Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John

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Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John

Album Released: 1973

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ::: Artwork

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1.Funeral For A Friend / Loves Lies Bleeding11:09
2.Candle In The Wind3:50
3.Bennie And The Jets5:23
4.Goodbye Yellow Brick Road3:13
5.This Song Has No Title2:23
6.Grey Seal4:00
7.Jamaica Jerk-Off3:39
8.I've Seen That Movie Too5:59
9.Sweet Painted Lady3:54
10.The Ballad Of Danny Bailey (1909-34)4:23
11.Dirty Little Girl5:00
12.All The Girls Love Alice5:09
13.Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll)2:42
14.Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting4:57
15.Roy Rogers4:07
16.Social Disease3:42


Having not heard this album for a very very long time (I'd guess 25+ years), I was surprised by how badly it's dated, it now sounding rather too 'bright' / trebly, poorly mixed, and very much a product of its era (and I was listening to a near-Mint original vinyl pressing too).

What's more, I had no recollection at all of at least half the tracks, yet I was once well-acquainted with the entire album, so evidently the material hasn't proven itself especially memorable. That's perhaps not so surprising, as - according to Wikipedia - Elton John wrote most of the music for what is after all a double-LP, over a mere three days. A carefully-gestated work of Art it surely ain't then.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (GYBR) turned out to be the pivotal album of Elton John's career, in that it completed his transition from introspective singer/songwriter (though Bernie Taupin wrote his lyrics) to big-time showbiz entertainer. Released nine months after Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player (whose "I'm Going to Be a Teenage Idol" was perhaps a statement-of-intent), GYBR would prove to be Elton John's successful grab at megastardom.

In retrospect, the album demonstrates that the piano is not even remotely suited to be a lead instrument for rock music, fronting as it does a mass of electric guitars, orchestrals, and percussion. Compounding that is the production, which seems deliberately geared to presentation in large stadia anyway, and as such GYBR could be viewed as the first 'Arena Rock' album. But due to the full production, in order to be heard at all Elton John's playing throughout sounds very hamfisted, what with him thumping his way across his keyboard, certainly on all the more 'robust' numbers anyway.

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by Reviewer: bluemoon

After the relatively forgettable Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player, Elton John delivers this huge double-album, filled to the brim with good melodies. It might not be his best album, but it's probably his most popular, and it’s easy to see why ... this is the album with “Candle in the Wind” on it!

The album also represents the pinnacle of Elton John’s image. Just looking at the cover, you can see him wearing one of his glam suits with those platform shoes and goofy eyeglasses. And he continues where he left off from the previous album, writing mostly commercial music with the mass populace in mind. And naturally, it worked.

A lot of critics don’t care for Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, instead preferring the good albums he made before he became popular, such as Tumbleweed Connection and Honky Chateau. Well, of course those albums are better - they have better songs, and show Elton John in a rawer and more raucous state. But this commercial incarnation is quite a treat too.

Though in truth, I wouldn't even call this album 'commercial'. After all, how many 'commercial' albums would start off with something like “Funeral For a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)”, which is arguably the most ambitious thing he’d attempted, nothing less than an 11-minute multi-part epic. The way it’s structured could be called prog, and very good prog at that - the first half is instrumental, and the second half catchy pop. It's an utter treat from beginning to end. The rest of these songs could've been pieces of crap, but I'd still want to own the album just for that one song.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)

Although it's bogged down with monotonous filler, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road nevertheless showcases Elton John and his band at the peak of their powers.

"Funeral for a Friend" is an 11-minute epic that builds from a somber synth intro to hard-hitting verses and a blistering chorus, "Candle in the Wind" is the quiet and melodic Marilyn Monroe tribute, while the title ballad is a wrenching showcase for John's flexible crooning.

The strutting falsetto-ridden "Bennie and the Jets" and the propulsive razor-sharp "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" (where Davey Johnstone shreds away on guitar) are two of John's best rockers. And on "Grey Seal", his piano spars mesmerizingly with Nigel Olsson's tight expressive drumming.

The seeming throwaway "Jamaica Jerk-off" is a deliriously fun reggae send-up, and "Dirty Little Girl" is one of the better minor tracks, raunchy and stomping and infectiously charismatic. These songs are among Elton's most creative and make me quite giddy when they come on the radio.

Even so, the album is still nearly impossible to slog through, as John needlessly pads it out with indistinct piano ballads and unmelodic 50's throwback rockers. Every song has energy or passable prettiness (especially the soaring closer "Harmony"), but they're pointless enough to make the album less than the sum of its better parts.

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by Reviewer: Cosmic Ben

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road spent 84 weeks on the UK album chart and 103 weeks on the US album chart, both times reaching No.1.

It was originally intended to record the album in Jamaica, but the recording studio and its surroundings proved unsuitable, so Elton flew to the more familiar surroundings of the Chateau D'Hierouville in France, where he recorded the album in a little over two weeks (he'd previously recorded Honky Chateau and Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player there too).

This was Elton's first double album, but that wasn't the way it was planned. The recording sessions went so well though, that enough material was recorded for a double, making it an excellent testament to the longstanding Elton John/Bernie Taupin partnership.

The songs are all top quality, from the first track to the last, with no filler. It would prove to be the last truly great Elton John album though.

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by Reviewer: Paul Mouse