipate, and the blush of idealism drains from another rose. Should the rose grow stronger later, these old tones become the glee of graverobbers who sell them off as saint’s relics. And so it was that I encountered the early wonders of Saint Elton, a riddle wrapped in a Sphinx wrapping a reissue from 1975. Like the early albums of David Bowie (Man of Words...) and Joan Armatrading (Whatever’s For Us), Empty Sky belongs to that strange phase in the journey when an artist stands at the bottom of the mountain and imagines what the top must look like. With time, the summit becomes clearer in the artist’s mind, and the early imaginings are revealed for what they are. On songs like “Skyline Pigeon,” “Val-Hala” and “Western Ford Gateway,” Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin offer a glimpse of the great places they would go on later albums. But there’s nothing on Empty Sky that would instantly place them on the next plateau, no “Space Oddity” to catapult them into orbit. This is post-Traffic precocity: flutes, harpsichords, freaks in formaldehyde. If you’re going to stare at Empty Sky at all, pick up the expanded remasters, which include the early singles “Lady Samantha” and “It’s Me That You Need.” Here, more than anywhere on Empty Sky, is the electric Elton anticipated. You can opt out of this album altogether with no sensible emptiness to suffer, but no such amnesty on his next.

I2 28157 lyric sleeve
I2 28157 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. EMPTY SKY    8:28
  2. VAL-HALA    4:12
  3. WESTERN FORD GATEWAY    3:16
  4. HYMN 2000    4:29
  5. LADY WHAT'S TOMORROW    3:10
  6. SAILS    3:45
  7. THE SCAFFOLD    3:18
  8. SKYLINE PIGEON    3:37
  9. GULLIVER/IT'S HAY CHEWED/REPRISE    6:59

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  10. LADY SAMANTHA    3:02
  11. ALL ACROSS THE HAVENS    2:53
  12. IT'S ME THAT YOU NEED    4:04
  13. JUST LIKE STRANGE RAIN    3:43

    All titles written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin

CREDITS

ELTON JOHN -- vocals, piano, organ, electric piano, harpsichord
TONY MURRAY -- bass guitar
ROGER POPE -- drums, percussion
CALEB QUAYE -- electric and acoustic guitars, conga drums
Don Fay -- tenor saxophone, flute
Nigel Olsson -- drums (5)
Graham Vickery -- harmonica
Frank Owen -- engineer
Clive Franks -- tape operator and whistling
Dave Larkham -- sleeve design and illustration
Jim Goff -- sleeve production and lunch

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK June 1969 DJM LP DJLPS-403 gatefold cover
AUSL 1972 Festival LP L-34074 gatefold sphinx cover
US 1975 MCA LP/CS MCA/MCAC-2130 gatefold sphinx cover
JPN 1975 DJM LP IFS-80174 gatefold sphinx cover
JPN 1981 DJM LP K22P-201 sphinx cover
US May 1995 Rocket CDX I2-28157 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN 1995 Mercury CDX PHCR-4011 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
JPN 2000 DJM CDZ 33PD-359 repackaged w. LADY SAMANTHA
UK/JPN   Universal CDX UICY-9100 digital remaster w. bonus tracks
BRA 2002 Universal CDX 528157 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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