Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Elton John 11: Greatest Hits

By now Elton John was undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in the business, so a best-of wasn’t exactly unexpected, given his rate of appearance in the record racks. Greatest Hits was also a fairly accurate title as far as the charts were concerned, and while there weren’t any rarities, the packaging had custom labels, pretty pictures, and detailed information on who played what, where, and when, for those of us who get excited about such things.
It’s not comprehensive—ten tracks come from five albums, including three from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” from only six months before. But it’s solid, running the gamut from pretty (“Your Song”, “Daniel”) to rocking (“Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”, “Bennie And The Jets”) to silly (“Honky Cat”, “Crocodile Rock”). The one head-scratcher is “Border Song”, which wasn’t really a hit, but it’s a good tune, so we’ll take it. To these ears it evokes both Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across The Water, neither of which are represented here, but both albums are so good fans should have had them anyway. (Fun fact: outside the U.S. and Canada, “Bennie In The Jets” was replaced by “Candle In The Wind”; both appear on the CD today.)
Greatest Hits soon became one of those ‘70s albums everybody had, alongside Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and the Eagles’ own hits album, easily and often obtainable from those 12-records-or-tapes-for-a-penny outfits. In the decades since, other collections have added essentials from the same era, so this particular set may seem a little brief today. Yet, the arc of his career was still rising.

Elton John Greatest Hits (1974)—4
1992 CD reissue: same as 1974, plus 1 extra track

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