Elton John

ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John FROM SOUNDS, January 13, 1973

Several other artists are mentioned in this article, besides the piano playing rocker that is the 70s Elton that we love a bit more than the later version of Elton on this blog. But whatever your preference, whether it is the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s or 10s version of this man – he has made music that will be played in one version or the other for a whole lot of years to come. Legend.

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Mr. Spaceman And The Egg Plant

Elton John talking to Jerry Gilbert

The piano player hobbled up atop four-tier boots – outrageous dress for wearing around the house at mid-day when the last of your party guests from the previous night had only recently tiptoed off into the morning.
Elton`s New Year knees up had closed at dawn; today he was holding court within the portals of Hercules, his spacious home in Virginia Water on the crest of Surrey`s stockbroker belt.
Everything was now beautifully serene – only the props were the same – the giant egg-plant Elton had bought as a young vegetable at the Chelsea Flower Show, which now completely obscured his grand piano and appeared to be growing and twitching by the second. “I`m afraid it`s going to eat me one day”, contemplated Elton as he picked his way tentatively towards the hi-fi.
At strategic points around the house Elton keeps unlikely species of stuffed animals which aside from being eminent focal points, are also highly functional for they provide instant guide lines to the house.
For example the lavatory is situated in the pink fluorescent bathroom and to locate the above you make a left turn at the bison and it`s first on the right after the warthog.
Elton betrayed little that had happened the night before as he sank into the sofa and began to answer questions in his usual assiduous fashion. But every once in a while the phone would ring and he would find himself answering the usual spate of inquisitive aftermath questions that follow such veritable affairs.
“No… no, Marc didn`t come… just wait `til I see the little twerp… he doesn`t really like a knees up you see… not galactic enough for him…”
Suddenly we were on the surface on the moon; Mr. Spaceman in heavy checks and giant platform boots – his new cosmic remedy for weightlessness. The egg plant continued to grow, observing our every move.
The room swelled with the latest album from the gang – a splendid concept called “Don`t Shoot Me I`m Only The Piano Player”, and right now it could be an apt summary of the disputes in which Elton is involved with manager Dick James over the release of the new single “Daniel”.

THREATENED

It`s not quite certain how many times Mr. James tried to contact Elton during the course of our interview but Elton successfully managed to avert, divert, revert, subvert and generally ignore the stream of calls that threatened his telephone.
But what of the album? “We did it at the Chateu d`Herouville again, but the next one we`re doing in Jamaica because there`s a battle to see who owns it at the moment, so it`s being shut down temporarily… and I don`t record in this country”, he steamed.
“Well I can`t go back to doing sessions at Trident”, he qualified after a short pause. “I used to do sessions with session musicians before I made “Honky Chateau” but after the “Madman” album and we added Davey I went through a radical change and I wanted the group to play on the albums instead of using session musicians; so we decided to go over to France last January and do the “Honky” album because Davey hadn`t played with us before.
“It was so nice to get away out of it – I wrote all the numbers out there and the band rehearsed while I was writing them and I`d just never got that involved with a band before. Now I just can`t visualise going back to the normal routine session – it`d just drive me mad.
“In Jamaica people have said that the music will come out sounding a bit dirtier and looser, and quite honestly I`m trying to work towards that now: I`m not unproud of my records but I`m trying to get a bit more balls into it now, I mean we`re quite a heavy band onstage now and gone are the days where I used to sit down and sing half an hour of unaccompanied numbers.”

Elton supports his theory of environmental music by illustrating his alternative homeland – Los Angeles. “You can always tell an LA record – the Eagles, for instance, sum up LA and they sound better in LA than they do anywhere else. Bread and Loggins and Messina are other pure examples of music that sounds great on your car radio while you`re driving along.
“For example in England, no other country in the world apart from Germany could produce a group like King Crimson who are really strange and weird because I don`t think they are capable of doing that in the States. Those new German bands that are coming along are very German for instance… goose step music, y`know”.
Which bands did Elton feel represented typical indigenous English music? “Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Soft Machine… groups like Yes, you could never get a group like that in the States, or Genesis who are so typically English. But in America there are a lot of good bands who don`t seem to believe in themselves. Loggins and Messina are very nice – that guy sounds like me a bit, he sounds like Jose Feliciano.”
Elton has now found a tempo which enables him to commute between London and LA. “We`ve got down to one tour a year here now. We did a three-week tour at the beginning of the year, almost unannounced, to break Davey and now the band has been given a tremendous boost by Davey joining, because it really was on the verge of stalemate before that. We`ll be doing a big tour of England in March and April I hope, but I think one tour is enough.
“I can never work up any enthusiasm for British tours – it`s something I know I have to do. I never look forward to it after America, although once I`m on it, I`m all right. The terrible thing is there`s nowhere to play – you don`t need a 25,000 seater stadium in every town but you haven`t even got 5,000 seaters over here. I don`t even dig the Rainbow too much because there`s such a lack of atmosphere and you just can`t buy atmosphere.

“If it was in Manchester or Glasgow it would probably be incredible but London`s like San Francisco, everyone`s so sophisticated because they`ve seen everything.”
Elton John is a man who always has plenty of surprises under his belt. At the Royal Variety Show he appeared in outrageous red, white and blue and produced a delightful photograph taken with Liberace, in whom he found moral support and by whom he was gloriously outdazzled.
Simultaneously he was undertaking an American tour throughout which he featured the inimitable Legs Larry Smith. “It really went down a storm; we did it to try and get a little English humour over to America, because they really don`t have our sense of humour at all and even the Monty Python film I don`t think has been too much of a success. We just wanted to get a bit of outrage going and the kids really appreciated doing “Singing In The Rain” – it was just English insanity and a nice break instead of presenting the kids with a normal two-hour rock show.
“It seems that not enough people are going out of the way to give people a show, but it`s very hard to plan things – like the Larry thing was planned on the spur of the moment, it was just a one off thing and we won`t do it again, but the nice thing about it is that as a result Larry will probably be able to get his own band together and go out there, which he wants to do. But he cheered me up no end – we both held hands when we were flying because we were both petrified.”
During the course of 1972 more and more bands have gone in for theatricals although Elton was one of the genuine forerunners of camp rock and general stage antics. “It got to the point before Davey joined where I was getting p—– off with everything – playing the piano and the whole jumping up and down bit but now I realise I`m stuck with it and I really do enjoy it.
“When I first started dressing up, everyone said `What a c–t` but then all of a sudden everyone`s dressing up like crazy. I don`t think I was responsible. I think it just had to come. The syndrome of going on stage with a pair of levis… I mean the singer-songwriter syndrome fell flat on its face in 1972, it finally did its last swan song.

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“The glitter thing got a bit of a drag actually, so I toned down – it really became awful with all these groups lurexing their way onto `Top Of The Pops` – I really couldn`t take that because they do it seriously – they really think they look good, but I`ve always done it with a sense of stupidness like `Here I am, don`t I look a c–t`. But here I am singing `Rocket Man` with a pair of Z-O-O-M glasses on and I`ve always gone out to send myself up”.
So had 1972 been a good year for rock in general? Elton felt that it had. “It began to get rid of the singer-songwriter and also so many good things happened like Roxy Music, Genesis and Rod Stewart came out with an album that was every bit as good as `Every Picture` which is no mean feat.
“Then there was David Bowie, who I think is amazing, and Roxy Music, which is a perfect example of what we were talking about earlier. In America you had Loggins and Messina, and there you had a 1972 version of Crosby, Stills and Nash; there was the John McLaughlin album which was amazing, but I don`t think there was anything that came out of America in the form of a major force, apart from black music; it became a power again. Black people are beginning to do their own thing and it`s not just five men in a row in satin suits again.
“Glitter rock was a bit predictable and rock and roll came back for its annual visit and that p—-d me off.
Aside from his many TV screen appearances Elton is also featured in Marc Bolan`s film “Born To Boogie”. It was something in which he enjoyed partaking, although he was fairly critical of the way the screen had been used generally to exploit rock music. “I was only in it for a minute – Ringo and Marc just said come down for an afternoon… but I enjoyed it.
“But I do feel television is more interesting for rock music because by the time a film comes out it`s a year and a half old.

HIDEOUS

“If you saw `Woodstock` now you`d think what a dated film it was, and I think films are more or less a record of what actually happened – I mean the Monterey Film is so embarrassing, it`s hideous. `Born To Boogie` is just a film about Marc Bolan, it isn`t anything else.
“But television is much more interesting and if you had a live show I am convinced that people would watch it if you had it on at 6 or 7 o`clock like `Ready Steady Go` – it would be amazing. `The Old Grey Whistle Test` is OK but it`s on at a ridiculous time and it`s a bit like the BBC 2`s progressive rock show. `Top Of The Pops` is one of the most boring things in the world, sitting around in that studio all day, but I do it because I want my record to sell. I hate the programme but what else is there… I could do so many shows like the `Cilla Black Show` but I turn them down. I still get offers to do `Basil Brush` and `The Val Doonican Show`.

APPEAL

“I think we appeal to all sorts of different people – it`s the same sort of audience that the Moody Blues appeal to which I don`t particularly did because… I`d like to go out there in front of a Greatful Dead audience but that sort of audience have got a prejudice built up against you before you start. I`m sure I could go out on stage and out-rock anybody in the world because when I`ve been second on the bill to anyone I`ve thought `Right you bastards`… I don`t really mean it but you have to go on with that attitude.

DERIVATIVE

“I mean I`ve just got stuck with that string image and being a bit of a plastic person because I write derivative songs… but everyone writes derivative songs. John Prine sounds like Bob Dylan and I`m a John Prine fan. I really love his album but there`s no way he`s a superstar.”
Elton is finding progressively that there aren`t sufficient hours in the day to accomplish all the things he would like. And the fact that he has now formed his own record company – Rocket Records – threatens to occupy a further chunk of his time in 1973.
“It was formed largely because I wanted to get away from the syndrome of the big record company – for example Warner Bros. Columbia and EMI release X amount of records a week and if you`re a newcomer you`re a dead duck.”

POTENTIAL

“What I really want to find is younger musicians – get a 16-year-old band, they needn`t be that good but at least if they`ve got potential… everybody around has been around for years and you just need a bit of fresh air. There must be young bands somewhere but unfortunately the semi-professional scene in this country has gone down the drain and that`s where all the talents came from originally.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. 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!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Fairport Convention, Ronnie Wood, Jon Hiseman, Pentangle, Claire Hamill, Ray Davies, Al Kooper, Procol Harum, Hemlock, Graham Bell, Uriah Heep, Brinsley Schwarz, Martyn Wyndham-Read, John Peel.

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.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John FROM SOUNDS, November 27, 1971

A great little interview with Elton where he mentions several of the great artists of the time. He also have some interesting remarks concerning the concert scene.
Enjoy.

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Elton – a madman slowing down…

Interview by Penny Valentine

It`s been a funny old year for Elton John. I mean from the things you read you might be led to believe that Britain`s number one feted superstar of 1970 came a right cropper in `71. All those put downs, all that cynical reaction, all that knocking because he fancies walking out on stage in a teddy bear bow tie and white boots, kicking his piano stool away a la Little Richard.
Not on at all. British musicians should take their job seriously we all know that. People who actually look as though they`re enjoying themselves on stage always end up having a hard time. You`ve only got to look at Elton to realise why Bolan and Stewart weren`t going to be allowed to get away with it for too long. We build `em up and knock `em down in this country. Strange really. Remember Joe Cocker?
Of course Elton John has just returned from a complete sell out US tour, of course he did fill the Greek Theatre in LA every night for a week. Of course this time last year he did have four albums in the US charts at the same time (which nobody deigned to mention much) and he is one of those rare British artists who can pull in 10,000 people a night minimum in the States – can 10,000 people a night be wrong?
The parallels between Elton, Bolan and Stewart are obvious. Although they all appeared to leap out of thin air on to the rock circuit the fact was that conversely they`d all bashed away for years trying to break ground. Because, then, they were all successful they`ve all been shredded into neat pieces by critics who somehow object to large scale success. The nature of their climb had given them only a good back-up to take all the rubbish thrown their way.
Unlike both Bolan and Stewart though Elton is basically much easier to get at. He`s a susceptible man, easily hurt, vulnerable, nervous even in the friendliest company. That he`s sometimes in danger of sounding a bit bitter about all the knocking is something that nobody in their right minds could blame him for. Wasn`t he, after all, lauded and feted on one hand – the Great White Hope and all – and then smashed down with the other?

KNOCKS

On Wednesday he`s been back from the States for two weeks in which time he`s moved house, sorted out new recording plans, planned to add a new guitarist to his line-up and got ready for his British tour which opens this week and is a sell out. (In fact, Croydon`s Fairfield Hall said they could have sold out all over again.)
He`s lost a lot of weight and he`s toned down in his Yves St. Laurent shirt and trousers.
Elton John could, financially, give up his live work tomorrow and get out of the rock business for good – but it`s doubtful that he will just yet: “I still enjoy it and I`m certainly not going to pack up because I get knocked. I wouldn`t bow down to criticism in that respect”.

ACCLAIM

“Madman Across The Water” – his latest album – has surprisingly in a time when it really hasn`t been hip to praise him, had very good critical acclaim. It may well be the last orchestrated album he does. Paul Buckmaster wants to get into his own work and Elton himself feels he`d like to get back to pure rhythm section. After the tour he`s off to the South of France to record at the Stones` studio.
“I was amazed you know when `Elton John` came out that we didn`t get more haggled at for having an orchestra on it after `Empty Skies`. And although `Tumbelweed` did get more attacked on that score in fact there were only a couple of tracks – like `Burn Down The Mission` – where the orchestra came up on a large scale. Gus (Gus Dugeon) and I have already talked about the next album and we want to get back to basic sound. I mean I`d love to do a Rod Stewart or Neil Young type of album – it`s time for a change.
“Adding the new guitarist next year will give us more scope I think. We`ve proved better than anyone that piano, bass and drums can make it in a loud rock act, but there`s hardly any room for solos at the moment. I have to provide rhythm and solos on piano which is a bit of a drag and I think someone fresh in the group will take a bit of responsibility off me and give us a new lease of life.”
Future plans also include cutting out a great deal of the leaping about and extrovert stage act which Elton thinks has turned a bit sour on him over the past couple of months. I ask him if this is due to the criticism he`s had which has markedly pointed out its distaste with such paraphernalia…

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BITCHY

“No. I just like getting credit for what we`ve done and nobody seems to be doing it. We have been very successful in the States and I want people to own up because they tend to ignore it here. That kind of thing does upset me. I got very upset for the first couple of weeks and then the criticism reached a very bitchy level. I don`t mind album criticism which can often be helpful, but when they started saying things like Lesley Duncan`s album was okay even though I was on it – well that`s being bloody evil for the sake of it.
“The sad thing is that I`ve gone out of my way to be nice to everyone and I end up getting kicked in the teeth for it. Everything gets so out of hand in Britain. I mean all the dressing up started as a joke, something for a laugh, a spontaneous thing, and people have taken it seriously. They must be joking mustn`t they? The only thing about stopping the leaping about is that I think it stopped being spontaneous. I mean everyone knows now that at a certain point in the evening I`ll kick the stool away and go into frenzied antics. It`s wearing a bit thin – it is for me anyway.”
Whatever the decisions, the criticisms, whatever the future 12 months holds one thing`s certain – and that`s that the British rock scene should hold on hard to artists like Elton John. He is one of the very few musicians we possess that have brought the audiences back into the theatres and the main reason he`s done it isn`t simply by the music alone, good though it is, but because he brought with him some colour and excitement so sadly lacking in British music.
“The rock scene is stagnating in Britain. Since I`ve been back the only three new albums I`ve liked have been from America, Lindisfarne and Yes. There`s so much rubbish around. Music has become too technical and precise – I think I`ve been to blame too as far as records are concerned. It`s lost all that lovely rawness. T. Rex and Rod Stewart`s albums are the best rock albums I`ve heard all year – just raw raucous rock and roll. I think one becomes too polished and the awful thing is that there are no bloody young musicians bringing that energy back into music. Free were about the only new young band that were doing it and they went and split up.

PROSPECTS

“Why aren`t there any new musicians? Well for one thing it`s a bit of a closed shop – more a case of who you know. And I think it`s hard for a new band to get off the ground here. They have to flog themselves to death for two years before they have a chance and the prospect un-nerves kids that might come in. Anyway most of them are into football now – the kind of age group that were playing guitar when the Beatles started now go to football matches.
“Now it`s just a job and everyone`s saying `Oh how much advance are we getting on the album`. There`s no magic left. I mean James Taylor`s the biggest name in the world but he`s not really exciting, he`s a bit of a wet fish really to see live. I`m sure this is a reason festivals are dying – who do you put on to draw real crowds? The last two festivals I went to were Dylan at the Isle of Wight and the Stones in Hyde Park. They hit directly they came on stage. But the big artists that have come up in the last couple of years just don`t have that same identification. Fairport are very entertaining and I like watching them, so are the Faces and T. Rex. That`s about it. Marc Bolan is really our only hope if he can keep it up and forget about the knocks – and how long`s it taken Rod Stewart for god`s sake?
“These people are the new sex idols if you like, and it`s just as well they`re around. Well I`m not, that`s for sure. I don`t know where I belong”. He smiled suddenly for the first time in the conversation: “People seem either to love me or hate me but then I`m not so sure I`m not happy about that really.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. 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!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Redbone, Frank Zappa, Redwing, Carl Palmer, B.B. King, Bill Williams, Alice Stuart, Fanny, Robbie Robertson, Lesley Duncan, Dave Burland.

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.

ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John FROM SOUNDS, September 18, 1971

A man capable of composing a song like “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” will always be of interest to this blog, so it is with great pleasure that I give you this early concert review to read.

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ELTON – thrills his audience

By Chuck Pulin

A lady hurricane named Doria which dumped over six inches of rain in the New York area couldn`t dampen the fervour of Reg Dwight or the 8,000 members of the audience who turned out to rave at and over Elton John.
Asbury Park is about a two hour drive south of New York in the state of New Jersey. I would be correct in saying that Brighton and Asbury Park resemble each other. It was there in the neo gothic convention hall built in the 1920s that Elton gave the third concert of his latest American tour.
Having seen Elton at least a half a dozen times in the last few years, I had wondered if I would be bored by his stage performance. Would it lack lustre having gigged so many times in the last year?
I am able to report that Elton has not become dull and his performance on stage is one of the most exciting I`ve seen in recent months. With his mates Dee Murry on bass and Nigel Olsson on his ever expanding drum kit, Elton proceeded to thrill his audience, and got them cheering over and over again.

Dee and Nigel were introduced and finally Elton came out, this time wearing a purple cape, which he doffed revealing his electric green tee shirt and his “Woolworth Bermuda shorts” with high striped socks. Then started with “Friends”, moving into “Ballad Of A Well-Known Gun”, which was followed by “The King Must Die”.
He then asked the musical question “Can I Put You On” and sang a “Song For You”. Other songs were “Country Comfort”, “Honky Tonk Woman” and “Tiny Dancer” from his new LP due out in the first week of November.
“Take Me To The Pilot” was a prelude to a rave up version of “Give Peace A Chance” and in the middle Elton went into a ten minute free form piano riff, which stunned the crowd.
By this time I retreated from the audience to the safety of the stage and watched as Elton danced on the piano with his back to the audience.
Viewing Elton up close in concert is a must. He`s warm and humorous and works hard to please his audience. I am left with the vivid impression that Elton unlike many other musicians LOVES working before his audiences, and tries his damnedest to please the people who come to see him.

It`s hard to put in proper terms the physical excitement he creates and the huge amounts of energy he draws upon. Elton in my humble opinion joins Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Leon Russell in that same style of showmanship.
The two sets I saw at the Convention Hall, on August 28 in Asbury Park, topped the sets I`ve seen Elton do at The Fillmore or Carnegie Hall. I can`t ignore Dee and Nigel who have also improved along with Elton. Nigel`s drum kit has grown – but so has his range. The bass lines that Dee quietly plays make him the third important member of the trio.
If it seems that I`m biased about Elton, Dee and Nigel, you`re more than half correct. I would be delighted to be super critical of any band that does not earn your respect or your money. However, you`re safe with Messrs. John-Olsson and Murry. I`m just unhappy that I`ll have to wait perhaps six months to a year to see them perform here in the States again!

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. 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!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: John Lennon, Humble Pie, Soft Machine, Albert Lee, Bob Dylan, Mountain, Titanic, Jim Gordon, John Coltrane, Brian Auger, Rankin File, Archie Fisher.

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.

ARTICLE ABOUT Nigel Olsson (Elton John) FROM SOUNDS, August 7, 1971

He had just limited success with his solo career, but through playing thousands of live shows and recording with Elton John, he is indeed a household name. With the name Olsson I guess he`s got swedish ancestors, and the name of his daughter, Annette, sort of confirms this theory of mine.
Not the most imaginative guy, naming his first four solo albums: Nigel Olsson’s Drum Orchestra and Chorus, Nigel Olsson, Nigel Olsson (second self-titled) and Nigel. Oh, well….
Still going strong in his 68th year – may he continue to keep the rhythm for Elton John for many years to come.

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Nigel Olsson`s Utopia

By Dick Meadows

“I don`t always want to be known as Elton John`s drummer and nothing else. I owe that man so much, but it would be nice if I could make it on my own with my own ideas and my own things.”
The speaker was Nigel Olsson, whose drumming with Elton has earned him in turn applause, respect and now not a little adulation. He is also a man with a pretty powerful vision of what he wants from the business in the future.
At the moment that means making a success of his first solo album “Nigel Olsson`s Drum Orchestra And Chorus” which has just been released. The album is really Olsson and Friends for among those who worked on it were Mick Grabham, Caleb Quaye, Dee Murray and Kathi McDonald.

URGENCY

Clutching a cup of tea, Olsson talked in Dick James` office where the album was recorded about the kind of music he wants to play. “I think people may have been a little surprised at the album. It`s not really heavy is it? I`m just not into heavy music. I just want to lay down the kind of stuff that I really enjoy.”
When Olsson talks you detect a sense of urgency in his voice. It`s as if he fears that if he stops talking and planning and working like a madman his success so far and his vision of the future may desert him with all the speed of a quick roll round the kit.
You can hardly blame him. He knows all about the instant rise-and-fall world of pop from bitter first-hand experience. For Olsson has been up, very down and now he is up again. But this time he reckons there is going to be no going down again.

VERY SHY

Olsson turned to drumming after making a botch of the guitar. “I was playing guitar and singing for a group in Sunderland. That was when the Beatles came in and I gave up guitar because I couldn`t get the chord sequences right! I was really shy then and didn`t like being out front singing. So I ended up at the back with the drums.
“When I joined Plastic Penny together with Mick (Grabham) it was a huge change for me. I jumped from being nothing to being something. At the time I was working in a garage fitting exhaust systems. So I went straight from underneath lorries with oil dripping in my face to the top of the business.

FOOLISH

“I was very foolish with my money then. I spent it like water and just didn`t care.”
But he began to care all right when Plastic Penny couldn`t keep up with the Great Hit Parade Carnival. They went down and down and Nigel went with them. It was a bad scene and when the group split it got worse. A star one minute. A nobody the next.
A tour of the States with Spencer Davis and some gigs with Uriah Heep brought in some bread but it was still nowhere land for Nigel Olsson. However at that time a guy called Elton John was beginning to make a big impact.
“Dee Murray and I joined him for a gig at the Roundhouse. We rehearsed together beforehand and it was incredible. Everything went so exactly right for us. We got right into it from the beginning.”
The rest is pop history. Elton took the band on tour to the States and was a fantastic success. Now he is in that strange aristocracy of the business which writers have labelled “The Superstars”.
Does Elton deserve to be a superstar?
“I don`t really like that description. It can mean a lot of things. But if anyone is a superstar then Elton is. He worked so incredibly hard for the band in the States. He never seemed to stop working. That man`s a lunatic but an incredible, marvellous lunatic.
“Things haven`t changed for us. It is like it has always been. We are all friends together and it is like a big family. There have never been any arguments. I guess that`s because we all know exactly where it`s at when we are together.”

FREAK

Later this month Olsson goes on the road again with Elton, this time around the world. The tour will take in America and then zig-zag about Asia.
Is the band more popular in the States than England?
“I guess it must be, simply because we have done so much work over there. I was absolutely knocked out by some of the receptions we got and some of the nice things said about me.”
And nice things they were too. The New York Times described his drumming as “beyond breathtaking” and Cashbox enthused: “He`s growing into one of rock`s finest drummers.”
Does it worry him that the band is more popular over there than in England?
“Yes, I suppose it does. It is always nice to make it really work in your own country, but there is so much work in the States and of course there`s a lot of bread to be made there.”
For his first solo album, Olsson used material mainly written by himself, Quaye and Grabham. The formula is broadly the same for his second Drum Orchestra album which he has already almost completed. All that remains to be done is to add vocals by Kathi McDonald and Claudia Linnear. It was hoped they could get over here for the cuts but now the plan is that they will do the vocals in the States during Elton`s tour.
The Drum Orchestra production is Nigel`s work and he is very enthusiastic about doing a lot more. He is also keen to put his own band on the road some time in the future. “I would like to have about 14 musicians travelling together. I know it would work and we shall see it through when we have got it together.”
Other plans gaining momentum are a farmhouse in Essex, part of which will be converted into a studio, and his own record company. In January he will also be recording a new album with Elton. The music business and Nigel Olsson certainly aren`t going to be parted for some time yet it seems.
“It is just that I am completely into music. There is nothing else I want to do. I`m utterly freaked out on music – a music freak if you like.
“I have never been so happy. Yet I realise that in this business one day you can be up and the next day everything may be ruined. I know I could never do a 9-5 job again.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. 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!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Stu Cook (Creedence), Stray, Seatrain, Arthur Brown, Cambridge Folk Festival, Don Everly, Herbie Hancock, Rod Demick and Ernie Graham, Fairport Convention, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Dave Cousins, Taj Mahal, Kid Jensen, Ray Fisher.

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.

 

ARTICLE ABOUT Elton John FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 4, 1975

There are a lot of concert and album reviews in the music papers that I seldom give any attention. This time I will make an exception, because this concert review mentions the song “Grimsby” that Elton John made. It so happens that Grimsby Town is my favourite football club in the English league. They have been struggling for some years now, but have fantastic support among their fans. Recently they started a Crowdfunding campaign to collect money for wages in the hope that they will be able to earn promotion from the 5th tier of the English Football League next season.
I have donated some money to this campaign and if you like this blog I hope you will help out too – here`s where you can read a little bit more and contribute: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/GTFC

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Elton John / Hammersmith

By Neil Spencer

Curses upon the Marylebone Road and all the traffic that prevented me catching the Elton John Christmas Special in its magnificent tinselled entirety.
Gigs as good as this one are rare enough, without spending the first twenty minutes stuck inside a mobile with the King`s Cross blues again.
Thus it passed that at least one reporter is unable to pass judgement on the opening numbers of what was the first EJ gig these shores had witnessed in no small age, and one of but a handful that the man had put together to celebrate his return to Britain, the festive season, and the third division.
No reservations about the rest of the three hours which John played though – sheer brilliance from him and the band; there must be very few acts capable of brewing up the sort of atmosphere that washed round the Hammersmith Odeon by the end of the night. Even at Christmas.

Hell, you saw it for yourself on the Christmas Eve Colour Stereo spectacular on telly on Christmas Eve, didn`t you?
You didn`t? Shame.
Previously I had been more than a mite sceptical about the continuing esteem in which the Elt was held, Charlie Murray`s superlatives notwithstanding, and was unwilling to grant anything more than lightweight status to the fellow and his ridiculous eyesight.
But, live at least, Elton John adds up to a lot more than a good voice and a bunch of trendy lyric sheets.
The guy has charm, he has style, he can sing and play with ferocity as well as delicacy, and goddammit, he can rock and roll.

He opened – or so I was reliably informed – with a clutch of solo numbers from the early albums; things like “Skyline Pigeon” and “I need You To Turn To” that the usual Elton gig allows no time for.
E`en so, it was not long before the band appeared for “Country Comfort,” “Highflying Bird” and a roaring frantic “Burn Down The Mission” which closed the first half.
Billows of dry-iced mist billowed forth as the curtain rose for “Funeral For A Friend” with the svelt Elt perched on his piano stool looking like he`s just fallen off the top of the Christmas tree in his little tin soldier glitter outfit, which struck a strange contrast with the dark yawning eeriness that came from the PA system and the raucous tones of Elton as he sang “Love Lies Bleeding,” with the band cooking behind him.
Then came the hits, one after another, so that you started wondering how many chart entries that guy must have to his name that you should know so many of his works without even trying.

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“Candle In The Wind”; a short break for “Grimsby” off the “Caribou” album; then “Rocket Man” with more punch and directness than ever came across from the radio, and a superlative “Benny And The Jets,” which is presumably Elt`s idea of a soul number (it made the US R&B charts) and sung in his best mock Donnie Elbert falsetto.
The audience lapped it up. Out came a relaxed nicely paced “Daniel,” a beautifully played “Grey Seal” (a number which certainly deserves wider recognition than some of the man`s more effete pieces), and a wistful “Yellow Brick Road,” likewise handled with loving precision and taste by the band.
Ah yes, the band; Dee Murray`s loping bass lines, Davey Johnstone`s restrained and always appropriate axe work; Nigel Olsson`s subtly understated drumming; and finally a special word for percussionist Ray Cooper, who is the only man (other than Roger Chapman) who can make playing a tambourine look like a definitive musical statement. And who can also blow a pretty mean duck call.

The introduction of the Muscle Shoals Horns put the final seal of mastery on the proceedings, and even though they did manage to blow a few bum notes during the rest of the show, their contribution certainly helped lift “Lucy In The Sky” and a frighteningly energetic “Saw Her Standing There” into another class altogether.
After which we had “Don`t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” “Honky Cat” and a “Saturday Night`s Alright For Fighting” which went on forever and which would have had just about everyone jiving in the aisles if the bouncers (I mean, Security), chaps hadn`t taken their job quite so seriously.
After which what could possibly follow in the encore but “Crocodile Rock,” “Your Song” and “White Christmas” itself, complete with a few hundred balloons and a couple of hundredweight of polystyrene snow just for good measure.
Nice one Elt. You may never get promotion to the second but you sure know how to put on a neat show. The Pope should never have tried to follow an act like that.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Rod Stewart, Mike Heron, John Entwistle, Donovan, Ginger Baker, The Doors.

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 around or upwards of 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.