Monday, November 27, 2017

November 27, 1896: Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra premiered

Last updated August 31, 2018.

Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zoroaster), tone poem for orchestra, Op. 30 (TrV 176)

Richard Strauss (composer)


Composed: 1896


First Performance: November 27, 1896


Sales: --


Peak: --

Quotable: --


Genre: classical > orchestra


Parts/Movements:

  1. Einleitung (Introduction)
  2. Von den Hinterweltlern (Of the Backworldsmen)
  3. Von der großen Sehnsucht (Of the Great Longing)
  4. Von den Freuden und Leidenschaften (Of Joys and Passions)
  5. Das Grablied (The Song of the Grave)
  6. Von der Wissenschaft (Of Science and Learning)
  7. Der Genesende (The Convalescent)
  8. Das Tanzlied (The Dance-Song)
  9. Nachtwandlerlied (Song of the Night Wanderer)

Average Duration: 33:30

Review:

Strauss, like many of his contemporaries, was enthralled with Richard Wagner. Many of his works exhibit “an intent on Strauss’ part to re-create the spirit of the older composer’s works.” AMG However, in adapting Friedrich Nietzsche’s tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra to music, “Strauss’ music soon took on a distinct identity.” AMG A former Wagner devotee, Nietzsche had become his most vocal critic. By aligning with Nietzsche, “Strauss forever removed himself from the camp of ‘true’ Wagnerians.” AMG

“Like most of Strauss’ tone poems, Also sprach Zarathustra employs massive instrumental forces; however, it provides a contrast to Strauss’ more strongly narrative works in its deployment of the orchestra in a more subtle and deft manner. The relative concision of its musical material suggests the composer’s attempt to mirror the nature and character of his literary source.” AMG He completed it “in the summer of 1896 and premiered in November of the same year…Iit was among the works that forever solidified the composer’s reputation and distilled the essence of his singular orchestral language.” AMG

Opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey

The first of nine sections kicks off with an introduction which has been immortalized in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Three distinctive episodes follow, each exploring an element of Nietzsche’s text, “from Von den Hinterweltlern (From the Back-world People) to an expression of intense yearning (Von der großen Sehnsucht) and a portrayal of joy and passion (Von den Freuden und Leidenschaften). At the center of the work is Das Grablied (Song of the Grave), which sets the stage for the clever and ironic Von der Wissenschaft, in which a truncated fugue gently pokes fun at science by – perhaps prophetically – including all twelve chromatic pitches in its subject. Der Genesende (The Convalescent) slowly regains its strength, bursting forth into the energetic Das Tanzlied (Dance-Song), led by a solo fiddle.” AMG

“The final section, Nachtwandlerlied (Song of the Night Wanderer), makes subtle use of tonal and thematic cues (most notably, a return to the tonality of the opening section) to suggest that the journey of the unnamed Night Wanderer is cyclic – eternally returning to its beginning.” AMG


Review Source(s):


Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):


50 years ago: The Beatles released Magical Mystery Tour

First posted 3/24/2008; updated 11/24/2020.

Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles


Released: November 27, 1967


Peak: 18 US, 31 UK, -- CN, 48 AU


Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, -- UK, 10.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic psychedelic rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts. You can check out the Beatles’ complete singles discography here.

  1. Magical Mystery Tour [2:51] (12/13/67, 2 UK - EP)
  2. The Fool on the Hill [3:00] (12/13/67, 2 UK - EP)
  3. Flying (Harrison/Lennon/
    McCartney/Starr)
    [2:16] (12/13/67, 2 UK - EP)
  4. Blue Jay Way (Harrison) [3:56] (12/13/67, 2 UK - EP)
  5. Your Mother Should Know [2:29] (12/13/67, 2 UK - EP)
  6. I Am the Walrus [4:37] (11/29/67, B-side of “Hello, Goodbye,” 56 US, 2 UK - EP))
  7. Hello, Goodbye [3:31] (11/29/67, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, gold single)
  8. Strawberry Fields Forever [4:10] (2/23/67, B-side of “Penny Lane,” 8 US, 1 CN, 2 UK)
  9. Penny Lane [3:03] (2/23/67, 1 US, 2 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, gold single)
  10. Baby You’re a Rich Man [3:03] (7/12/67, B-side of “All You Need Is Love,” gold single)
  11. All You Need Is Love [3:48] (7/12/67, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, gold single)

Songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 36:35


The Players:

  • John Lennon (vocals, guitar)
  • Paul McCartney (vocals, bass)
  • George Harrison (guitar, vocals)
  • Ringo Starr (drums, vocals)

Rating:

4.389 out of 5.00 (average of 27 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

In the U.K., a double EP (the first six songs on this collection) was released as the soundtrack for the Beatles’ “ill-fated British television special” AMG Magical Mystery Tour. Paul McCartney envisioned a film that combined LSD proponent Ken Kesey’s “idea of a psychedelic bus ride with McCartney’s memories of Liverpudlians holidaying on coach tours.” WK The EP reached #2 in Britain, peaking behind the Beatles’ “Hello Goodbye.”

The new recordings were in the same vein as the studio experimentation and psychedelic sound of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released that same year. However, the sessions for Magical Mystery Tour were characterized as “aimless and undisciplined” sup>WK and George Martin, the band’s producer, distanced himself from the Beatles at the time, considering the recording process “disorganized chaos.” WK

“The psychedelic sound is very much in the vein of Sgt. Pepper [released earlier that year] and even spacier in parts (especially the sound collages of ‘I Am the Walrus’). Unlike Sgt. Pepper, there’s no vague overall conceptual/thematic unity to the material, which has made Magical Mystery Tour suffer slightly in comparison.” AMG

“Magical Mystery Tour”

The title song for the soundtrack was used in a similar fashion as the title cut had been for Sgt. Pepper’s: “to welcome the audience to the event.” WK

“The Fool on the Hill”

McCartney wrote the melody for piano ballad The Fool on the Hill during the sessions for Sgt. Pepper’s, but didn’t finish the lyrics until September. The song has been interpreted as being about a solitary figure left adrift from his unwillingness to engage in society. WK

“Flying”

“Flying,” an instrumental, was significant as the first Beatles’ song to be credited to all four members. Originally called “Aerial Tour Instrumental,” it appeared in the film over cloud footage and outtakes from the movie Dr. Strangelove. WK

“Blue Jay Way”

George Harrison’s “Blue Jay Way” was named after a street in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. The song has been described as Harrison’s “farewell to psychedelia” because he sought an alternative to hallucinogenic drugs through Transcendental Meditation.

“Your Mother Should Know”

McCartney’s “Your Mother Should Know” was crafted in a music hall style, similar to what had been done with “When I’m Sixty-Four” from Sgt. Pepper’s.

“I Am the Walrus”

This was John Lennon’s main contribution to the film. The song was inspired by his LSD experiences, the writings of Lewis Carroll, and a nursery rhyme from his school days. A fan wrote Lennon a letter saying his high school English teacher was doing scholarly interpretations of the Beatles’ song lyrics so Lennon deliberately set out to write a song “that would confound analysis from scholars and music journalists.” WK That didn’t stop them from analyzing the song, which has been describe as the “ultimate anti-institutional rant – a damn-you-England tirade that blasts education, art, culture, law, order, class, religion, and even sense itself.” WK

Rounding Out the Album

“I Am the Walrus” was also used as the B-side for Hello, Goodbye, the single released at the same time as Magical Mystery Tour. In America, that song, plus the Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever and All You Need Is Love / Baby, You’re a Rich Man singles were added with the EP to make for a full-length album. These were “huge, glorious, and innovative singles.” AMG

The album charted as an import in the UK in 1976, but wasn’t officially available until the 1987 CD and the full-length American album was put out as the official worldwide release.


Notes: The UK chart info is for the import album.

Resources and Related Links:

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Top Albums by Some of the Top Classic Rock Acts

Here are various classic rock acts and their top albums. Lists are determined by rankings in Dave’s Music Database, which compiles sales data, chart info, and appearances on best-of lists to generate its figures. Click on an act below to go directly to its list.
The Beatles: Top 10


David Bowie: Top 10


Eric Clapton: Top 10

This list was originally posted on the Dave’s Music Database Facebook page on 3/2/2010. It has since been updated.


Led Zeppelin: Top 10


Pink Floyd: Top 10


Lou Reed/Velvet Underground: Top 10


The Rolling Stones: Top 10


Bruce Springsteen: Top 10


The Who: Top 10


Neil Young: Top 10

This list was originally posted on the Dave’s Music Database Facebook page on 2/19/2010. It has since been updated.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Taylor Swift released Reputation

Originally posted March 7, 2019.

Reputation

Taylor Swift


Released: November 10, 2017


Peak: #14 US, #11 UK, #13 CN, #12 AU


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.1 UK, 4.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Ready for It? (9/3/17, 4 US, 26 AC, 10 A40, 7 UK, 7 CN, 3 AU, worldwide sales: 2.5 million)
  2. End Game (with Ed Sheeran & Future, 11/14/17, 18 US, 14 A40, 49 UK, 11 CN, 36 AU)
  3. I Did Something Bad
  4. Don’t Blame Me
  5. Delicate (3/12/18, 12 US, 110 AC, 14 A40, 45 UK, 20 CN, 28 AU, worldwide sales: 1.44 million)
  6. Look What You Made Me Do (8/24/17, 13 US, 19 AC, 7 A40, 12 UK, 13 CN, 12 AU, worldwide sales: 5.6 million)
  7. So It Goes
  8. Gorgeous (11/11/17, 13 US, 15 UK, 9 CN, 9 AU, worldwide sales: 0.77 million)
  9. Getaway Car
  10. King of My Heart
  11. Dancing with Our Hands Tied
  12. Dress
  13. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
  14. Call It What You Want (11/25/17, 27 US)
  15. New Year’s Day (11/27/17, 33 CW)

Review:

For her sixth album, Taylor Swift turned to producers Jack Antonoff, Max Martin, and Shellback – all of whom she’d worked with on 1989 album. While that album completed Swift’s transition to pop stardom, this album is arguably her “first self-consciously ‘adult’ record,” AMG “preoccupied with sex, betrayal, and the scars they leave behind.” AMG Previous albums focused on “the singer/songwriter who grew up in public” AMG as “ a babe in the woods” AMG while this one deals with themes such as “handling fame and media coverage of celebrities.” WK

Sonically, Reputation has been described as “brash, weaponized pop” (Neil McCormick, The Daily Telegraph) WK and “another shift, this time into electronic pop” (Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune). WK Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield said this album “builds on the synth-pop of 1989.” WK Reputation “achieves a steely, nocturnal sound,” AMG “dwelling on drum loops and synthesizers.” AMG

This sound is established from the opening song, Ready for It?, which has been described as and “electronic-inspired…industrial pop song with elements of tropical house, dubstep, and trap music.” WK Swift said the song is “about finding your own partner in crime” WK and that it “introduces a metaphor you may hear more of throughout…this kind of Crime and Punishment metaphor.” WK

Look What You Made Me Do, the lead single, treads similar electro-pop territory, interpolating “I’m Too Sexy” by the British dance-pop group Right Said Fred. The song started as a poem “about realizing that you couldn’t trust certain people, but realizing you appreciate the people you can trust.” WK The song hit #1 in at least 15 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom and amassed more than a billion views on YouTube.

Delicate, another single, was about “what happens when you meet somebody that you really want in your life and then you start worrying about what they’ve heard before they met you.” WK Swift wanted to use the vocoder on the song to create “an emotional and vulnerable sound for the track.” WK

Nearly “every song on Reputation has a cool, gleaming patina that’s designed to put an alluring distance between Swift and the listener.” AMG The exception is “the delicate closer New Year’s Day,” AMG a song which “explores the flip side of the romanticism of a New Year’s Eve kiss.” WK It is about the person who “sticks around the next day to give you Adil and clean up the house.” WK

There is some “awkwardness that’s distracting upon first listen but less so on revisits” AMG and “what’s left is a coming of age album anchored by some strong Swift songs” AMG which “carry Swift’s trademark blend of vulnerability, melody, and confidence.” AMG “They are deeply felt and complex, signs that all of the heavy-handed persona plays of reputation were a necessary exercise for her to mature as a singer/songwriter.” AMG


Review Source(s):


Awards:


Elton John: A Retrospective

First posted 2/1/2011; last updated 10/11/2020.

A Retrospective: 1969-2017

Elton John

A Brief History: Released in 2017, the Diamonds compilation offered a snapshot of Elton John’s career from 1969 to 2017 in two and three-disc versions. This page sums up that collection as well as seven others which, when taken together, offer a detailed retrospective of Elton John’s career.


Compilations: These are the compilations represented on this page:


The Studio Albums: Below is a list of the studio albums covered during this era. Links go to DMDB pages devoted to that album. Albums are listed on this page with the songs represented on any of the featured compilations. Appearing after song titles are the dates songs were released as singles and their peak positions on various noted charts. Click for codes to singles charts.


Empty Sky (1969):

Elton John’s debut album didn’t even chart in the UK, but it hit #6 in the U.S. – albeit it wasn’t until it was released by MCA in 1975, well after he’d become a superstar. The song Skyline Pigeon was released as a single and re-recorded in 1972 and released as a B-side to “Daniel.” The re-recorded version is featured on the Diamonds compilation.

  • Skyline Pigeon (8/68, 36 CL) D


Elton John (1970):

Elton John’s self-titled album was a top-5 hit in the UK and U.S., largely thanks to Your Song, which was Elton’s breakthrough hit and has become one of, if not, the signature song of his career.

  • Border Song (3/70, 92 US, 20 CL, 34 CN) G1, 02***
  • Your Song (11/28/70, 8 US, 9 AC, 1 CL, 7 UK, 3 CN, 11 AU, 2x platinum) G1, VB, 02, RM, D


Tumbleweed Connection (1970):

Elton’s third album was another top-5 hit in the UK and U.S. It was his first platinum album. It featured the single “Country Comfort” and “Burn Down the Mission.” None of the album’s songs are featured on any of the compilations on this page.


Madman Across the Water (1971):

This was another top-10 album in the U.S., but only peaked at #41 in the UK. Tiny Dancer wasn’t a big hit at the time, but has become an Elton John favorite.

  • Levon (11/29/71, 24 US, 4 CL, 6 CN, 94 AU, gold single) G2, 02*
  • Tiny Dancer (2/7/72, 41 US, 35 AC, 1 CL, 19 CN, 13 AU, 3x platinum) G2, 02, RM, D


Honky Château (1972):

This was Elton John’s first of seven consecutive #1 albums in the U.S. It peaked at #2 in the UK. In addition to the album’s two top-10 hits, it also produced the album cut “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.”

  • Rocket Man (4/22/72, 6 US, 39 AC, 1 CL, 3 UK, 8 CN, 13 AU, 3x platinum) G1, VB, 02, RM, D
  • Honky Cat (8/12/72, 8 US, 6 AC, 3 CL, 31 UK, 10 CN, 78 AU) G1, VB, 02, D


Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player (1973):

This was Elton’s first album to top the charts in both the U.S. and the UK. It also produced Crocodile Rock, his first U.S. #1. In addition to the two hit singles, the album produced the popular cut “Elderberry Wine.”

  • Crocodile Rock (11/4/72, 1 US, 11 AC, 1 CL, 5 UK, 1 CN, 2 AU, platinum single) G1, VB, 02, RM, D
  • Daniel (1/20/73, 2 US, 1 AC, 1 CL, 4 UK, 1 CN, 7 AU, platinum single) G1, VB, 02, RM, D


Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973):

The best-selling studio album of Elton’s career is also widely considered his crowning achievement. It was a #1 hit in the U.S. and UK. It gave him his second U.S. #1 song with Bennie and the Jets and Candle in the Wind become one of the biggest hits of all time when Elton performed it with new lyrics in 1997 as a memorial to Princess Diana.

  • Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (7/7/73, 12 US, 2 CL, 7 UK, 12 CN, 31 AU, gold single) G1, VB, 02, RM, D
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (9/29/73, 2 US, 7 AC, 1 CL, 6 UK, 1 CN, 4 AU, 2x platinum) G1, VB, 02, RM, D
  • Bennie and the Jets (2/16/74, 1 US, 15 RB, 1 CL, 37 UK, 1 CN, 5 AU, 2x platinum) G1, VB, 02, RM, D
  • Candle in the Wind (3/2/74, 6 US, 2 AC, 2 CL, 5 UK, 5 CN, 5 AU) G1, VB, 02, RM, D


Caribou (1974):

This was Elton’s third consecutive album to top the charts in both the U.S. and UK. The 1973 Christmas single Step into Christmas was not on the original album, but was featured as a bonus track on the 1995 reissue.

  • Step into Christmas (12/8/73, 20 CL, 8 UK, 44 AU) D
  • Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (6/1/74, 2 US, 3 AC, 1 CL, 16 UK, 1 CN, 13 AU, gold single) G1, 02, RM*
  • The Bitch Is Back (9/7/74, 4 US, 3 CL, 15 UK, 1 CN, 53 AU, gold single) G2, VB, 02, D

Greatest Hits

Elton John


Rating:

4.399 out of 5.00
(average of 17 ratings)


Recorded: 1970-1974


Released: November 4, 1974


Peak: 110 US, 111 UK, 113 CN, 15 AU


Sales (in millions): 16.0 US, 0.3 UK, 27.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic pop rock


Tracks: (1) Your Song (2) Daniel (3) Honky Cat (4) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (5) Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (6) Rocket Man (7) Bennie and the Jets (8) Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (9) Border Song (10) Crocodile Rock


Total Running Time: 44:12

Awards:

About Greatest Hits:

In 1974, there was no bigger music star than Elton John. His Greatest Hits collection came out at the peak of his career and not only topped the charts in the U.S. – a rarity for a compilation – but stayed there for 10 weeks. It captured many of the songs which still remain highlights today from Your Song to Rocket Man to Crocodile Rock to Bennie and the Jets. On the international version of the album, Candle in the Wind replaced “Bennie and the Jets.” The 1992 reissue on CD included both songs.

It did skip over “a couple of lesser hits from this era, most notably ‘Levon’ and ‘Tiny Dancer,’” E1 but added them to Elton’s next greatest hits collection (depending on the version). Both songs are notable omissions from The Very Best of.


Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975):

Elton John made history when this album debuted atop the Billboard album chart, the first ever to do so. It reportedly sold 1.4 million copies within the first four days of release. Someone Saved My Life Tonight was the only single featured from the album.

  • Someone Saved My Life Tonight (6/23/75, 4 US, 36 AC, 1 CL, 22 UK, 2 CN, 54 AU, gold single) G2, VB, 02, D


Rock of the Westies (1975):

This was the last of Elton’s #1 U.S. albums. Like its predecessor, it debuted atop the Billboard album chart. It also gave Elton another #1 song in the U.S. with Island Girl.

  • Island Girl (10/4/75, 1 US, 27 AC, 1 CL, 14 UK, 4 CN, 12 AU, platinum single) G2, 02, RM**, D
  • Grow Some Funk of Your Own (1/24/76, 14 US, 8 CL, 8 CN) G2
  • I Feel Like a Bullet in the Gun of Robert Ford (1/24/76, B-side of “Grow Some Funk of Your Own,” 23 CL) G2


Blue Moves (1976):

It peaked at #3 in both the U.S. and UK and was a platinum-seller in the U.S., but this was the first “slip” in Elton’s poularity considering it was his first studio album since 1971’s Madman Across the Water to not reach #1. Only Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word is featured on any of the compilations on this page, but “Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!)” and “Crazy Water” were also released as singles. The former reached #28 in the U.S. and UK.

  • Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word (11/13/76, 6 US, 1 AC, 2 CL, 11 UK, 3 CN, 19 AU, gold single) G2, 86, VB, 02, RM, D

Greatest Hits Volume II

Elton John


Rating:

4.102 out of 5.00
(average of 11 ratings)


Recorded: 1971-1977


Released: October 8, 1977


Peak: 21 US, 6 UK, 6 CN, 46 AU


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, -- UK, 7.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic pop rock


Tracks: (1) The Bitch Is Back (2) Lucy in the Sky wth Diamonds (3) Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word (4) Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (with Kiki Dee) (5) Someone Saved My Life Tonight (6) Philadelphia Freedom (7) Island Girl (8) Grow Some Funk of Your Own (9) Levon (10) Pinball Wizard


Total Running Time: 48:20

About Greatest Hits Volume II:

While it wasn’t nearly as successful as the first volume, this is as chock-full of hits, including non-album #1 singles Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Philadelphia Freedom, and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. “Also included is John’s version of Pinball Wizard, taken from the soundtrack to Tommy. In short, it’s an excellent continuation of the first collection, and taken together, they function as an ideal singles retrospective of the most successful singles artist of the early ‘70s.” E2

The track listing above is for the North American edition of the album. The original international version replaced Levon with Bennie and the Jets. The 1992 reissue bumped Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” in favor of Tiny Dancer and I Feel Like a Bullet in the Gun of Robert Ford.

  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (11/23/74, 1 US, 1 CL, 10 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU, gold single) G2, VB, 02***, RM**, D
  • Philadelphia Freedom (3/7/75, 1 US, 32 RB, 1 CL, 12 UK, 1 CN, 4 AU, platinum single) G2, VB, 02, RM, D
  • Pinball Wizard (3/20/76, 9 CL, 7 UK, 88 AU) G2, VB, 02***, D
  • Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (with Kiki Dee, 7/3/76, 1 US, 1 AC, 1 CL, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, platinum single) 86, VB, 02, RM**, D


A Single Man (1978):

This was Elton’s first album without lyricist Bernie Taupin. It represented a low point commercially, as it was Elton’s first album to not reach the top 10 in the U.S.

  • Part-Time Love (10/21/78, 22 US, 40 AC, 22 CL, 15 UK, 13 CN, 12 AU) VB, D
  • Song for Guy (12/16/78, 23 CL, 4 UK, 14 AU) VB, 02**, D


The Complete Thom Bell Sessions (1979):

Elton chose to work with songwriter and producer Thom Bell for this album. Like his other late ‘70s output, it was not well received, peaking at a mere #51. A remix of Are You Ready for Love? became a #1 hit in the UK in 2003.

  • Are You Ready for Love? (5/31/79, 42 UK, 63 AU; remix: 8/25/03, 1 UK, 31 CN) RM*, D
  • Mama Can’t Buy You Love (6/9/79, 9 US, 1 AC, 36 RB, 19 CL, 10 CN, 82 AU, gold single) G3, 86, D


Victim of Love (1979):

Once again, Elton John was flying without Bernie Taupin as lyricist – and once again, the American public replied with less enthusiasm. It failed to reach gold status in the U.S. and peaked at a lowly #35.

  • Victim of Love (9/29/79, 31 US, 55 RB, 29 CL, 46 CN, 38 AU) D


21 at 33 (1980):

Elton reunited with Bernie Taupin for some of the tracks on his 21st album at age 33 (hence the name of the album). The album was somewhat a return to form, giving Elton a top-20, gold-selling album propelled by a top 3 hit with Little Jeannie. The album also produced a top-40 hit with “Sartorial Eloquence (Don’t Ya Wanna Play This Game No More)?”

  • Little Jeannie (5/3/80, 3 US, 1 AC, 15 CL, 33 UK, 1 CN, 9 AU, gold single) G3, 86, 02*, D


The Fox (1981):

The album reached #12 in the UK and #21 in the U.S. and failed to reach gold status. Three singles were released from the album – “Nobody Wins,” “Just Like Belgium,” and “Chloe” – but none are featured on any of the compilations on this page.


Jump Up! (1982):

The album reached the top 20 in the U.S. and UK and was a gold-seller, thanks to two top-20 hits in the U.S.

  • Empty Garden (3/20/82, 13 US, 18 AC, 51 UK, 8 CN, 63 AU) G3, 86, D
  • Blue Eyes (3/27/82, 12 US, 1 AC, 8 UK, 5 CN, 4 AU) G3, 86, VB, 02**, D


Too Low for Zero (1983):

This was an uptick in Elton’s commercial success, reaching platinum status in the U.S. Surprisingly, it only peaked at #25, but it reached #7 in the UK. Elton was back in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 with I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues and had two more top-40 hits from the album.

  • I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues (4/30/83, 4 US, 2 AC, 22 AR, 5 UK, 9 CN, 4 AU, platinum single) G3, 86, VB, 02, RM*, D
  • I’m Still Standing (5/7/83, 12 US, 28 AC, 34 AR, 4 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU, gold single) G3, 86, VB, 02, RM*, D
  • Kiss the Bride (8/6/83, 25 US, 20 UK, 37 CN, 25 AU) G3, 86, VB, 02**, D
  • Too Low for Zero (1983, 52 AU) G3


Breaking Hearts (1984):

This one met with a similar reception to its predecessor. It reached #20 in the U.S. (where it went platinum) and #2 in the UK. It gave Elton another top-5 hit with Sad Songs Say So Much.

  • Sad Songs Say So Much (5/26/84, 5 US, 2 AC, 24 AR, 7 UK, 4 CN, 4 AU) G3, 86, VB, 02, D
  • Passengers (8/11/84, 5 UK, 9 AU) VB
  • Who Wears These Shoes? (9/8/84, 16 US, 11 AC, 18 AR, 50 UK, 36 CN, 76 AU) 86


Ice on Fire (1985):

While it gave Elton another top-10 hit in the U.S. with Nikita and a top-20 hit with Wrap Her Up, this album didn’t measure up to its two predecessors. It peaked at #48 in the U.S. and went gold.

  • Nikita (10/12/85, 7 US, 3 AC, 3 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU) G3, 86, VB, 02, D
  • Wrap Her Up (10/26/85, 20 US, 12 UK, 26 CN, 22 AU) G3, 86


Leather Jackets (1986):

This was the lowest charting album of Elton’s career, reaching a measly #91 in the U.S. In the UK, the single “Slow Rivers” paired Elton with England’s superstar Cliff Richard, although the song petered out at #44.

  • Heartache All Over the World (10/4/86, 55 US, 45 UK, 58 CN, 7 AU) G3

Greatest Hits Volume III

Elton John


Rating:

4.140 out of 5.00
(average of 3 ratings)


Recorded: 1979-1986


Released: October 3, 1987


Peak: 84 US, -- UK, 33 CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 2.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic pop rock


Tracks: (1) I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues (2) Mama Can’t Buy You Love (3) Little Jeannie (4) Sad Songs Say So Much (5) I’m Still Standing (6) Empty Garden (7) Heartache All Over the World (8) Too Low for Zero (9) Kiss the Bride (10) Blue Eyes (11) Nikita (12) Wrap Her Up


Total Running Time: 56:50

About Greatest Hits Volume III:

The third compilation picked up where Volume II left off. Elton’s hit-making days weren’t behind him, but this showed an artist who was no longer the king of the hill. He didn’t land any songs at #1 during this era, although this collection does still feature five top-10 U.S. hits Little Jeannie, I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues, Sad Songs (Say So Much), and Nikita. III was deleted after MCA purchased Geffen and replaced with Greatest Hits 1976-1986.

Greatest Hits 1976-1986

Elton John


Rating:

3.887 out of 5.00
(average of 7 ratings)


Recorded: 1976-1986


Released: November 3, 1992


Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic pop rock


Tracks: (1) I’m Still Standing (2) Mama Can’t Buy You Love (3) Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word (4) Little Jeannie (5) Blue Eyes (6) Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (with Kiki Dee) (7) Empty Garden (8) Kiss the Bride (9) I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues (10) Who Wears These Shoes? (11) Sad Songs Say So Much (12) Wrap Her Up (with George Michael) (13) Nikita


Total Running Time: ?

About Greatest Hits 1976-1986:

Greatest Hits Volume III was deleted after MCA purchased Geffen and replaced with this collection. “Too Low for Zero” and “Heartache All Over the World” were bumped in favor of Who Wears These Shoes?, Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. The latter two were originally on Greatest Hits Volume II, but omitted from the 1992 reissue.


Reg Strikes Back (1988):

Elton was back in the top 20 of the U.S. and UK album charts with this gold-selling album. I Don’t Wanna Go on with You Like That was Elton’s biggest hit since 1976’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” “A Word in Spanish” was also a top 20 hit.

  • I Don’t Wanna Go on with You Like That (6/4/88, 2 US, 1 AC, 13 AR, 30 UK, 1 CN, 24 AU) VB, 02*, D


Sleeping with the Past (1989):

This took Elton to the top of the album chart in the UK. It was a platinum seller in the US., but peaked at #23. “Healing Hands” was a #13 hit, but isn’t featured on any of the compilations on this page.

  • Sacrifice (11/18/89, 18 US, 3 AC, 1 UK, 19 CN, 7 AU) VB, 02, RM, D

The Very Best of

Elton John


Rating:

4.263 out of 5.00
(average of 7 ratings)


Recorded: 1970-1990


Released: November 3, 1990


Peak: -- US, 12 UK, -- CN, 1 AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, 2.7 UK, 18.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic pop rock


Tracks, Disc 1: (1) Your Song (2) Rocket Man (3) Honky Cat (4) Crocodile Rock (5) Daniel (6) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (7) Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (8) Candle in the Wind (9) Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (10) Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (11) Philadelphia Freedom (12) Someone Saved My Life Tonight (13) Pinball Wizard (14) The Bitch Is Back


Tracks, Disc 2: (1) Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (with Kiki Dee) (2) Bennie and the Jets (3) Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word (4) Song for Guy (5) Part-Time Love (6) Blue Eyes (7) I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues (8) I’m Still Standing (9) Kiss the Bride (10) Sad Songs Say So Much (11) Passengers (12) Nikita (13) I Don’t Want to Go on with You Like That (14) Sacrifice (15) Easier to Walk Away (16) You Gotta Love Someone


Total Running Time: 2:17:56

Awards:

About The Very Best of:

The Very Best of Elton John was a double-CD anthology released in the U.K. that essentially consolidated three previous single disc compilations into one collection. Most represented is Greatest Hits. “Rarely has a greatest-hits collection been as effective,” E1Greatest Hits is a nearly flawless collection, offering a perfect introduction to Elton John and providing casual fans with almost all the hits they need.” E1

  • You Gotta Love Someone (10/20/90, 43 US, 1 AC, 33 UK, 1 CN, 32 AU) VB
  • Easier to Walk Away (12/15/90, 63 UK, 59 CN, 57 AU) VB


The One (1992):

This ws Elton’s first top-10 U.S. album since 1976’s Blue Moves. The title cut also reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was followed by two more top-30 hits with “The Last Song” and “Simple Life.”

  • The One (5/25/92, 9 US, 1 AC, 10 UK, 1 CN, 15 AU) 02, D


Duets (1993):

This album paired Elton with multiple guest artists including Leonard Cohen, Don Henley, Little Richard, George Michael, Bonnie Raitt, and Tammy Wynette. It was a platinum seller in the U.S. and reached #5 in the UK.

  • Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (live with George Michael, 11/30/91, 1 US, 1 AC, 1 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU, sales: 0.76 m) 02***, RM**, D
  • True Love (with Kiki Dee, 11/20/93, 56 US, 21 AC, 2 UK, 12 CN, 34 AU) 02***, D


The Lion King (soundtrack, 1994):

Elton John teamed up with Tim Rice to write the songs for Disney’s Lion King movie. It became the best-selling soundtrack to an animated film in the U.S., reaching diamond status.

  • Can You Feel the Love Tonight (5/20/94, 2 US, 1 AC, 14 UK, 1 CN 9 AU, platinum single) 02, RM**, D
  • Circle of Life (8/27/94, 15 US, 2 AC, 11 UK, 3 CN, 60 AU, sales: 0.5 m) 02, D


Made in Engand (1995):

This was another platinum seller in the U.S., where it reached #13. It hit #3 in the UK.

  • Believe (2/20/95, 13 US, 1 AC, 15 UK, 1 CN, 23 AU) 02, D
  • Made in England (5/8/95, 52 US, 12 AC, 18 UK, 5 CN, 48 AU) 02**
  • Blessed (10/21/95, 2 AC, 34 UK, 3 CN, 86 AU) 02*


The Big Picture (1997):

While not featured on the album, Elton’s reworked version of “Candle in the Wind” had much to do with his success in 1997. His tribute to Lady Diana became one of the biggest singles of all-time, which aided Something About the Way You Look Tonight since it was the flip side. The album was a top ten hit in the UK and U.S., where it went platinum.

  • Live Like Horses (with Luciano Pavarotti, 12/2/96, 9 UK) 02***, D
  • Something About the Way You Look Tonight (9/6/97, 1 AC, 1 UK, 14 CN, 32 AU, sales: 5.4 m) 02, D


Aida (soundtrack, 1999):

Elton teamed again with Tim Rice to write the Broadway show Aida. This album preceded the show, pairing Elton with a variety of stars, including Boyz II Men, Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, Spice Girls, Sting, James Taylor, Tina Turner, and Shania Twain.

  • Written in the Stars (with LeAnn Rimes, 1/16/99, 29 US, 2 AC, 10 UK, 35 CN, 85 AU, gold single) 02, D


Songs from the West Coast (2002):

A gold-selling, top-20 album in the U.S. It peaked at #2 in the UK.

  • I Want Love (10/1/01, 6 AC, 9 UK, 7 CN, 63 AU) 02, RM*, D
  • This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore (1/1/02, 24 UK, 10 AC) 02, D

Greatest Hits 1970-2002

Elton John


Rating:

4.436 out of 5.00
(average of 10 ratings)


Recorded: 1970-2002


Released: November 12, 2002


Peak: 12 US, 3 UK, 18 CN, 19 AU


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 1.2 UK, 8.2 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic pop rock


Tracks, Disc 1: (1) Your Song (2) Tiny Dancer (3) Honky Cat (4) Rocket Man (5) Crocodile Rock (6) Daniel (7) Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (8) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (9) Canle in the Wind (10) Bennie and the Jets (11) Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (12) The Bitch Is Back (13) Philadelphia Freedom (14) Someone Saved My Life Tonight (15) Island Girl (16) Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (with Kiki Dee) (17) Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word


Tracks, Disc 2: (1) Blue Eyes (2) I’m Still Standing (3) I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues (4) Sad Songs Say So Much (5) Nikita (6) Sacrifice (7) The One (8) Kiss the Bride (9) Can You Feel the Love Tonight (10) Circle of Life (11) Believe (12) Made in England (13) Something About the Way You Look Tonight (14) Written in the Stars (with LeAnn Rimes) (15) I Want Love (16) This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore (17) Song for Guy


Tracks, Disc 3: (1) Levon (2) Border Song (3) Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (4) Pinball Wizard (5) True Love (with Kiki Dee) (6) Live Like Horses (with Luciano Pavarotti) (7) I Don’t Want to Go on with You Like That (8) Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (live with George Michael) (9) Your Song (with Alessandro Safina)


Total Running Time: 2:36:46

About Greatest Hits 1970-2002:

The collection was released in various reiterations. The above track listing is for the European release. Songs marked with an * were not included on the 2-disc European version of this album, which substituted those marked with **. Songs marked with *** were included on a third bonus disc, as well as “Levon” and “I Don’t Want to Go on with You Like That,” which were on the original 2-disc American version.

  • Your Song (with Alessandro Safina, 7/1/02, 4 UK, 8 CN) 02***


Peachtree Road (2004):

Three singles from the album failed to make much dent – “Answer in the Sky,” “All That I’m Allowed,” and “Turn the Lights Out When You Leave.” The latter two reached #20 and #32 in the UK respectively. The song Electricity, which Elton composed for Billy Elliot the Musical, was a #4 hit in the UK and was added as a bonus track to the UK reissue of the album.

  • Electricity (9/14/05, 17 AC, 4 UK) D


The Captain & the Kid (2006):

This was Elton’s second autobiographical album, picking up where Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy left off. “The Bridge” was a top-20 hit on the adult contemporary chart in the U.S., but only the album cut Tinderbox is featured on any of the compilations on this page.

  • Tinderbox (2006) RM*

Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits

Elton John


Rating:

4.626 out of 5.00
(average of 5 ratings)


Recorded: 1970-2006


Released: March 26, 2007


Peak: 9 US, 2 UK, 10 CN, 8 AU


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.3 UK, 3.3 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic pop rock


Tracks: (1) Bennie and the Jets (2) Philadelphia Freedom (3) Daniel (4) Rocket Man (5) I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues (6) Tiny Dancer (7) Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (8) I Want Love (9) Candle in the Wind (10) Crocodile Rock (11) I’m Still Standing (12) Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (13) Your Song (14) Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word (15) Sacrifice (16) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (17) Tinderbox (18) Are You Ready for Love?


Total Running Time: 79:37

About Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits:

The Rocket Man collection whittled Elton’s entire career down to one disc. There were many alternate versions of this collection released throughout the world. The track listing above is for the Canon international edition. Songs featured on that collection (I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, I Want Love, I’m Still Standing, Tinderbox, Are You Ready for Love?) which did not appear on the U.S. version are marked with an asterisk (*).

In the U.S., this was actually retitled Rocket Man: Number Ones, a definite misnomer since these were not all #1’s. Songs on the U.S. version (Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Island Girl, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, the live duet with George Michael of Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, Can You Feel the Love Tonight?) which are not on the international edition are noted with a double asterisk (**).


Good Morning to the Night (2012):

This was Elton’s first remix album, featuring Pnau. Samples of early Elton John songs were mixed to form completely new songs. It debuted at #1 in the UK and produced two singles, the title cut and “Sad,” which peaked at #48.

  • Good Morning to the Night (with Pnau, 7/6/12, 71 AU) D


The Diving Board (2013):

This was a top-5 album in the U.S. and UK, despite only featuring the minor hit Home Again, the non-charting “Mexican Vacation (Kids in the Candlelight),” and “Can’t Stay Alone Tonight” (#18 AC).

  • Home Again (6/24/13, 14 AC) D


Wonderful Crazy Night (2016):

Four singles were released, but none charted. Nonetheless, the album reached the top 10 in the U.S. and UK.

  • Looking Up (10/22/15, 12 AC) D

Diamonds

Elton John


Rating:

4.483 out of 5.00
(average of 6 ratings)


Recorded: 1970-2016


Released: November 10, 2017


Peak: 7 US, 5 UK, 5 CN, 3 AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.6 UK, 1.6 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic pop rock


Tracks, Disc 1: (1) Your Song (2) Tiny Dancer (3) Rocket Man (4) Honky Cat (5) Crocodile Rock (6) Daniel (7) Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (8) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (9) Candle in the Wind (10) Bennie and the Jets (11) The Bitch Is Back (12) Philadelphia Freedom (13) Island Girl (14) Someone Saved My Life Tonight (15) Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (with Kiki Dee) (16) Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word (17) Little Jeannie


Tracks, Disc 2: (1) Song for Guy (2) Blue Eyes (3) I’m Still Standing (4) I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues (5) Sad Songs Say So Much (6) Nikita (7) I Don’t Wanna Go on with You Like That (8) Sacrifice (9) Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (live with George Michael) (10) Something About the Way You Look Tonight (11) I Want Love (12) Can You Feel the Love Tonight (13) Are You Ready for Love? (14) Electricity (15) Home Again (16) Looking Up (17) Circle of Life


Tracks, Disc 3: (1) Skyline Pigeon (2) Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (3) Pinball Wizard (4) Mama Can’t Buy You Love (5) Part-Time Love (6) Victim of Love (7) Empty Garden (8) Kiss the Bride (9) That’s What Friends Are For (with Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight) (10) The One (11) True Love (with Kiki Dee) (12) Believe (13) Live Like Horses (with Luciano Pavarotti) (14) Written in the Stars (with LeAnn Rimes) (15) This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore (16) Good Morning to the Night (with Pnau) (17) Step into Christmas


Total Running Time: 2:35:47

About Diamonds:

This was released in 2 and 3-disc versions. Maddeningly, the collection is chronological well into the second disc and then it inexplicably abandons that. The album marked the first appearances on Elton John compilations for major hits like the 2003 remix of Are You Ready for Love? (#1 UK) and That’s What Friends Are For, the U.S. song of the year in 1986.

  • That’s What Friends Are For (with Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight, 10/85, 1 US, 1 AC, 1 RB, 16 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, gold single) D


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