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#2956396 - 11/04/18 08:15 PM OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home
Synthaholic Offline
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Superbly written piece from Bill Wyman, who’s about the only one still good at this kind of rock writing. He gets a few facts wrong, but it again reminds us of how absolutely huge Elton was in the first half of the 1970s:

He had seven No. 1 albums in a row in the U.S. These albums, in a three-and-a-half-year period, spent a total of 39 weeks at No. 1, a bit less than a quarter of that overall span. By Billboard’s rankings, he is by far the biggest album act of the 1970s (despite the fact that he didn’t have a top-ten album after 1976). He is also Billboard’s biggest singles act of the decade, and the magazine’s third-biggest singles artist of all time, with nine No. 1 singles and 27 top-ten hits, which is a lot. In all, he’s sold more than 150 million albums and 100 million singles.

Not the Man They Think He Is at Home

My brother sent me the link to this article, and I wrote this back to him:

Wonderfully written, even if he gets some facts wrong (see the comments, also good - I agree with the person writing about ‘Blue Moves’. There are some gems and some dreck, with a lot of guest stars, like Crosby, Stills, & Nash). I’ve always found Elton to be perhaps the most honest superstar there’s ever been. He’s never glossed over his personal failures and has always taken responsibility for his behavior, although sometimes late, and frequently bitchy. His songwriting is unmatched, save for perhaps McCartney. Albums, glossed over in this article, like ‘Honky Chateau’ and ‘Don’t Shoot Me (I’m Only The Piano Player)’ - every song is great. No dogs, no throwaways. I still vividly remember sitting next to dad in his first Cadillac, hearing Elton for the first time - his 8-Track Of ‘Honky Chateau’, and it instantly changed me. I recently pulled out my CD of ‘Yellow Brick Road’ and have been listening to it in the car. It hasn’t lost a thing and doesn’t sound the least bit dated. ‘Roy Rogers’ is a masterpiece of simple melody, one of many using some of his basic songwriting devices that I’ve identified over the years. My one regret about his touring is that he’s never done a ‘No Hits’ tour. I believe it would be just as successful, filled with songs his fans know and love. He can’t be happy playing ‘Crocodile Rock’ so often. But a tour full of ‘Amoreena’, ‘Writing’, ‘Sweet Painted Lady’, would be so good.

Ever since the first time I heard Michael Jackson (self) proclaimed ‘The King of Pop’ I’ve called it a lie. He’s never come close to Elton (although Billy Joel, with his 33 hits, could make a strong argument).
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#2956398 - 11/04/18 08:47 PM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Synthaholic]
davedoerfler Offline
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excellent post. thu
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#2956482 - 11/05/18 09:02 AM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: davedoerfler]
samuelblupowitz Offline
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A really lovely retrospective on one of my favorite artists. Thanks for sharing!
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#2956498 - 11/05/18 11:41 AM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: samuelblupowitz]
Rustar Offline
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Registered: 03/22/07
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Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
You'll like this. The daughter of a lady client of mine was/is the personal assistant to Elton, and the lady told me this story. One day Elton told her daughter to go find an expensive necklace that he wanted to give to a friend. She proceeded to procure an expensive and suitable item, which she brought to Elton for him to see. She asked her if she would try it own so he could see how it looked while being worn. So she puts it on, and Elton tells her that the necklace is for her. A true story. He is famously generous.


Edited by Rustar (11/05/18 11:43 AM)
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#2956514 - 11/05/18 12:55 PM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Rustar]
stillearning Offline
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One of the first rock songs I learned to play, after many years of classical training, was Take Me To the Pilot. Still enjoy playing it to this day.
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#2956517 - 11/05/18 01:01 PM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: stillearning]
stillearning Offline
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Thanks for this thread! I’m listening to some old Elton now, and had forgotten just how listenable some of his songs were. Like Madman Across the Water, for instance. All of ‘em fun to play, too.
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#2956522 - 11/05/18 01:22 PM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: stillearning]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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EJ's playing was a huge influence on my as a kid. I still play a ton of his music, and have tracked several of his tunes.

Psyched to see this last tour in LA in Feb.

dB
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#2956542 - 11/05/18 03:03 PM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Dave Bryce]
Synthaholic Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
EJ's playing was a huge influence on my as a kid. I still play a ton of his music, and have tracked several of his tunes.

Psyched to see this last tour in LA in Feb.

dB


Which songs do you do live, Dave? I do:

Daniel
Candle in the Wind
Honky Cat
Nikita
I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
Your Song

I’ve been meaning to start playing ‘Song For Guy’ for quiet, background music gigs but haven’t gotten around to working up the sequence yet, even though it’s simple.
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The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

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#2956550 - 11/05/18 03:26 PM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Synthaholic]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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Originally Posted By: Synthaholic
Which songs do you do live, Dave?

A biunch...but my faves are probably:

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road & This Song Has No Title (gotta do 'em back to back)
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Rocket Man
Border Song (the way EC did it on the Two Rooms tribute)
Teacher I Need You
Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters

dB
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#2956626 - 11/06/18 05:34 AM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: stillearning]
Michael W Offline
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Originally Posted By: stillearning
One of the first rock songs I learned to play, after many years of classical training, was Take Me To the Pilot. Still enjoy playing it to this day.


When I was young I used to play that album on my parents' big ol' console stereo and jam along with it on the piano. That's how I learned to play rock-and-roll piano.... jamming along with Elton records.
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#2956629 - 11/06/18 05:38 AM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Dave Bryce]
Synthoid Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
Teacher I Need You


Wow, there's one I haven't heard in ages...

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#2956636 - 11/06/18 06:15 AM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Dave Bryce]
Marzzz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
Originally Posted By: Synthaholic
Which songs do you do live, Dave?

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road & This Song Has No Title (gotta do 'em back to back)


Throw "Honky Cat" in front of those two, and you have quite the medley!

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#2956688 - 11/06/18 10:45 AM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Synthoid]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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Originally Posted By: Synthoid
Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
Teacher I Need You

Wow, there's one I haven't heard in ages...

Been a fave of mine for decades. I even recorded a cover of it a few years ago.

Even more fun: my buddy Matt Bissonette plays bass in Elton's band, and I got him to play bass on the track!

Teacher I Need You

dB
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#2956698 - 11/06/18 11:57 AM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Dave Bryce]
MotiDave Online   content
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my daughter and i adopted Tiny Dancer as my song for her. she's a avid dancer (6 days a week, 8 dance teams, don't get me started on her dance studio bills!). she's not as tiny as she was but still only 10. forever my tiny dancer.

Great article, thanks for sharing. Elton was the only pop star I adored as a teen, i was a hard rocker. Elton was special, magical. a hero. I think I had 5 of his albums. I loved every track of every one of them. so many non-hits that were so amazingly composed ... can't even start, why bother.
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#2956705 - 11/06/18 12:40 PM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: MotiDave]
Lee T Offline
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Registered: 09/21/15
Posts: 136
Loc: North West UK
Thanks to this thread I've just listened to Yellow Brick Road and Don't Shoot Me all the way through for the first time since around 1974! Forgot how many great songs are on those albums and what they meant to a teenage boy at that time.

The one thing that struck me was the quality of the musicianship, in particular the harmonies. Just superb.



Edited by Lee T (11/06/18 12:41 PM)
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#2956763 - 11/06/18 08:35 PM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Lee T]
Synthaholic Offline
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Registered: 04/18/05
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Dee Murray doesn’t get the recognition and respect he should for his great bass playing.
_________________________
The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

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#2956865 - 11/07/18 06:07 PM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Dave Bryce]
Synthaholic Offline
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Registered: 04/18/05
Posts: 1736
Loc: Proud Resister of 2nd helpings
Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
Originally Posted By: Synthaholic
Which songs do you do live, Dave?

A biunch...but my faves are probably:

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road & This Song Has No Title (gotta do 'em back to back)
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Rocket Man
Border Song (the way EC did it on the Two Rooms tribute)
Teacher I Need You
Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters

dB


Yours are better.
_________________________
The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

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#2956886 - 11/07/18 11:20 PM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Synthaholic]
Werno Offline
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Registered: 05/05/13
Posts: 64
Nice article. I have one little Elton bio factoid that I can add on his early years- as 'Reg Dwight' he played keys in a band called 'Simon Dupree and the Big Sound' but left when the three Schulman brothers who led the band changed direction and became Gentle Giant. "We remain friends to this day." That's according to the booklet that comes with the recent '3 Piece Suite' compilation Steven Wilson did, which is a CD/Blu-ray set with surround+stereo remixes of all the surviving multitracks from the first 3 Gentle Giant albums. It was news to me. And BTW 3-piece Suite is a great collection.

Elton John's 1st US tour was one of my first concerts back in high school and I was a huge fan in his early years, especially the live trio album 11-17-70. Lately I picked up a few of his early albums in CD/SACD/5.1 remix versions which I highly recommend to anyone equipped to play them (CD layer plays on CD players, multichannel playback works on SACD players and some Blu-ray players through HDMI->home theater surround system). They sound amazing, and are finally starting to sell out on Amazon so grab some now if you want them. Tumbleweed, Madman, and Capt. Fantastic are still in stock@$18, some others are listed at $50 and more on the used market. GYBR is $27 on Blu-ray in 5.1, for those who can't play SACDs.

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#2956943 - 11/08/18 08:31 AM Re: OT: Not the Man They Think He Is at Home [Re: Werno]
samuelblupowitz Offline
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Registered: 08/09/17
Posts: 86
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Originally Posted By: Synthaholic
Dee Murray doesn’t get the recognition and respect he should for his great bass playing.
Completely agree. He was a flagship player in that brief period when English bassists seemed to strive to combine Jamerson's rhythmic dexterity with McCartney's guitaristic, melodic lines.

Originally Posted By: Werno
Elton John's 1st US tour was one of my first concerts back in high school and I was a huge fan in his early years, especially the live trio album 11-17-70.
So jealous. As I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum, 11-17-70 is one of the recordings that has influenced me the most as a musician. Elton made a big deal out of going back to just piano, bass, and drums for The Diving Board album a few years ago, but the end result didn't have anything resembling the ferocity of playing as that early trio.

I have a former bandmate whose dad had seen Elton on that first US tour, in Syracuse. His trio was opening for Derek and the Dominoes, and it was the one stop on their (only) tour where Duane Allman actually joined them for the show.

Apparently Skydog was plastered, and Clapton blew him off the stage. One can only imagine the quantities of narcotics present...


Edited by samuelblupowitz (11/08/18 08:33 AM)
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