As Elton John continues the final North American leg of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, another four gems from his discography have returned to vinyl following the recent reissues of The One and Peachtree Road.
A Single Man arrived in 1978 and marked a turning point for the singer-songwriter following 1976's expansive double album Blue Moves. Despite the presence of the hit single "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," Blue Moves had ended John's streak of chart-topping albums that began four years earlier with Honky Chateau. Change was in the air, and A Single Man found Elton parting ways with two key collaborators, lyricist Bernie Taupin and producer Gus Dudgeon. Though percussionist Ray Cooper and guitarist Davey Johnstone appeared on the album, the latter only played on one cut. Gary Osborne stepped into Taupin's large shoes to pen the lyrics to John's melodies, though the LP's biggest hit ended up being an instrumental. "Song for Guy" was a top five hit in the U.K., though its success in the U.S. was far more modest: bubbling under the Hot 100 and reaching the top 40 of the AC chart. "Part-Time Love," featuring Osborne's lyrics, fared well, too (No. 15 U.K./No. 21 U.S.). Produced by Elton and Clive Franks, A Single Man charted highly around the world and was certified Platinum in the United States. The new edition has been remastered.
John's next full-length studio album was the disco misfire Victim of Love but he bounced back in the new decade with 21 at 33 in which he welcomed Taupin back into the fold alongside Osborne, Tom Robinson, and Judie Tzuke. The Fox (1981) remains a relative hidden gem in John's catalogue, while Jump Up! introduced a couple of all-time classics in "Blue Eyes" and "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)." Anchored by "I'm Still Standing" and "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues," 1983's Too Low for Zero was considered the artist's "comeback" and a major triumph for the John/Taupin team. 1984's Breaking Hearts, returning to vinyl in September, would follow its formula. The unit of Elton, Davey Johnston, Dee Murray, and Nigel Olsson was firmly in place for the LP which boasted four hit singles: "Sad Songs (Say So Much)" (No. 5 U.S./No. 7 U.K.), "Who Wears These Shoes" (No. 16 U.S.), "In Neon" (No. 38 U.S.), and "Passengers" (No. 5 U.K.). Produced by Chris Thomas, it's notable as Murray's final appearance on bass on an Elton studio album, and Olsson's last appearance on drums until 2001's Songs from the West Coast. Penned almost entirely by John and Taupin, Breaking Hearts reached No. 2 in the U.K. and No. 20 in the U.S., achieving Gold and Platinum certifications in those countries, respectively. The upcoming vinyl edition has been remastered.
The vinyl campaign then jumps ahead to the new millennium and 2006's The Captain and the Kid. For his 28th studio album, John and Taupin crafted a sequel to 1975's Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, beautifully returning to the earlier LP's semi-autobiographical milieu. Taupin was even pictured on the front cover of the ruminative, often moving song suite recorded in John's adopted hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Due to the Interscope label's decision to not release any singles from the album - opting instead for it to be viewed as a singular work - it became only Elton's third LP to fail to chart a single in his native United Kingdom. "The Bridge" was released as a radio single, though, and did garner AC airplay. Produced by Elton and Matt Still, The Captain and the Kid is bittersweet, too, for featuring the final appearances on an Elton studio album by keyboardist Guy Babylon (who died in 2009) and Bob Birch (who passed away in 2012).
The four-title vinyl collection is rounded out by the return to the format of the 1995 compilation Love Songs. Coming on the heels of John's Academy Award-winning score to The Lion King and hit album Made in England, Love Songs offered the softer side of the superstar. The collection spanned nearly his entire career, from "Your Song" (1970) through "Blessed" and "Please" from Made in England (1995) and included both "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King. Note that Love Songs featured a near-completely different lineup than the 1982 collection of the same name, and offered different track listings in the U.S. and U.K.; this new, remastered reissue replicates the original 17-song U.K. track listing on two LPs. (The American version had two fewer songs, included the live rather than studio version of "Candle in the Wind," and premiered two previously unreleased cuts, "No Valentines" and "You Can Make History (Young Again).") Love Songs made it to No. 4 in the U.K. and spent 48 weeks on the chart; a 3x Platinum smash in the U.S., it earned that certification in 11 countries and multi-platinum in seven. As original vinyl copies of the release typically sell in the three-figure range, this reissue is particularly welcome.
All four Elton John vinyl releases are in stores today and can be pre-ordered at the links below.
- Shine On Through
- Return to Paradise
- I Don't Care
- Big Dipper
- It Ain't Gonna Be Easy
- Part-Time Love
- Shooting Star
- Song for Guy
- Slow Down Georgie (She's Poison)
- Who Wears These Shoes?
- Breaking Hearts (Ain't What It Used to Be)
- Li'l 'Frigerator
- In Neon
- Burning Buildings
- Did He Shoot Her?
- Sad Songs (Say So Much)
- Postcards from Richard Nixon
- Just Like Noah's Ark
- Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way (NYC)
- And the House Fell Down
- Blues Never Fade Away
- The Bridge
- I Must Have Lost It on the Wind
- Old 67
- The Captain and the Kid
- Candle in the Wind
- I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
- Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (with George Michael)
- Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
- Blue Eyes
- Your Song
- The One
- Someone Saved My Life Tonight
- True Love (with Kiki Dee)
- Can You Feel the Love Tonight
- Circle of Life
- Song for Guy