Saturday, February 24, 2007

221. Elton John - Madman Across The Water (1971)

Track Listing

1. Tiny Dancer
2. Levon
3. Razor Face
4. Madman Across The Water
5. Indian Sunset
6. Holiday Inn
7. Rotten Peaches
8. All The Nasties
9. Goodbye


Elton John, aka Reginald Dwight seemed consigned to bargain bins and the world of the incredibly crap until a few years ago when Almost Famous came out. In a particular scene of that film, in a bit of inspired soundtracking Tiny Dancer comes on... and you think... "That's a great tune!" Then, at least a part of John's output became cool again.

I already knew this album pretty well, as I searched this out after watching Almost Famous and then I rediscovered some of the older Elton John, like another album sadly not on the list: Honky Tonk Chateau. And it is a pretty good album. Elton is at his most orchestral here and it is a bit over the top, but it is mostly effective in giving the tracks an extra oomph, an extra emotional effect.

In the end this album is one which makes you rethink Elton John, make you stop thinking of Nikita and of some of the great tracks here. It deserves its place on the list most defintely it is a beautiful album, even if at time over the top. Taupin's lyrics are often risible, but the delivery is so expertly done that you soon forget about it. Get it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Tiny Dancer
2. Madman Across The Water
3. Indian Sunset
4. All The Nasties

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

"Tiny Dancer" features a well-remembered piano-based melody during verses, typically inscrutable Taupin lyrics during the chorus, and an arrangement that at the start features pedal steel guitar and light percussion but, transitioning subtly halfway through one of the choruses, by the end is driven by Paul Buckmaster's dynamic strings, along with a barely heard backing choir. Clocking at 6:13, it was one of the longer radio singles of that period.

The song was written about Maxine Feibelmann, a dancer on Elton John's tour who later married Taupin. (Later, the song from the Elton John album Blue Moves called "Between Seventeen and Twenty" referred to the divorce of Bernie and Maxine Taupin and the fact that so much had changed from when they first met when he was aged twenty and she was aged seventeen.)

A non-starter as a single at the time (reaching only No. 41 in the U.S. pop chart and not charting at all in the UK), "Tiny Dancer" did not fade away, but instead slowly became one of Elton John's most popular songs. A fixture on adult contemporary radio stations, but played by rock stations as well, the song simply grew in popularity.

It was ranked #387 on the 2004 List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Almost Famous:

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