The Ridiculous Idea Behind Elton John’s Best Album

(via Music Aficionado) by Jim Farber

Here’s the unlikely story of how Elton John came to create ‘Tumbleweed’ and why—Jim Farber argues—it ended up being the best album of his career.

The best album of Elton John’s entire career is based on a ridiculous notion. On , he and co-writer Bernie Taupin, tried to capture the grit and violence of the American West: to nail, in words and music, the outlaw spirit of the U.S. in the 1800s. In other words, they tried to be The Band.

One problem: Neither Elton nor Bernie had ever set foot on U.S. soil when they created their masterwork. More, they had just come off recording an album, () whose twee harpsichords and austere cellos couldn’t have sounded more European.

Here’s the unlikely story of how Elton John came to create ‘Tumbleweed’ and why—against all odds—it ended up being the best album of his career…

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Video of the Week: Rowan Atkinson interviewing Elton John

Flashback: Elton John Sings ‘Your Song’ Across the Decades

(Source: Rolling Stone)

by Andy Greene

Elton John has more famous songs than just about any other man on the planet, but somehow  his very first hit, “Your Song,” has proved to be his most enduring composition.  The song exploded onto radio in 1970 and really hasn’t left. “I wrote it when I  was 17, hence the extraordinary virginal sentiments,” Bernie Taupin said. “It’s  a gem. It’s like a good dog, always there . . . I’ve heard it sung a million  times.”

He’s exaggerating only slightly. Elton has performed “Your Song” at nearly  every one of his concerts over the past 43 years. It’s often the final encore,  though he opens many of his solo acoustic shows with it. Setlist.FM says he’s  played it 1,861 times, but the real number is surely well over 2,000. Assuming  it’s only 2,000 times, that means he’s spent five and a half days of his life  singing “Your Song.”

Here’s an incredible video montage of Elton performing the song from 1970  through the late 1990s. It’s great fun to watch his hair begin to thin, get  covered up by hats, go gray, and then magically come back fuller and browner  than ever. The costumes become more and more elaborate, until they disappear  completely in the Nineties. His voice also deepens, particular after major  throat problems in 1986, but he never half-asses the  performance.

Rocket Man, as Interpreted by William Shatner and Parodied by Chris Elliott

Above: Hosting the 1978 Saturn Awards (Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror’s Academy Awards equivalent) Star Trek’s Captain Kirk performs Elton John’s “Rocket Man”, introduced by none other than the song’s co-writer Bernie Taupin (doing his best to look “truly proud”).

Below: Chris Elliott, in an appearance on Letterman, parodies not only the performance but Shatner’s perceived status in the 70’s as acting has-been. Elliott’s TV series Get a Life had recently been cancelled.

Elton John/Miss Piggy Duet 1977

Some things just seem kinda weird 35 years later–like Miss Piggy saying, “Eat your heart out, Kiki.”

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