Elton John is probably best known for 2 things: “Candle In The Wind 1997” (the tribute version for Princess Di, the fastest and biggest-selling single of all time), and The Lion King soundtrack. (15 million copies sold as of 1999, with “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” winning an Academy Award and a Grammy) That’s not to downplay his nearly endless string of hits including “Your Song” (resurrected by the movie Moulin Rouge), “Tiny Dancer” (resurrected by the movie Almost Famous), “Bennie and the Jets,” “Rocket Man,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” “The Bitch is Back,” the music for the Broadway play Aida… he has dominated every decade since the 70’s with no signs of stopping.
But most people have never heard his best stuff.
His heyday was the ’70s, a decade full of songs that Axl Rose reportedly wanted to own as a work of art. Working with lyricist Bernie Taupin, Elton wrote album cuts more poignant and brilliant than the singles he is famous for. I rarely listen to his hits anymore, and have instead immersed myself in the rarities and unreleased stuff. I’ve also created an Anywhere.fm playlist of my favorite overlooked Elton John tracks. Some of the highlights:
– “All The Girls Love Alice” – A song detailing the exploits of a hopeless 16-year old girl in New York City, who has more luck with married women than single men.
– “I Feel Like a Bullet (In The Gun of Robert Ford)” – An amazing song that uses the weapon of Jesse James’ assassin as a metaphor for a messy breakup.
– “Tower of Babel” – A tale of debauchery and lechery that references Sodom, Gommorah, Cain, and Abel in a single breath.
– “My Father’s Gun” – One of my favorite songs of all time, by ANY artist. A song set in a Civil War-stricken America, and a beautiful ode to honor and family.