Elton John

ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John FROM New Musical Express, November 13, 1971

Some interesting reflections of the state of music in Japan in the early 70s by Elton John. There is a lot to like about Japan and their excellent taste of western music is just one of those things that I like about them.
Read on!

`Everyone decided I was just a hype´

Elton John talks to Rob Randall on the perils of over-exposure

THE last time I talked with Elton John was a year ago, at his “pre-break” stage. So when I spoke to him on his return from his barnstorming tour of America, Japan and Australia, I asked how the events of the past 12 months had affected him as a person.
“Basically I don’t think I’m different,” Elton said thoughtfully. “I’ve been really working myself off my feet, but my attitudes haven’t changed. I’m just a bit more worldly-wise than I was then. On the other hand, I’m changing musically all the time.
“My new album is, I think, a completely different thing from ‘Tumbleweed.”
In what way, then, was the “Madman Across The Water” album (DJM DJLPH 420) different from his earlier collection?
“Well, you see, you’re not consciously aware of changing, but you do,” he explained. “And the songs you write change all the time, even though you’re not always aware of the fact when you write them. I don’t think I’ve written a set of songs as good as the one that are on “Madman.” I think that they’re better lyrically, melodywise — they’re altogether better, more mature songs than we’ve written before.
“I was pleased with all the other albums, but this is the first one I’m really knocked out by.”
And the satisfactory end-result has been achieved despite the fact that the conditions under which the album was produced were hardly ideal.
“It was done in quite a hurry,” Elton told me. “‘Levon` was recorded in February, so was ‘Goodbye,’ while the rest was put down in about five days in August before we left for the last tour. It’s been a question of slotting in the sessions between touring.
“Not that I’m suggesting that the actual recording process was rushed — we had enough time — but it did have to be concentrated into as quick a time as possible.

STANDARDS

“Although it was mixed while I was away, I knew it would turn out well because the songs were good and I knew that with Paul’s (Buckmaster) arrangements it couldn’t really go that wrong. Still, you’re always apprehensive until you hear the final thing on record — at least, I always am.”
And, as the standards that people expect become more and more exacting following each new triumph, doesn’t one tend to become progressively more apprehensive about the next project?
“Well, you see, the thing is that, towards the middle of this year, I had about three albums released in around a week, or something stupid like that,” he reminded me (In fact, his “live” package — “17.11.70” (DJLPS 414) — and the soundtrack album from “Friends” (PAS 6004) were released at the beginning of April at the same time as a single version of the film’s title song; “Tumbleweed Connection” (DJLPS 410) had been available since November of last year, but had only started selling heavily following the chart success of Elton’s “Your Song” single).
“The situation couldn’t really be foreseen. The film soundtrack was hyped by the record company involved and I was really annoyed about that — they released it months before the film just to cash in on my name. And so, although I hadn’t done any interviews, I think I had my fair share of knocks from the Press this year.”
So Elton decided to remain at arm’s-length for a while.
“This is the first interview I’ve done with a British paper since about April,” he revealed. “I just thought — “Well, I’ll cool it. I won’t do anything. I’ll just stay away until I can come back and do an album that will give everyone a chance to see that I’m not just a hype after all.”
“They’d all decided I was a hype by the middle of the year. They’d forgotten about the ‘Elton John’ album and ‘Tumbleweed.’ I think that when you get too big it almost invariably turns sour. At first, when it happened to me I was a bit hurt, and then I grew to accept it and thought — ‘I’ll show ’em!'”
So the “Madman” LP was more important than most.

RELIEVED

“We really put all our life and soul into this album. I’ve seen some of the reviews today and I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I am that it looks as though people think that we’ve pulled it off!”
Does he think, perhaps, that journalists are allowing him his second wind?
“I think you have to expect a period of disillusionment. I expect Rod Stewart will go through it just as everybody else has. Marc Bolan is going through it now. It’s just a thing with the Press — they have to be controversial, otherwise they wouldn’t get any readers.”
I decided to change the subject by asking if Elton had detected any change in the attitude of his audiences towards him.
“Not at all,” he asserted, without a moment’s hesitation. “I seem to attract a crowd that are ultra-friendly towards me — I mean, you can feel it every time you go on stage. I just think they associate with me because I’m not a sex idol or a sex symbol. I don’t know how I do come across because, of course — you never see yourself — but I just seem to attract just very, very friendly people.”
And yet, I reminded him, he had told me a year ago that he didn’t really want to do “live” gigs, but that he’d rather just make records.
“It’s true,” he admits now. “I didn’t want to tour and I didn’t want to do gigs, but I’m really enjoying them now because of the feeling I get when I come off stage after playing to an audience of, say, 10,000 people, all having an incredibly good time and all sort of peaceful and everything like that. It’s the best feeling you could possibly have — to know that you’re in charge.
“There’ve been times in America when I’ve had to say to the audience — `Listen, you’ll have to get off the stage, otherwise you’ll get your heads beaten in by the police.’ And they’ve done it without fuss – it’s an incredible feeling, not exactly of power, but it’s great — you know, they believe you and they don’t mind.” I could understand this remarkable rapport with an English-speaking audience. But how did he manage in Japan. “Rock in Japan is very, very big, and it’s becoming bigger and bigger and bigger,” he told me. “And most rock music is sung in English — it can’t be sung in Japanese, it’s impossible. The Beach Boys were probably the biggest thing out there, and the Ventures are still very big. But now the new rock thing is coming in, and we found the audiences went wild! “We had a riot in Osaka (not an unfriendly one), but, well, they just stormed the stage after souvenirs and everything. We had to shop the show.” And the reaction out East wasn’t the only surprise. “We went to Portugal, and we thought “Ah, Portugal, what’s it all about?” — but they know! Rock music is now firmly planted throughout the world. I mean, you go to any place and you’ll find Carole King’s “Tapestry” in the charts. James Taylor’s in the charts, Cat Stevens, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple — everywhere you go they’re the biggest selling records.” And what about British audiences? Does he think that they’re spoiled now, compared to audiences abroad? “London audiences are, I think. I’m always apprehensive about appearing in Britain,” he confessed. “Especially in London, because I think they`re far more critical far more cynical. Up North I think the audiences are just as loose as they ever were, but in London they’re super-critical.”
And yet, early next month, he’s scheduled to play the Fairfield Hall in Croydon, Surrey. Does he count that as a London gig?
“Yeah. I didn’t want to play the Royal Albert Hall – I don’t like it — and we’re doing the London Festival Hall in February, so that was out. When the tour was being booked, the Rainbow Theatre wasn’t ready and, in any case, we’ll probably play there in the New Year, when I’ve expanded the band with a guitar and organ. So there wasn’t really a venue I wanted to play in London.
“The only place I enjoy playing is the Roundhouse, and we’ve done that about three times. So I thought — ‘Well, let’s make it the Fairfield.’ We’ve been there before and it’s a good place.
“But I’ve appeared a lot in London — more than anywhere else — so I think I’d rather devote any available time to playing somewhere up North, because we’ve hardly played up there at all.”

REACTIONS

But he’s never had any trouble with even the blasé London crowds, has he?
“No, only the Press,” he reminded me dryly. “I never have any trouble with any audiences. In fact, we haven’t had one bad gig ever since we started. Even before we made it, we were having good reactions everywhere. But there’s always a feeling that you have to work extra hard for a London audience.”
Although he obviously hadn’t had much time to think since he stepped off the homebound place a few hours before, I wondered whether Elton had found moments, in dressing or hotel rooms, to consider his future course of action.
“I’m just determined to cut down on work,” he assured me, “As I’ve said, I`ll be adding to the band, but I’ll be doing less touring and putting more time aside for recording and writing. We’re doing an album in January — at the Rolling Stones’ Mobile in the South of France — and I’m looking forward to that.”
And what about time off?
“Well, I’ve got the British tour to do. But next year I must have time to think and write. When I think about it, it’s a wonder I’ve survived the last few months!”
I agreed with him, and added that I thought it was amazing that he’s managed to produce any fresh material at all this year.
“Well, you see, one of the advantages of writing with Bernie (Taupin) is that he can stay away, not tour, and can write without me. Then I add my bit when I come back — I write very quickly anyway.” Then he added sadly:
“Although, it is true that we’ve only turned out about 10 songs this year. So, next year, I really want to do a lot of writing and stockpile some material.”

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John FROM New Musical Express, February 27, 1971

Friends is the fourth official album release by Elton John. It was certified Gold in April 1971 by the RIAA.
The title track was a minor hit in the US (#34 on the pop chart) despite the film’s poor performance. The album also received a 1972 Grammy nomination for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture.
The album isn`t released on CD as far as I know, which probably mean that someone didn`t see any value in making it available on that format. Not the biggest success in John and Taupin`s career then.
Read on.

Elton John returns to his soft, romantic style on Friends LP

Ritchie Yorke cables from America

THERE’S a lot you can say about Elton John but what should be said firstly is that this young Englishman has succeeded where many others have failed, often miserably. Discussions on quality levels aside, many artists and producers have attempted to combine poetry, lush orchestration and a rock beat.
There have been successes, both in audience acceptance and artistic merit (for examples, the Moody Blues and Procol Harum, in that order). But no act has approached the superstar status which Elton John has reached in recent months. As I write, his two U.S. released albums — “Elton John” and “Tumbleweed Connection” — are listed in Billboard’s Top Five, and a third, “Friends,” will be released by Paramount in about three weeks.

Intuition

In a shrewd and timely piece of intuition, Paramount last year signed a deal with Elton John which required him to write for (with lyricist Bernie Taupin) and sing on the soundtrack of a then planned movie, “Friends” (it was originally to have been called “Intimate Games” but Elton felt that was rather a cumbersome name around which to write an un-obscene and memorable title tune!)
The movie is to open in New York in mid-March, and with one-month profits from their current “Love Story” equal to more than 30 million dollars, you can bet that Paramount will be putting a hefty push behind it. All singles from the movie soundtrack will be released by UNI, which normally issues Elton John products in all markets but England.
UNI plans to release “Friends,” the title song, as the follow-up to the million-seller “Your Song.” It will be on the U.S. market by the time you read this.
In analysing the third Elton John album to be released in America, one has to be careful to obtain the right perspective. “Friends” is not just another mushy movie soundtrack; it stands up favourably as the logical progression from “Tumbleweed Connection.”
If relative popularity has anything to do with it (and nobody else has two albums in the top five), then “Friends” is the most important new album from anyone in the current period.

Back to base

The initial thing you notice about the album is that it marks a return to Elton John’s original style as far as intricate arrangements and musical dexterity are concerned. “Tumbleweed Connection” was a hard hitting, powerful album, while the first LP, “Elton John,” was a soft and intensely romantic collection.
“Friends” is much more in the style of “Elton John,” as well it should be, in view of the story content of the movie, which deals with the poignancy of first love in two teenagers, ill-equipped to deal with all its far-reaching implications, but the failings and fantasies of first love are projected with compassion and sympathy.
Although Elton John’s melodies cannot be academically compared with those of Mozart, the feelings evoked by the latter’s “21st Piano Concerto” (as used in the movie “Elvira Madigan”) compare rather noticeably with the listeners general feeling of “Friends.”
Producer Gus Dudgeon and arranger Paul Buckmaster have employed the same kind of stunning orchestration recorded through Dolby noise reduction units, for clearer reproduction, which marked the “Elton John” LP. “Friends” is an album you need to hear a lot to appreciate its finer and more subtle frills.
This reviewer enjoys the perspective of having listened to an advance tape of the album at least 50 times, in varying conditions and environments! The title song opens in typical Elton John manner, with a wide sounding piano solo, building verse by verse into a string filled patchwork of poetry set to classical rock music. FRIENDS is a perfect follow-up to “Your Song,” another unique statement on love and romanticism. HONEYROLL is a robust, up-tempo raver with a late sixties r-and-b flavour, driving rhythm section, and a really outstanding vocal performance.

Reprise

An orchestral reprise of “Friends” (for The First Kiss sequence) follows, creating a beautiful sea of tranquility into which the tour-de-force of the album, SEASONS, is allowed to flow with devastating effect. It’s a four-minute tune which creates a feeling of lush wide open spaces and hedge-lined English fields, mood music of the first order, and only in the final bars do Bernie Taupin’s forcefully simple lyrics reveal themselves, which end with the sentiment that young loves start as friends.
The hum of the strings fades away and a flute leads us into A DAY IN THE COUNTRY, another moody, fluffy instrumental back-grounder to what is obviously a melancholy section of the movie. CAN I PUT YOU ON returns to the funky Elton John (e.g. “Take Me To The Pilot,” “Burn Down The Mission,” “Where To Now St. Peter?”). This is a six-minute cut, with superb guitar playing building into a lengthy fade-out where the entire instrumentation throbs like a steam hammer.
This is an almost certain singles hit. Worthy of special mention is Barry Morgan’s punchy drumming, which is better than anything yet from Elton John’s powerhouse percussion section.
Side two opens with MICHELLE’S SONG, an up-tempo, straight-ahead love song which also has great singles potential, simple, catchy and tastefully arranged. I MEANT TO WORK TODAY (“A Day In The Country”) evokes the same kind of atmosphere as the title implies, an English summer day… meadows filled with green… two young lovers run hand in hand… then sit down in the grass and talk about themselves. Few will remain un-moved in the three part fuge, which is over eleven minutes in length.

Classics

Rock music fans will endure the most stunning introduction to classical music yet contained in what is essentially a pop album. A fascinating study in the role of various orchestral instruments and sections and one which is bound to have lasting impact on contemporary music.
The album comes to a close with reprise of “Seasons,” yet you are left with a strong urge to simply turn the album over and continue the cycle, “Friends” is a worthy follow-up to what went down in the “Elton John” album. It will surely sell a million copies, and it will probably be played more often than “Tumbleweed Connection,” which for many reasons doesn’t really measure up to this new effort.
Elton John has done it again. Once again he has succeded where so many before him have failed. And yet again he demonstrates that he may very well be the most important new solo rock artist since Bob Dylan.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com

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ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John and Bernie Taupin FROM New Musical Express, February 13, 1971

For myself and other people who like to read words in their different forms of expression, Mr. Taupin has been very successful with his words. He built a career around the mastering of his language. Not bad at all. Everyoneknows about his collaboration with Elton John, but he also co-wrote my favourite album by Alice Cooper; the unbelievably wonderful “From The Inside” album. Great work, Mr. Taupin!
Read on!

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Elton – a great rock artist

Introvert Bernie talks to Roy Carr about extrovert Elton

IT was an advertisement in the “New Musical Express” that originally led to the chance meeting and subsequent multi-million dollar collaboration of Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
That must have been all of three years ago. At a time when Elton John (nee Reg Dwight) was looking for a lyricist to put the words to a batch of songs that he’d written — and a frail, fresh-faced Lincolnshire lad called Taupin was seeking the services of a sympathetic composer to complement his reams of poetry.
With this in mind and hope in their hearts, they both replied to an advertisement placed by Liberty Records which offered fame and fortune to naive unknowns.
“Well… as it turned out we didn’t sign with Liberty, but we did arrive at the conclusion that Reg and I were both musically compatible,” Bernie began, while apologising for his late arrival for our interview due to the wonders of British Rail.
“At that time, I was writing some very banal stuff and Reg was writing straight commercial pop tunes. The first things that we did weren’t very good at all… our hearts just weren’t in them.
“Actually… you wouldn’t believe it if you heard that early stuff, it’s really corney and I suppose quite funny now. Thank goodness it’s locked away in the vaults.”

Fruitless year

After a year without producing anything that gave them any semblance of self-gratification, they both agreed that the only way in which they could yield any positive fruition from their newly formed partnership was to use their own discretion and write for themselves. With the result that the much covered “Lady Samantha” and “Skyline Pigeon” were the very first songs that they were proud to put their respective names to.
If Elton John is the outrageously attired extrovert of the duo, then Bernie Taupin must clearly be the complete antithesis of pop imagery.
His only concession was a sweat shirt that he was wearing under his leather jacket. Lighting a cigarette and casually thumbing through the week’s pop press, he gave an insight into the somewhat bizarre method in which they both work – for apparently they never actually compose a song together.
“It’s always the case of me writing a set of lyrics, then passing them onto Elton who, after studying them, fits a tune around them… it’s as simple as that.
“Funnily enough it works quite well… most of the time I’ve been very pleased with the outcome.”
As to why this particular method should work so well, Bernie is not quite sure. However, he is content in the knowledge that their rapport has resolved itself in such a successful unity… his conclusion being: “I assume it’s the fact that we are both completely opposite to one another in our respective life-styles.”
While Elton has gone on to capture the limelight on both sides of the Atlantic as the performing half of the team, Bernie is quite content to sit back in the solitude of the countryside and let his alter-ego get on with the splendid job of selling their songs.
Without displaying any signs of discontent or frustration; he openly admits to having no aspirations whatsoever of also becoming a performer.
“I very much doubt if I`ll ever do any public appearances,” he confessed, continuing this line of conversation.

Pleased

“I’m quite happy with the way things are. My only interest is in writing. if Elton get’s all the limelight then that’s all right with me.”
If his admiration for Elton as an artist is without restraint, then his displeasure as to some of the recent uncomplimentary asides that have appeared in print about Elton’s on stage cavortings prove to be a source of irritation.
“I`m pleased for Elton because I personally feel him to be a talent in his very own right and so it annoys me when people get the wrong concept of him.
“What particularly annoys me is that the so-called ‘in crowd’ who were continually predicting great things for Elton are now knocking him since he’s become big… it really is a sickening state of affairs.
“People say why does he have to do rock and roll and wear all those funny clothes… but that`s Reg. He`s aneccentric in the nicest possible way. If it makes him happy it’s fine by me.
“You get all those snide remarks like `When will Elton John get some dress sense?’
“Mr. Taupin’s frank opinion being that some of the less informed critics are continually on a power-trip. Even if they do like something, they won’t openly admit it – its all down to being super-cool.
“I believe Reg to be a really great rock artist,” he stated adamantly, in defence of Elton’s talents.
“A lot of acts just play rock to end their show, because the plain truth is that their act didn’t go down too well, and so it’s a good old reliable stand-by.
“But people like Elton, Leon Russell, Pete Townshend and Steve Marriott play rock all the time.
“The reason why Elton goes down so well in the States is due to the fact that apart from being a good entertainer, the audiences over there are far less inhibited. I think that over here, people are still trying to be so ultra-cool. The next time he goes back to America he’ll be phenomenal.”
When perusing the excellent illustrated book of lyrics which accompanies “Tumbleweed Connection” and those contained within the gate-fold cover of the “Elton John” album, one immediately becomes aware that Bernie Taupin is a writer of infinite imagination and perception.
As from where he draws his inspiration Bernie revealed: “Tumbleweed Connection’ was something that I’d always wanted to do, for I have always been most interested in the history of the Old West. In a way, I suppose you could say that they are just cowboy songs.

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“Most of those songs were written about the same time as the material on the ‘Elton John` album. As they all seem to fit into a certain pattern we decided upon using this as a concept.”
As a complete contrast, he gave an insight as to how the theme of their current hit single “Your Song” was instigated, “That song was meant to have been written by someone who hadn’t written a song before and didn’t know how to write. Though it’s a basic love song it’s not supposed to be naive… I suppose it’s very personal.”
However, the Old West isn’t his only source of creative inspiration, for he went on to relate, “I’m very involved with childrens books… from Tolkein to C. S. Lewis.”
Admitting, “I live in a fantasy world… I’m not very realistic. I never read papers or listen to the news. To be quite honest, I can’t take politics and violence.
“I always seem to live in the world of the book that I happen to be reading. I suppose it’s because I was brought up in the country and on my Mother’s side there were relations who wrote books. In particular, my Grandfather… who I take after.
“In this environment I have always led a tranquil life and I’ve got no desire to change it. That’s why I’ve never had any urge to perform… I’m quite happy to stay in the background.”
Besides his work with Elton, Bernie has expressed a wish to write a children’s book and some poetry, all of which he indicated would be very simple.
“The trouble today is that people try to read too much into too little. Personally, I get a great deal of satisfaction from reading books like ‘Lord Of The Rings`,’ Winnie The Poo’ and ‘Wind In The Willows’… but you’ll always get somebody looking for hidden meanings and dark undertones.”
It could well be that Bernie’s planned excursion into the world of children’s reading will be as a result of his great interest in Norse and Scandinavian Mythology… a subject which he finds most enthralling.

Content in the knowledge that the John-Taupin collaboration has met with international acclaim. Bernie’s only concession to performing will be in the form of a solo album.
“Though I could never imagine myself writing with any other than Elton, I am doing an album entirely on my own. But it’s completely different in concept as to what we do together.”
This venture will spotlight Bernie quietly speaking some original prose against a sympathetic mood backing supplied by the likes of Caleb Quaye, Danny Johnson and Shawn Phillips, with Steve Brown and Gus Dudgeon producing.
“It will be very musical as well as poetical. It’s not as though I’ve said to the musicians write songs to those lyrics… it’ll be more of an overall mood.
“One side is called ‘The Greatest Discovery’ and basically it will be about a child’s realisation of a younger brother being born. Leading into the child’s reaction to the world about him as he develops into his early teens. I have to confess that it’s biographical.”
With two albums and a single in the NME Chart, the score for a new film ‘Friends’ imminent and his own solo venture near to completion, Bernie Taupin still remains the unaffected person who answered an advertisement three years ago and discovered his vocation.
To this end, his main objective at the moment is to get a house in the solitude of the Lincolnshire countryside where he can expand his consummate talent without unwelcome distraction. A talent which if carefully nurtured should develop into one of the most important assets in the genetic evolution of contemporary British music.

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.
If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John FROM New Musical Express, January 16, 1971

I guess Elton John had the time to chat for hours at the beginning of his career. When you become a superstar everyone wants a piece of you and the time you have available for others become very limited. Mr. John have had an amazing career, but at a cost of his personal freedom to do a lot of the things that you and I take for granted. So, he has not only given us a lot of great music, but in a way, he has also sacrificed a normal, anonymous life for us. That is one thing that you can`t buy with money… so treasure your mundane, non-celebrity life.
Read on!

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Elton now `tight and funky` – Clapton

Just starting his first British tour, Elton John spoke to me about America, films, touring, audiences and a million other things… We talked for hours: you can do that with Elton because he is such a naturally exhuberant person – an interview becomes an animated chat.

By Gillian Saich

ELTON JOHN sat perched on the edge of a buff-coloured sofa in his new flat near Marble Arch. When he got excited about things he bounced up and down and flung his arms around like a rather outsize schoolboy. Huge rings adorned his fingers as usual and dressed in tight-fitting red trousers and a “stars and stripes” t-shirt he looked like any other rock-crazed 23-year-old native of Pinner!
Elton, his bass player Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson went to America on their first tour at the beginning of October and returned just before Christmas with an estimated $25,000 in their pockets.

America made us tighter

“America did a lot of things to Elton John the band,” he revealed, “it made us play a whole lot better, we’re tighter. So tight I can’t believe it myself sometimes.
“I’m really pleased, so are Dee and Nigel. Eric Clapton came to see us at one of our gigs and he said he couldn’t believe we were a British act because we were so tight and funky.
“One thing that makes us play well is that we get on well together. There are only three of us, a more compact number, and we only had one small row in all the time we were there – and that was over in a few minutes.
“We’re happy knowing that we’re going to do a good gig. Don’t get me wrong. We have to fight a lot of the time to win the audience, especially in places like San Francisco.
“My favourite audience is the `eventually’ kind! The one that you win if you work really hard. This is a challenge and keeps you on your toes so that if you work hard and do a good set then the reward is the audience on your side.
“San Francisco audiences are considered ‘never’ audiences, they are so blase. They’ve seen everything before and are impressed by nothing, yet we managed to win them after a hard fight.”
While touring, Elton’s piano is provided by the promoter of each gig.

Out of tune upright

“I never came across a bad piano in the States, but in England it seems to be different. I’m prepared to put up with a baby grand, but at one gig we did the other day, all that was provided was an out-of-tune upright. What do you do?
“I’m not going to do a moody and refuse to go on because the kids have paid to see us, so I had to do my best. Some promoters haven’t the faintest idea who they’re cheating. Why should the kids suffer? They’ve paid to see a good show and they’re entitled to it.
“One of the most exciting things on the American tour was a ‘live’ radio show we did for ABC Radio in New York. They wanted us to do it the first time we were there but we didn’t have the necessary work permits.
“We got it together this trip and it really was fantastic. The sound was excellent. I don’t know whether you are already aware, but there is very little live radio in the States so when it happens it creates immediate interest.
“We had an audience of about 100 people and we got such a buzz we played for an hour and a half without interruption. They stopped the news, the commercials, everything, and just ran straight through.
“Our record company taped it on an eight-track machine and I brought the tapes back here where we intend to issue it as a live LP very soon. ‘Burn Down The Mission,’ with which we close our act, lasts 25 minutes, one complete side of the album. Also we did `Amoreena,’ `Honky Tonk Women’ and ‘Take Me To The Pilot.’

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Issue it as live LP

“I’m looking forward to having a ‘live LP’ released because the atmosphere is so great it makes me feel that it is actually better than a studio version.”
The album “Elton John” is on the verge of becoming a gold album in America alone and “Your Song” which is in the U.S. Top Twenty has sold more than if it were No. 1 for weeks over here!
Even with all this happening the majority of the British public are dismally unaware of the multi-talents of Elton John — we must be mad to leave it to another nation to discover a native genius.
During a conversation I had with Elton John some time ago he mentioned that he was very much against singles being taken off albums, and yet “Your Song,” a track from his second album’s currently on release in Britain as a single.
“I don’t have much choice in the matter,” Elton commented. “It’s all up to the record company. I can voice my preference but that’s as far as it goes.
“In this case I don’t mind because it is obviously a very popular track. It’s often played on the radio and it has done extremely well for us in the States so it seems a logical step to take — besides — Tony Blackburn has promised to make it his Record Of The Week.”
We also discussed something we touched on many moons ago when Elton didn’t want to go on the road.
“I really didn’t want to do gigs then because I had done it all with Bluesology,” he explained. “All I wanted to do when the whole thing started about eight months ago was sit back and write songs.
“You know how lazy I am: I hated the idea of getting a band together and rehearsing, but when the last album was so well received I got the feeling that it would be good to go on the road and now — only six months later — I consider that Nigel reckons amongst the top five rock drummers in the world, he’s got so much more confidence. We all have. I think even he is surprised at his own improvement.”

Done it all before

The film score for “Friends” that Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin completed before they went to the States in October, is being released as an album on Paramount in March — this should prove a monster seller.
Unlike most film music, the songs stand on their own without the film. It’s like listening to another excellent album of completely new tracks. “Can I Put You On,” one of the tracks that Elton played me during the interview is already being included in their stage act and with its exciting funky ending is proving one of the highlights of his show. “Michelle’s Song” is one of the gentler tracks and Elton considers it a possible single.
Elton John is rich enough to retire tomorrow, but he wouldn’t. His first love is music although he admits that it’s nice not to have to worry about money any more. Just to prove it he has bought himself ‘a new machine’… a pale mauve Aston Martin, and given his year-old car to his flat-mate….

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
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ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John FROM Sounds, November 8, 1975

This article really shows you how incredibly BIG a star Elton John was in the middle of the 70s. His fame have remained almost constant since then and he certainly still is one of the most well-known people on this planet today. Well done, Elton!

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The Artful Dodger

Nobody has played Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles since the Beatles in 1966. Elton John changed all that last week. To celebrate the occasion he chartered a jet and flew 120 people over there. Among those on board was Elton`s mum – and Mick Brown.

I FIND out this is Elton John Week in Los Angeles on the 10 o’clock sleazo-input news. Wedged between an item linking bacon with cancer and a story about a 13-year-old girl being shot in all-girl gang war, there is film of Elton in a chartreuse suit and sequined bowler hat inaugurating his star on the pavement of Hollywood Boulevard. The stars on the pavement of Hollywood Boulevard extend for some three miles, both sides of the street. They were planted in the Thirties, a monument to Hollywood’s infatuation with itself and the Dream. It is probably the only shred of tradition you will find in this town.
Everybody who was ever anybody in Hollywood has a star — Myrna Loy, Bob Hope, Clarke Gable, Doris Day, even Lassie. But Elton’s is the first rock star. He looks pleased: makes a speech. England’s in a bit of a bad way at the moment, he says, so it’s a bit of a boost in the old arm for this to be made Elton John Week. He jumps around and makes jokes and laughs a lot and waves to the crowd. Then back into his limousine and up to his house in Beverley Hills.

Unholy

Elton lives up in Beverley Hills in a house he bought from the head of Warner Bros pictures. On a clear day those hills are like paradise. with the city spread out below, as far as the eye can see. Other days the smog hangs in a thick grey/yellow blanket and the view over Babylon is obscured. This is Elton John’s town, and for him the Dream is made real. What Elton wants, Elton has.
Occasionally he may descend from his chateau to distribute the largesse of his presence like bread on the waters of this unholy town. Into Tower Records on the Strip, the largest record-store in the world, to spend — what 500, 1,000 dollars? on albums. Elton is a fan, and isn’t that every fan’s dream? Or to phone up a local radio station and become a dee-jay for the day? He does that too…
Sometimes a 60 ft facsimile of Elton peers down on Sunset Strip where all the world — or all those who matter — pass in their Coup de Villes and English Bentleys. But this is Elton John’s town, and Elton John Week and on Saturday and Sunday he plays the 60,000 seater Dodger stadium and all the tickets were sold out in an hour and a half, so who needs his facsimile on Sunset Strip? Right now it’s Bruce Springsteen — rock ‘n’ roll’s future the billboard says.

Gossip

Nonetheless, it is impossible to escape the sense of Elton’s presence. You can’t go more than 15 minutes without hearing one of his songs on the radio; every record shop has an Elton John display in its window or his record catalogue on special offer, and the street and the business grapevines are crawling with rumour, gossip and high anticipation. This is, after all, the biggest — the very biggest — thing to hit LA in ages.
Southern California is Elton John territory. It was his appearance at the Los Angeles Troubadour five years ago which catalysed the metamorphosis of Reg Dwight, journeyman musician into Elton John superstar, and neither Elton nor Southern California are about to forget it. He has performed in California each year for the past five years now. Last year he played five consecutive nights at the Angeles forum, packing 18,000 paying customers a night. In a special commemorative six-show charity engagement at the Troubador earlier this year, Elton raised 150,000 dollars (£75,000) for the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute. High-rollers like Cher, Ringo and Mae West paid 250 dollars a ticket for the show, and there were 100,000 postcard applications for 25 dollar (£12.50) tickets.
And now, just two mont later, two shows at the Dodger Stadium. Dodger Stadium! Nobody has played Dodger since the Beatles in 1966, a fact which is inevitably inviting comparison between the two acts, dividing loyalties between the old and the new music.
But they are unnecessary. Suffice it to say Elton is un questionably the biggest-selling, biggest drawing and biggest money-making performer in America at present. He has earned seven gold singles, nine gold albums and nine platinum albums. His last album ‘Captain Fantastic’ set a precedent by entering the US albums charts at No 1 in its first week of release.
The sceptical look for a chink in the armour, a sign — no matter how slight — that his star is on the wane. October 12, one notes, marked the first week Elton didn’t have a single in the American Hot 100 for two years. A disappointment, apparently, as he was hoping to break Pat Boone’s record of four unbroken years in the singles charts. One remembers that the last time one saw Pat Boone he was taking time off from Jesus to do commercials for underwear on the sleazo-input. But then just this week Elton’s new album ‘Rock Of The Westies’ has emulated the record of ‘Captain Fantastic’ by entering the charts at No 1. May the circle be unbroken …

THIS is Elton John Week, and the biggest Superstar in the business is playing Dodger Stadium. To celebrate the occasion he has chartered a jet at a cost of £50,000 and flown in a party of 120 people from England. There is Elton’s mum, and the lady who used to live next door in Pinner, aunts, uncles (one cynic suggests you can tell Elton’s relatives by the Cartier jewellery), friends, staff of Elton’s record company, Rocket (the one he owns, but not yet records for), accountants, lawyers, business associates and a handful of journalists. Russell Harty has come along with a film crew to make a documentary for `Aquarius’; Rodney Marsh has come along too, for the ride.
The party are doing LA, Disneyland and Universal Studios, and the swish boutiques of Beverley Hills or the Roxy Theatre and the Rainbow Bar; a hang – out – cum – meat market where piranha groupies cruise, eyes like grappling hooks, their 16-year-old brains charred by coke; where one sees Robert Plant and Mick Ralphs and half of Three Dog Night and the waitress says in this place if you’ve got a name you can get anything you want, but personally if she were a guy she wouldn`t lay 99 per cent of the girls here, not knowing what you`d catch into the bargain and as far as she`s concerned they can stick their 200 bucks a week with tips because she`s had enough of all this ego-bullshit.
And outside in the parking-lot, where the hipsters pose beside their Mercedes or Ferraris and bodies are bought like so much super-market merchandise, one notices two girls, their heads shaved, wrapped in dung-grey blankets, sullen and vacant-eyed. One carries a small kitten; and somebody says they are followers of Charles Manson. But that`s Hollywood…
Everybody is trying to get to Elton John, but the shutters are up. Rolling Stone want to do a story, but Elton’s office aren’t co-operating. But then Stone did do a story last year that was — a little too close to the knuckle for Elton’s liking …
Requests for interviews from the English contingent are similarly deflected. Elton is rehearsing; a bit tied-up right now; he did interviews for the English weeklies before the Wembley Show earlier this year and has nothing to add to what he said; perhaps at some unspecified time … Even the taxi driver finds it strange: Elton always seems so amenable to publicity when he’s in town, he says; you’re always reading interviews in the newspapers; or likely to hear him doing live broadcasts with even the smallest radio stations. Perhaps he’s afraid of over-exposure? Perhaps …

Cheap rooms

One has come to respect the taxi-drivers here. Lawrence Ecrlinghetti, the beat poet, was in town last week, saying he came to visit a city and found one big freeway instead. He’s right. Los Angeles is a city of roads and cars — not of people. Nobody walks and there are few buses. If you don’t have a car you take a cab. Driving around all day, radio cranked up, one ear on the conversation going on in the seat behind them, cab drivers have their finger on the pulse of the city and the pick of the grapevine. They are oracles, prophets, informers.
This cabby had picked up Elton five years ago, immediately before the Troubador breakthrough, when Elton was still making do with cheap hotel rooms. Funny that, because he’d never have thought Elton would make it, not as big as he has anyway. He’d found him kind of uninteresting as a person, not much conversation. But, hell, he writes good songs and look at his following. There’s no knocking the guy: no knocking him at all …
Elton is unavailable (or unwilling) to do interviews, but a meeting with John Reid, his manager, is arranged. Reid has managed Elton since 1970. A former label-manager for Tamla Motown in England, he was in America for a sales convention at the same time as Elton’s Troubador breakthrough, and became his manager three months later. Reid is quiet and polite, friendliness tempered with the sort of defensive wariness that manager sometimes have around journalists. One senses that he doesn’t trust too many people, which in his line of business is probably just as well.

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Contracts

His Beverley Hills office is functional rather than luxurious; on the wall there are colour blow-ups of Elton, fine-art originals and a large map of North America with flag-pins indicating the venues for the present tour. There are 13 pins — all west of the Rockies, 16 shows, with an average attendance of 19,000 for each gig.
Reid declines to estimate how much Elton eventually will earn from the tour — he hasn’t been paid for any live performances in America since 1973 when the US Internal Revenue Service froze payments pending the settlement of a double-taxation agreement between America and Britain.
1975 has been an important year for Elton. says Reid, with unprecedented sales and live performance successes. On a more practical level, he is now free to record for his own label, Rocket. ‘Rock Of The Westies’ is his last new album for DJM (a compilation album will fulfill his contractual obligations to that company). Furthermore, his American contract with MCA originally reported to be worth some eight million dollars to Elton  -(less than the actual figure, says Reid) has been extended, and the distribution deal for other acts on Rocket with MCA is also about to be extended. His new contract will stipulate only one album per year, as opposed to two at present.
Although Reid describes Elton as being “very productive naturally” he feels the two-album-a-year contract was too tight. “There is danger of the music being prejudiced by an artist having to produce two albums. I don`t think to date it has been damaged by that. There is a lot of prejudice in the eyes of the press though, some reviews suggested he’d made ‘Rock Of The Westies’ simply to complete a contract commitment, which is absolutely not true. It upsets him for people to write things like that without checking their facts.
“The fact is that ‘Captain Fantastic’ was actually recorded in August 1974 and released nine or 10 months later, and by the time it was released he just wanted to get back into the studio and make a new album.”
Elton himself subsequently introduced the new album to the 60,000 audience at Dodger with a peculiarly defensive preamble in which he explained that he had been criticised for releasing `Westies’ so soon after ‘Captain Fantastic’, but when a musician gets a new band together the first thing he wants to do is make music with them, right? Right.
“With the new contract”, Reid continues, “we have a more flexible situation where he can work at his own pace. If he wants to make two albums a year he can do it, but then he doesn’t have to make another one for a year after that if he doesn’t want to.”

With less pressure from recording commitments Elton will be able to spend more time touring, and also devote more energy to his activities within Rocket. There are plans to tour Europe and the Far East next year, and promoter Mel Bush is putting together an itinerary for a comprehensive tour of Britain. Reid describes Elton`s last English appearance, at Wembley, as “3-2 to the Beach Boys – a mistake, but not a disaster…”
For Rocket, Elton has already produced one Kiki Dee album and was responsible for signing Neil Sedaka to the label. And there are plans to increase the label roster further. Rocket were, in fact, offered the contract of an ex Beatle – “he didn’t play guitar or write many songs,” says Reid – but passed on the ‘financial aspects’ of the deal. Reid thinks the offer was made “more out of courtesy than anything else.”
Reid baulks at evaluating his personal contribution to Elton’s success. “I don’t know how responsible I am. He’s responsible obviously, but the team-work that goes on around him is the important thing. People like Gus Dudgeon and myself just give him the machinery to carry out what he does. I can persuade him from making silly decisions. He’s terrible at choosing album titles and picking singles, for example. `Island Girl’ was originally scheduled as a single; then it was pulled back and ‘Dan Dare’ scheduled in its place; then that was pulled back and ‘Island Girl’ released. That’s one occasion where we came to loggerheads.

Eccentric

“He wanted to call ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road` `Vodka And Tonic’ and ‘Rock Of The Westies` `Bottled And Brained`. He’s not irresponsible; he just doesn’t know where to draw the line…”
Why, one wonders, does Elton sell more records than anybody else in the world? “Because he works harder. He tours a lot, makes frequent public appearance, and, of course, his music is good.” That good? “People can identify with him too, which is important. I think they sees him as an amiable, very talented eccentric — which is what he is.”
One remarks that there is something unnaturally wholesome and untainted about Elton`s image. He appears too pure — almost pristine — to be true, curiously lacking either the raunchiness, sexuality or innate agression — that renegade impulse – which fires most rock stars. “Harmless faggotry”, one Hollywood rock manager called it. “He doesn’t threaten like Bowie or promise like Jagger.” In fact, it is more of an asexuality, not in the sense of having transcended sexuality, but of never really having awoken to it at all. “He sometimes calls himself the Cliff Richard of rock and roll”, says Reid. “I don’t think it’s pristine really. He has a very ‘fun’ image. But the days are gone where you can build an image like that for someone. It just happens to be what he is.”

THE stadium nestles in the hills above downtown Los Angeles, a sweep of three tier stands around the baseball triangle. Fans have been camping out overnight to get stage-side seats and by mid-day the stadium is almost full. The audience is predominantly young but very mellow — archetypal sun-kissed California teenagers. There is little evidence of dope or even drink and none of the underlying tension, ugliness or discomfort which often characterises stadia gigs. Obviously this audience is here to have a good time.
Emmylou Harris opens the afternoon with a selection of songs from her last and her forthcoming albums. Emmylou has a sweet, high voice and a fine country band behind her, but the sound is too light — great for clubs, but not for religious festivals, which is what one senses today will turn into …
Joe Walsh is next on, standing amongst some tacky plastic palms and cacti, two drummers and a bass-player (Joe Vitale, Andy Newmark and Willie Weeks), behind him; keyboards to the left; guitarist and the Clydie King trio to his right. From the outset something is obviously wrong. The sound-balance is terrible; as if everything on stage is being miked through the bass and snare drums; the singers are mixed too high, and Walsh too low, effectively muting his lead-guitar lines. The sound perks up as the set progresses, but Walsh and band never really get on top.
Walsh is obviously a good guitarist and an occasionally accomplished song-writer, but he really needs to start composing or at least performing more varied material if he is ever to build on his reputation; while his songs may work in the studio, on stage they sound forced and over-stylised. Only on ‘Welcome To The Club’ and ‘Rocky Mountain Way’, both aggressive enough to steam-roller aside any reservations, do Walsh and the band really start to cook and by then their set is over.

It is 2 pm now, Elton is not scheduled to appear for another hour. The crowd amuse themselves building pyramids, pitching frisbees, hustling for souvenirs. The smog has risen from the city below the stadium now, and the hills behind the stage are softened by a yellow haze. The stadium itself is packed, and you can almost reach out and touch the excitement in the air.
At 2.45 the first bars of ‘Your Song’ can be heard from a piano. The curtain across the front of the stage parts to reveal Elton and the piano on a platform, gliding forward on rollers. Dodger Stadium erupts in a vast, breathtaking surge as everybody rises, jerked upright by sheer release of nervous excitement as Elton is at last visable.
The platform halts; Elton continues the song: the crowd quieten slightly, contenting themselves with a deafening round of applause after each verse, and a tumultuous barrage of appreciation at the end of the song.
“Don’t worry’. says Elton. “We’ll play as long as you want to … ” More applause. ‘I Need You To Turn To’, from the ‘Elton John Album’ follows, with Elton again accompanying himself on piano, before introducing the rest of the band and three back-up singers. ‘Take Me To The Pilot’ follows, with Elton’s piano, James Newton-Howard’s iconoclastic synthesiser squirls and some blisteringly assertive guitar-work from Davey Johnstone all combining with obvious relish to give the song height and weight.
This is one hell of a band to have here; Roger Pope and Kenny Passerelli have the rhythm section tightly buttoned down; the addition of Caleb Quaye on guitar gives Johnstone the freedom to fire-off some freewheeling leads, against Elton’s piano runs; while Ray Cooper bobs from one piece of percussion to another, hitting bells, blocks, and chimes with artful abandon.
The beat goes on. ‘Country Comfort’, `Levon’, ‘Rocket Man’. During ‘Dan Dare’ Elton throws his white sequined bowler-hat into the audience; there is a mad scrummage, a sea of flailing hands before the hat is sucked under and the crowd readjust themselves. There is a curious discipline about this audience: sitting down as the songs begin, rising in unison as they build, to sing and dance along with the choruses, and sit down again at their conclusion.

Up, down, up, down in perfect harmony; it is controlled abandon; a mellow, happy, almost loving, collective loosening-up. People hug each other in excitement as favourite tunes begin, arms sway in time, the atmosphere is extraordinarily good. Elton finishes the first set with `Hercules’ and ‘Empty Skies’. He has played for just over an hour. “We`ll be back with the rock`n`roll set…”, he promises.
He reappears after 20 minutes, in a sequined baseball outfit in local team colours. Such taste! Such respect! The crowd bay delightedly. He plays ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and ‘Bennie And The Jets’, ‘Gotta Get A Meal Ticket’, and ‘The Bitch Is Back’, for which Billie Jean King joins in the chorus while Elton leaves the piano to strut and mince around stage, beside himself with the thrill of it, and fall to his knees to play Davey Johnstone’s guitar with his teeth and hurl his piano-stool to the back of the stage, with childlike abandon rather than adolescent petulance.
Behind me on the field, two Blacks, one with the legend ‘YOU’RE BETTER OFF DEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD ELTON’ printed on his shirt, attack imaginary pianos, mouth every word of every song and fall to their knees in supplication at the end of each number. When the first strains of ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’ strike up both will burst into uncontrollable tears …
For ‘Lucy In The Sky With Dimonds’ Elton reminds his audience not to forget the Beatles (how many other artists could get away with doing that?) and pays further tribute with `I Saw Her Standing There’, complete with the guitar-riff from ‘Day Tripper’. Ringo is apparently backstage, but he does not appear.

Reminder

‘Philadelphia Freedom’ follows and then ‘We All Fall In Love Sometimes, with another curtain parting behind the band to reveal the James Cleveland Choir, like a band of black angels in white satin splendour. “Elton saves …” scream the black guys as they break into sobs. Then it’s ‘Saturday Night’ and the entire stadium is on its feet, boogieing, clapping, singing along, the tiers literally trembling under the strain. The energy is incredible, unbelievable: there are 60,000 people here and every one of them must be singing.
Elton has left the lead vocal to the Holy Choir and is now up on the piano brandishing a baseball bat at the audience, taking hapless swings at tennis-balls being thrown on from the wings. This goes on for five, perhaps 10 minutes — this mass song, hysterical mantra — `Saturday, Saturday, Saturday night’s all right’ before collapsing into wild applause and an equally frenzied and extended version of ‘Pinball Wizard’.
Then finally it is over. It is 6.25. Elton has played some three dozen songs for almost 3 1/2 hours. The audience don’t ever bother to call for more. To deliver it would be impossible.
“Elton Saves, Elton Saves”. As the crowds drift slowly out of the stadium the two black guys remain on their knees, chanting, crying, mind-confused by the sheer magical overwhelming power of it all. “Elton Saves.” One can almost believe it.
I take a cab to Hollywood Boulevard to look at Elton’s star, maybe take a photograph for posterity. The taxi driver lights himself a joint (only in LA …), takes a couple of deep hits. It’s a funny thing, he says, about music … you got heavy metal freaks and country freaks and acid rock freaks and whatever the hell else kind of freaks. But everybody likes Elton John. Isn’t that right? We stop to look at the star. It’s nothing special; just a star in a slab of concrete; tourists snapping off pictures. Y’see, says the taxi-driver, even intelligent people like Elton John. That’s what makes him different.
The next day feminists in Los Angeles call a one-day strike on womanly duties to celebrate ‘Alice Doesn’t’ Day. Elton John leaves for Paris, and a four-month holiday. The Hollywood idyll is over for now, but the Dream, one thinks, has begun.

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.