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Elton John Appreciation Thread


shniggens

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Since I was born after the majority of Elton's 'classic' material was released, I was never burned out on the 'overexposure' that he must have had (ala most pop artists). He was in the prime of his 80's stuff when I was really getting into music, and in my honest opinion, past his prime.

 

Anyway, his music is still timeless to me. Being a piano player myself, he is probably one of the biggest influences to me and my motivation as a player. Here are some of the the things that I love best, and make him a musical genius in my eyes -

 

- Brilliant accompaniment on piano - to his own singing. I wish I could sing AND play like that.

 

http://images.google.com/images?q=tbn:ymuBV07SxrIJ:www.ratw.com/issues/2/ej.jpg

 

- Melodic sense. Up there with the Beatles in my opinion. I'm biased.

 

- Tumbleweed connection

 

http://image.allmusic.com/00/amg/cov200/drc400/c452/c452196yo0p.jpg

 

- Rockin Piano riffs

 

http://www.eltonscafe.com/SongPages/CanIPutYouOn/CanIPut_eg1.gif

 

- 70's band. Nigel, Davey, Dee. One of the best rhythm sections . . . EVER!

 

http://www.angelfire.com/ca/nigelfanclub/images/72band.jpg

 

- Prolific (SP?). His songs have been on the charts EVERY YEAR SINCE THE 70's!! While some of it may not be up to par with his early stuff, he continues to do what he loves to do. And he does it WELL.

 

- Songs From the West Coast - for redeeming himself for the 90's output.

 

http://musicmoz.org/img/editors/bostonatlast/Songs_From_The_West_Coast.jpg

Amateur Hack
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Whilst I agree that he's an awesome song writer, is he really a great piano player?

 

I've seen him solo in concert and although he was competent and didn't make any mistakes, at no point was I really impressed by his piano skills.

 

I'm much more impressed watching a classical or jazz pianist than Elton's pop or ballad piano playing.

hang out with me at woody piano shack
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I saw Elton and percussionist Ray Cooper in Paris 1979 doing an acoustic duo gig at a nice theater - it was KILLER. Ultimately what matters most is musicianship. To hear Elton play and sing (and write) the way he does is to witness serious musician chops.
Ed Mann
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Originally posted by konaboy:

I'm much more impressed watching a classical or jazz pianist than Elton's pop or ballad piano playing.

I think he's a great pop/rock piano player - probably one of my favorites. His style is one of the ones I mostly draw on.

 

I think it's comparing apples to oranges to compare him to jazz/classical guys. I've seen classical piano guys butcher fairly simple rock songs.... and a lot of them don't know how to accompany a singer. YMMV, and just MHO.

 

Back on topic, I really enjoy his style, and I take as a compliment when people see hints of his style in my playing. He's probably one of the biggest influences in my playing, and I from time to time I like to sit down and analyze his playing in a particular song. I do enjoy singing a lot of his stuff to.

 

The elton cafe web site is great. I keep meaning to send an email to the guy to compliment his effort - I took a look at his transcription of "your song" and while I found a few 'mistakes' (I don't like to call them mistakes since they fit the song, but it wasn't what was on the record), it's by a long shot the closest transcription I found to that song, and again I commend him for his efforts.

 

I find a lot of piano players who play and sing at the same time end up playing a little stiff (hehe I'm one of them) - he's definitely an exception - I enjoy his shows a lot. (I have 2 on DVD)

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This is the 'Ringo' argument. To wit: Ringo Starr has never been, nor will he ever be, Buddy Rich. But when you listen to how well the stuff he plays fits the music, can you make the argument that Ringo is anything other than a great drummer?

 

The same would apply IMO to Elton. He plays what works for the music; it's difficult to imagine, say, Michel Camilo playing Elton's music better than Elton. Camilo might do it differently and/or as good, and might find ways to work his prodigious chops into it, but one need only remember Chick Corea's Grammy performance with FooFighters to know that chops don't always carry the day.

 

Originally posted by konaboy:

Whilst I agree that he's an awesome song writer, is he really a great piano player?

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

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Originally posted by Rod S:

Originally posted by konaboy:

[qb] I enjoy his shows a lot. (I have 2 on DVD)

I was unaware that he had any on DVD. Which ones? Where can I get them.

 

All I have is the "Classic Albums - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". It's a very good DVD, but I want some concert footage!

 

About his piano skills . . . listen to 11-17-70 if you have any doubts. OR - watch the VH1's storytellers where Elton is playing solo.

Amateur Hack
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Whether or not he is a 'great' pianist is - in my opinion - not relevant. The deal with Elton John, Billy Joel, Ben Folds, etc. is the marriage of keyboard, songwriting, singing and pop/rock music. Hell you could even throw Harry Connick, Jr. into that mix although he is clearly skilled - as they all are.

 

Elton was great until about 1984...everything since sounds like what it is - fulfilling obligations in order to perpetuate a lifestyle and completely devoid of investment from the artist. BUT - I love his early stuff and think he's a pretty interesting guy.

Weasels ripped my flesh. Rzzzzzzz.
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I'm a huge EJ fan. I think he has a unique style that has had a significant influence on my playing style. Sure, he's not the most pyrotechnical player you ever wanna see, but the guy is obviously way in touch with his instrument (no pun intended).

 

I decided to cover an EJ song for the album I'm working on right now. I had a difficult time choosing one...didn't wanna go with one of the hits, and I finally went with "Grey Seal" (other finalists included "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters", "Teacher I Need You", "Ticking" and "Sixty Years On"). I'm having a great time with it...

 

dB

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...and tell me Dave Bryce ,

How does it feel

To be so wise

To see through eyes

That only see what´s real

Tell me!

 

Great choise, and, scary enough, what I´m listening to right now! :eek: Spooky...

 

I really dig all the other finalists, too; a personal choice might have been I Feel Like a Bullet , or maybe It Amazes Me ...

 

Or maybe Jamaican Jerk-Off , written by Reggae Dwight and Toots Taupin! :D

 

/J :cool: nas

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Originally posted by shniggens:

Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

"Ticking"

dB

That would be a fun one!!!

 

Not that Grey Seal isn't.

 

Our band covers Indian Sunset, and we've dinked around with Funeral For A Friend.

You lucky guys! The only one that´s come up for discussion in my cover band is Are You Ready For Love , which isn´t even a John/Taupin song... it´s still a nice one, though. I love Ticking , too.

 

/J :cool: nas

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Originally posted by shniggens:

Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

"Ticking"

dB

That would be a fun one!!!
Indeed. It's a fave of mine to play...

 

It got disqualified from my record because it's just too long. :(

 

dB

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I agree with ELP71, the chops issue is irrelevant since its a package deal: songwriter, performer and piano player. There will always be more technically proficient players and it really doesn't work comparing pianists across genres anyway. But if they ever staged a rock and roll piano shootout, Elton would definitely hold his own.

 

BTW, I don't post in forums much, but I wanted to express my appreciation for all the kind remarks you guys have made about my little website, Eltons Cafe. It's a labor of love.

 

Cheers.

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I love all of EJ's early stuff from Empty Sky through Blue Moves. His instrumental stuff is incredibly underrated -- "Out of the Blue" from Blue Moves is one of my favourite songs of his, and almost Zappa-ish IMO. Really intricate and fusion-esque. "Burn Down The Mission" and "Amoreena" are awesome keyboard-wise as well. Nigel and Dee locked in so well together. He doesn't have the best chops -- his hands are tiny and he can barely get an octave -- but his songwriting and HIS SOUND, especially in those early days, are untouchable. Too bad he's gone irrevocably downhill since 1976.

 

David

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Originally posted by GeeBee:

I agree with ELP71, the chops issue is irrelevant since its a package deal: songwriter, performer and piano player. There will always be more technically proficient players and it really doesn't work comparing pianists across genres anyway. But if they ever staged a rock and roll piano shootout, Elton would definitely hold his own.

 

BTW, I don't post in forums much, but I wanted to express my appreciation for all the kind remarks you guys have made about my little website, Eltons Cafe. It's a labor of love.

 

Cheers.

Hey GeeBee! Elton´s café is a little treasure chest; I spent some time yesterday listening to MP3:s, I didn´t know he´s done It Amazes Me live! Many thanks for the great effort; I know how much work transcribing stuff takes!

 

/J :cool: nas

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Originally posted by shniggens:

I was unaware that he had any on DVD. Which ones? Where can I get them.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005RIIP/qid=1077630796/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-4475692-6304112?v=glance&s=dvd

 

This is one of the ones I have - I think - for some reason the cover is different here in Brazil, I don't know why... I have mixed feeling on the guests he had. I thought the duet with Billy Joel was cool, but I couldn't stand Mary J. Blige singing "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues," one of my favorite songs - it totally ruined it for me.

 

I can't locate the other one - it may have been a release only down here.

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

finally went with "Grey Seal" (other finalists included "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters", "Teacher I Need You", "Ticking" and "Sixty Years On"). I'm having a great time with it...

dB

"Grey Seal" is an awesome song! My all-time favorite EJ tune is "Someone Saved My Life Tonight". My band is about to start working on "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding".

 

Simply great stuff!!

 

Kirk

Reality is like the sun - you can block it out for a time but it ain't goin' away...
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By the way, there's this whole myth about Elton's small hands and barely being able to reach an octave. Yet he plays octaves continuously in all his music, both hands, all the time. Hmmm

 

Elton perpetuates this myth and I think its just part of his self depracating humor. I assume he can't reach a 10th though.

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Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was the 2nd album I ever bought, after The Beatles Second album.

His old stuff is indeed timeless.

 

I do a cover of 'Come Down In Time', if anyone's interested, click le link at the bottom & scroll down.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

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"Greatest Hits Vol. 1" was one of my first records, one of those that I "inherited" (stole) from my Dad. He really had a lot of great songs. He kind of side-stepped the overexposure thing: about the time he was going out of style, he seemed to be going through some personal problems and was out of the picture for a while. Then, he was able to make a "comeback" and be embraced by everybody. While I don't think any of that stuff ('80s on) has the heart of his '70s work, it's consistent and made a great career.
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Originally posted by GeeBee:

By the way, there's this whole myth about Elton's small hands and barely being able to reach an octave. Yet he plays octaves continuously in all his music, both hands, all the time. Hmmm

 

Elton perpetuates this myth and I think its just part of his self depracating humor. I assume he can't reach a 10th though.

He explains it and shows it fully in the MTV Unplugged from many many years ago. He can get an octave, and that's the extent of it. Maybe a ninth on a good day. He does have rather small and stubby hands, from all the videos I've seen of him.

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