Elton John Part Two
I been trying to finish this blog for quite a few years. I kept pushing it off since My parents was deciding on a name for my birth certificate. I had it done, except for the title then it hit me (OW, that hurt), why don’t I call it Elton John Part Two, so everyone will think there’s two blogs and this is the second, which it is. I hope you read this one, so you can find the first one, before I upload the third one, (or is it “before I upload the third “three”).
Bar Pianist To Staff songwriter (1962— 1969)
At age 15, with his mom‘s and stepfather‘s assistance, John was hired as a pianist at a neighboring bar, the Northwood Hills Hotel, playing Thursday to Sunday nights. Recognized simply as “Reggie“, he played a variety of popular standards, including songs by Jim Reeves as well as Ray Charles, along with his own songs. A job with a short-lived band called the Corvettes rounded out his time. Although normal-sighted as a teenager, John started wearing horn-rimmed glasses to imitate Buddy Holly.
In 1962, John and also some friends created a band called Bluesology. By day, he ran duties for a music publishing company; he divided his nights in between solo gigs at a London hotel bar and collaborating with Bluesology. By the mid-1960s, Bluesology was backing touring American soul as well as R&B musicians like the Isley Brothers, Major Lance and Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. In 1966, the band became Long John Baldry‘s supporting band as well as played 16 times at the Marquee Club.
The 1910 piano on which Elton John composed his first five albums, including his very first hit single, “Your Song“
In 1967, John responded to an ad in the British magazine New Musical Express, positioned by Ray Williams, then the A&R manager for Liberty Records. At their initial meeting, Williams offered John an unopened envelope of lyrics written by Bernie Taupin, that had responded to the very same ad. John composed music for the lyrics and afterwards sent it to Taupin, starting a partnership that still continues today. When the two initially met in 1967, they recorded the first Elton John/Bernie Taupin song, “Scarecrow“. Six months later, John started going by the name Elton John in tribute to two members of Bluesology:saxophonist Elton Dean and singer Long John Baldry. He legally changed his name to Elton Hercules John on 7 January 1972.
The team of John and Taupin joined Dick James‘s DJM Records as staff songwriters in 1968, as well as over the next two years wrote and composed material for various musicians, among them Roger Cook and also Lulu. Taupin would write a batch of lyrics in under an hour and give it to John, that would compose music for them in half an hour, getting rid of the lyrics if he couldn’t think of anything promptly. For two years they writing and composing easy-listening songs for James to peddle to singers. Their early output included a contender for the UK entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 1969, for Lulu, called “I Can’t Go On (Living Without You)“. It came sixth of six songs. In 1969, John provided piano for Roger Hodgson on his first released single, “Mr. Boyd“ by Argosy, a quartet that was completed by Caleb Quaye and also Nigel Olsson.
Debut Album to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1969— 1973)
Elton John on stage in 1971
On the recommendations of music publisher Steve Brown, John and Taupin started writing and composing more complex songs for John to record for DJM. The first was the single “I‘ve Been Loving You“ (1968), produced by Caleb Quaye, Bluesology‘s former guitarist. In 1969, with Quaye, drummer Roger Pope, as well as bassist Tony Murray, John recorded an additional single, “Lady Samantha“, and also an album, Empty Sky. For their follow-up album, Elton John, John and Taupin got Gus Dudgeon as producer as well as Paul Buckmaster as musical arranger. Elton John was released in April 1970 on DJM Records/Pye Records in the UK and Uni Records in the US, and also established the formula for subsequent albums: gospel-chorded rockers and poignant ballads. The album‘s first single, “Border Song“, peaked at 92 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second, “Your Song“, reached number seven in the UK Singles Chart as well as number eight in the US, becoming John‘s first hit single as a singer. The album soon became his first hit album, reaching number four on the US Billboard 200 and also number five on the UK Albums Chart.
Backed by former Spencer Davis Group drummer Nigel Olsson and bassist Dee Murray, John‘s first American concert occurred at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on 25 August 1970, as well as was a success. The concept album Tumbleweed Connection was released in October 1970 and also reached number two in the UK and number five in the US. The live album 17-11-70 (entitled 11— 17— 70 in the US)was recorded at a live show broadcast from A&R Studios on WABC-FM in New York City. Sales of the live album took a blow in the US when an east-coast bootlegger released the performance several weeks before the official album, including all 60 minutes of the air cast, not simply the 40 minutes chosen by Dick James Music.
Elton John at the Musikhalle Hamburg, in March 1972
John and Taupin then wrote and composed the soundtrack to the 1971 film Friends and afterwards the album Madman Across the Water, which reached number eight in the US as well as consisted of the hit songs “Levon“ and also the album‘s opening track, “Tiny Dancer“. In 1972, Davey Johnstone joined the Elton John Band on guitar and backing vocals. Released in 1972, Honky Château became John‘s first US number one album, spending five weeks on top of the Billboard 200, and started a streak of seven consecutive US number-one albums. The album reached number two in the UK, as well as generated the hit singles “RocketMan“ and also “Honky Cat“.
The pop album Don’t Shoot Me I‘m Only the Piano Player came out at the beginning of 1973 as well as reached number one in the UK, the US and also Australia, among other countries. The album produced the hits “Crocodile Rock“, his first US Billboard Hot 100 number one, and “Daniel“, which reached number two in the US and number four in the UK. The album as well as “Crocodile Rock“ were respectively the first album and also single on the consolidated MCA Records label in the US, replacing MCA‘s other labels, including Uni.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, released in October 1973, gained immediate critical praise and topped the chart on both sides of the Atlantic, continuing to be at number one for two months. It also momentarily established John as a glam rock star. It included the US number one “Bennie and the Jets“, along with the hits “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road“, “Candle in the Wind“, “Saturday Night‘s Alright for Fighting“ as well as “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding“. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is included in the VH1 Classic Albums series, in which the making, recording, and also popularity of the album are discussed, with concert and home video footage, including interviews.