|First posted 3/21/2008; updated 11/23/2020.|
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Released: October 5, 1973
Peak: 18 US, 12 UK, 15 CN, 13 AU
Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.3 UK, 30.0 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: pop/classic rock
Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
All songs written by Elton John & Bernie Taupin.
* Note: In the U.S. and Canada, “Candle in the Wind” didn’t chart until a live version was released in 1987.
Total Running Time: 76:12
4.477 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)
Quotable: It “plays like a greatest hits album, overflowing with classic songs.” – Clark Speicher, The Review
About the Album:
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is Elton John’s “commercial and creative apex.” ZS It “plays like a greatest hits album, overflowing with classic songs” RV which “remain standards more than 30 years later thanks to Bernie Taupin’s sharpest lyrics, John’s propulsive keyboard skills and vocals that leap into falsetto without losing any of their power.” TL This “flamboyant tour de force” ZS is “a recap of all the styles and sounds that made John a star” AMG although this was also where his “personality began to gather more attention than his music.” AMG He “achieved superstardom with this effort and never matched its mastery again.” RV
The was recorded in a mere 12 days in Europe after a failed effort to record in Jamaica. CRS It “demonstrates the ease with which John and Taupin could write not only the hit singles, but the outstanding album tracks.” ZS While it has been called “Elton’s White Album” ZS and a “stunning song cycle with no filler” ZS this double album also can be said to suffer from being “overstuffed.” TL Nonetheless, it “holds claim to a lot of brilliant, very pop-savvy music” AZ and is “considered the high watermark of Elton’s reign of popularity.” CRS “Its individual moments are spectacular and the glitzy, crowd-pleasing showmanship…pretty much defines what made Elton John a superstar in the early ‘70s.” AMG
The opening kick-off of Funeral for a Friend and Love Lies Bleeding has been called both a “prog rock epic” AMG and a “Wagnerian-operalike combo.” RS500 The album quickly announces that it will be “all over the map” AMG by immediately careening into the balladry of Candle in the Wind,” AMG which pays tribute to Marilyn Monroe and, more than 20 years later, was revamped as a memorial to Princess Diana.
There’s also “the ready-made nostalgia of The Ballad of Danny Bailey” AZ which features “Bernie Taupin’s literary pretensions,” AMG, “the downbeat melodicism of Harmony,” AZ “novelties [like] Jamiaica Jerk-Off…and everything in between.” AMG
Elton shows off his rock side with “the fairground jive of Your Sister Can’t Twist” TB and “the strutting rock and roll” RS500 of “the Stonesy rocker Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” TB Meanwhile Bennie and the Jets “was a nod in the direction of Bowie’s Ziggy.” TB
Songs like “This Song Has No Title and Grey Seal had gospel-tinged melodies and progressions” TB and “the title track harnesses the fantastic imagery of glam to a Gershwin-sweet melody.” RS500
Notes: A 2003 Deluxe Edition adds “Whenever You’re Ready (We’ll Go Steady),” “Jack Rabbit,” “Screw You (Young Man Blues),” and an alternate version of “Candle in the Wind.”
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