Mama Can't Buy You Love: The Official ILM Track-By-Track ELTON JOHN 1978-1988 Listening Thread

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Sounds like a coked-up Captain Fantastic outtake in that it's woe-is-me-I'm-a-star special pleading. The hook isn't great. The stop-start dynamics are well done. Dunno about the train whistles though.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:54 (four years ago) Permalink

So, stage setting, from what I vaguely recall, By 1978, Elton has a) come out as a bisexual to Rolling Stone apparently costing him some (rather clueless) fans, b) split with Bernie Taupin and c) declared he's done playing live. Thus begins "The Not-So-Great Years"

From Elizabeth Rosenthal's bio: "Elton viewed 'Ego' (a leftover Taupin collaboration) as a commentary on bloated show-business vanity of the type embodied, he said, in the careers of David Bowie (!) and Neil Diamond."

col, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:55 (four years ago) Permalink

"Little Jeannie" the big hit between 1978 and 1983; I can't wait to loathe it.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 14:58 (four years ago) Permalink

Taupin (temporarily) going out in real style: that run of "Before schoolish, immaturish, lose-your-coolish" is some of the most brutal rhyming in the English language.

I recall liking "Ego" when I first heard it ca. 2000---was touted then as the "great lost Elton single" as it had flopped hard and wasn't included on any compilations. It's still fun & weird: very Sparks/Deaf School, musically. Why EJ thought this piece of cranky rock-star theatrics would be a hit is another thing.

col, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:04 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah I don't think this is bad at all but am unsurprised it flopped.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:05 (four years ago) Permalink

Listening. I don't think I've heard this before. What's the year?

_Rudipherous_, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:10 (four years ago) Permalink

early 1978

col, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:10 (four years ago) Permalink

Hey wait get back to your book or something oh hi there col. (Actually how long HAVE you been here?)

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 16:00 (four years ago) Permalink

just on the Eagles thing. I will devote about 5 minutes per day to this project, so no worries Ned

col, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 16:00 (four years ago) Permalink

Stoked for the madness.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 16:06 (four years ago) Permalink

shh!

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 17:44 (four years ago) Permalink

I quite like this! I get why it wasn't a hit though, it's not really hooky enough to want to listen to a lot. But it's cool.

and he looks so young in that vidoe

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 17:52 (four years ago) Permalink

his eyebrows are ridic

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 17:53 (four years ago) Permalink

I don't mind Taupin's lyrics. The sillier he is the better off we all are.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 17:53 (four years ago) Permalink

agreed

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 17:54 (four years ago) Permalink

I'm so damn curious about A Single Man. By his own standards a flop but more than respectable sales at the height of disco. And I love britishes to discuss "Song For Guy," a massive hit that made no impact in Amerikay.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 17:57 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah, "Song for Guy" is a mystery for me, too. first we get a really weird B-side though, if we're going to do strict chronology here

col, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 18:13 (four years ago) Permalink

I don't know shit about Elton beyond the hits. But "Ego" has me intrigued. Nice and sprightly; I could almost (barely, but almost) imagine EC & the Attractions doing this.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 18:43 (four years ago) Permalink

Finally, some love (or faint praise anyway) for "Ego" on ILM - this was sadly absent from the recent artist poll we did.

Jeff W, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 19:51 (four years ago) Permalink

(My turn to eat my words by the time we get to 1985, I suspect)

Jeff W, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 19:52 (four years ago) Permalink

sooner!

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 21:41 (four years ago) Permalink

1978-1988 is the period where Elton looked the most stylish, I think this is where he peaked in terms of appearance.

going out dancing with the girls, her cat. (soref), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 21:44 (four years ago) Permalink

the coke diet iirc

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 21:45 (four years ago) Permalink

the late '70s, thin, sorta-Mod Elton reminds me of someone else, but can't place it.

col, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 21:52 (four years ago) Permalink

I could almost (barely, but almost) imagine EC & the Attractions doing this

I used to get Elton and Elvis Costello mixed up when I was a kid- they both wore glasses, frequently wore hats, had names beginning with E, had songs with pianos in them etc.

going out dancing with the girls, her cat. (soref), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 21:54 (four years ago) Permalink

Some of the facial expressions and mannerism in the video look sort of Bowie-esque, I don't know if that's intentional (c.f. the quote above about Bowie being one of the inspirations for the figure in the song)

going out dancing with the girls, her cat. (soref), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 21:59 (four years ago) Permalink

I had forgotten this song existed, can't remember what I thought of it at the time; evidently not much. Crazy tempo changes, very rock-theatre. The Sparks/Deaf School comparison is apt.

Conceptual Brew (Dan Peterson), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 22:07 (four years ago) Permalink

I admire you guys, but I have no intention of subjecting myself to this if only because I never want to encounter any reason to have to hear "Wrap Her Up" again.

a fifth of misty beethoven (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 22:40 (four years ago) Permalink

Three months away. Be a man. Bite your lip (get up and dance)!

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 December 2013 22:41 (four years ago) Permalink

Over time I think it's important that we wear a succession of slightly worse wigs and technicolor fun shirts

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:08 (four years ago) Permalink

I used to get Elton and Elvis Costello mixed up when I was a kid- they both wore glasses, frequently wore hats, had names beginning with E, had songs with pianos in them etc.

― going out dancing with the girls, her cat. (soref), Wednesday, December 11, 2013 3:54 PM (2 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I can almost hear an Elton "Alison" in my head--however it ends up being a Bernie opera riffing on the notion of "you that little friend of mine take off your party dress".

I guess I'll go in for this, as I recently picked up some classic era Elton on disc cheap during an Amazon blitz (I even got the expanded Here and There!).

"Ego": I heard this before on a friend's public radio show some years back. He mentioned afterwards that the song was his intro to EJ via the radio, and it was one of the first new music singles he got on 45 (he'd be 8 y.o. at the time). It does have a slightly infectious Sparks feel, not to mention coming off like sped-up Meatloaf/Steinman.

Maintenance Engineer of Foolhardiness (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:59 (four years ago) Permalink

I've never heard this one before. There's some seriously funky chord changes goin' on. Not bad.

Lee626, Thursday, 12 December 2013 01:05 (four years ago) Permalink

But what would Don 'n' Glenn say?

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 12 December 2013 01:07 (four years ago) Permalink

well, yeah

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 12 December 2013 02:19 (four years ago) Permalink

DON: We knew Elton. He and Bernie were songwriters who sold millions of albums. Glenn and I wondered how they did it. We met him a few times at the Chateau Marmont. He was kind enough to buy us a few bottles of champagne, which we were most appreciative of when we were up and coming.

GLENN: Remember that party in '74? Pretty sure he was watching us up and coming.

DON: Well, yeah.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 12 December 2013 02:27 (four years ago) Permalink

"Chloe" from 1981 is a pretty good minor Top 40 ballad.

jetfan, Thursday, 12 December 2013 02:31 (four years ago) Permalink

I got The Fox as a joke gift last xmas. I'll be happy to oblige in a couple months.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 12 December 2013 02:31 (four years ago) Permalink

the one I'm bracing for is (my God I hope not Don 'n' Glenn-influenced) Victim of Love

col, Thursday, 12 December 2013 02:56 (four years ago) Permalink

let's have our fingers crossed for Don Felder on guitar though
RIGHT? :D

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 12 December 2013 03:01 (four years ago) Permalink

"Part Time Love", the lead single from A Single Man, would have made a good 3rd or 4th single. But it was the lead single. Always thought it was catchy, but can see why it never went Top 20.

jetfan, Thursday, 12 December 2013 03:42 (four years ago) Permalink

can't wait to discuss it

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 12 December 2013 03:44 (four years ago) Permalink

I got The Fox as a joke gift last xmas.

A lump of coal in the stocking if there ever was one.

a fifth of misty beethoven (cryptosicko), Thursday, 12 December 2013 04:08 (four years ago) Permalink

Don and Glenn will be making a backing vox appearance in a couple albums.

Maintenance Engineer of Foolhardiness (C. Grisso/McCain), Thursday, 12 December 2013 04:45 (four years ago) Permalink

I think Elton hates The Fox as much as everybody else. Both Top 40 singles, "Chloe" and "Nobody Wins" haven't shown up on any U.S. singles compilation that I can think of.

jetfan, Thursday, 12 December 2013 05:31 (four years ago) Permalink

he looked battered on a repeat of Top Of The Pops last week doing Song For Guy, always liked that one though. the best quote i ever read about his lost years was from EJ himself who said in UNCUT magazine of the coke years "it sounds like a dead person in there".

piscesx, Thursday, 12 December 2013 07:16 (four years ago) Permalink

The only Fox-y tune I remember is the gay thing cowritten with Tom Robinson.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 12 December 2013 13:21 (four years ago) Permalink

should I do today's, Alfred? I'm awake and have had a cup. I've got all the links, i think

col, Thursday, 12 December 2013 13:26 (four years ago) Permalink

I've got a toot waiting, so go for it.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 12 December 2013 13:27 (four years ago) Permalink

apparently he performed this one a bit.

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 3 April 2014 11:44 (three years ago) Permalink

a rocker! "say goodbye to GLASNOST!...goodbye to DY-UT SOODA!" it's the pissed, put-upon figure of "Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That," now flipping off the entire world. So the track's suitably cheap and ugly: that synth beat sounds like it was lifted off the back of a truck. Basically Elton's take on T. Petty's "Jammin' Me."

col, Thursday, 3 April 2014 13:32 (three years ago) Permalink

The first interesting discovery since the first side of TLFZ. The guitar is closer to hair metal and it suits him; for once the carnival barker tone suits him. His attempt to write "God"? He did sell his costumes at Sotheby's that year.

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 3 April 2014 21:43 (three years ago) Permalink

say goodbye to diet soda?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOkzRZWMLKA

piscesx, Friday, 4 April 2014 11:40 (three years ago) Permalink

what about the one with Paula Abdul?

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 4 April 2014 13:17 (three years ago) Permalink

80s-Elton-by-numbers, sung well & given a kick midway through w/ some fun piano runs, as if EJ had gotten bored while listening to a track playthrough

col, Friday, 4 April 2014 13:20 (three years ago) Permalink

"Heavy Traffic"

http://youtu.be/LnsqaNRTQTc

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/UYViqG0MWng/0.jpg

col, Saturday, 5 April 2014 12:10 (three years ago) Permalink

We're back to the tone and approach of 'Religion" but not it smerits. Brisky strummed acoustic guitars and EJ's cocktail piano anchor a just-another-day-in-the-burbs scenario about a guy gettin' high on "apple juice and cocaine" while his mate makes PCP in the basement.

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 5 April 2014 12:53 (three years ago) Permalink

points given: a fairly fresh sound, with the acoustic guitars and piano, and a mix so airy (at least in the verses) it sounds like Neu! by comparison to some of the gunked-up tracks on this album; one line sounds like EJ's muttering "Paul McCartney". points taken: Bernie Taupin using '80s TV movies as pointers as to what "kids these days" are up to; chorus singers wouldn't make the cut for a Lloyd Webber show

col, Saturday, 5 April 2014 14:28 (three years ago) Permalink

it's a better "We Didn't Start the Fire."

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 5 April 2014 16:45 (three years ago) Permalink

"Poor Cow"

http://youtu.be/14ageaewAMs

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/4/24/1366818866351/Terence-Stamp-in-Poor-Cow-008.jpg

(had to break the Elton-photo rule, given the title)

col, Sunday, 6 April 2014 13:19 (three years ago) Permalink

John Broadbent4 years ago

This song gives me a boner. ....Shaped it like an hourglass, and made the angels moan. Oh, here's a little heat boys, to straighten out them curls. Now there ain't been no angels 'round since God invented girls!

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 April 2014 12:01 (three years ago) Permalink

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn

What the bloody hell is this garbage?

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 April 2014 12:02 (three years ago) Permalink

what a way to go out, Elton. Nicely encapsulates the worst of his '80s, though: desperate affirmations of heterosexuality, blustery singing, fretless bass, Taupin too bored to even be cryptic.

forget to say something on "Poor Cow": not bad, esp compared to today's turkey. sounds like EJ trying to be Squeeze in places

col, Monday, 7 April 2014 13:16 (three years ago) Permalink

Well, Babylon & On-era Squeeze.

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 April 2014 13:19 (three years ago) Permalink

more like Babylon & On-era outtakes, to be fair

one more song to go?

col, Monday, 7 April 2014 13:22 (three years ago) Permalink

Two, if you can find the live "Medley" that was on some editions of the 12" of A Word In Spanish. Includes Elton covering a bit of Leon Russell's A Song For You ("an American classic" per EJ). Then goes into a couple of classics we've already featured itt. Would be nice to finish on an upbeat note... if that's in the spirit of the thread?

Jeff W, Monday, 7 April 2014 18:19 (three years ago) Permalink

I want to review the Aretha collab "Through The Storm."

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 April 2014 18:30 (three years ago) Permalink

"Rope Around a Fool"

http://youtu.be/kzD6hHzKkBQ

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 8 April 2014 13:10 (three years ago) Permalink

Elton listen to "Dixie Chicken" before cutting this one? Chorus is a bit ungainly but this is better than at least half of Reg

col, Tuesday, 8 April 2014 13:22 (three years ago) Permalink

well, couldn't find the medley Jeff was talking about, so here's The End, a last duet w/Aretha:

"Through the Storm"

http://youtu.be/M44suQXkucQ

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/86/Through_the_Storm.jpg/220px-Through_the_Storm.jpg

col, Wednesday, 9 April 2014 16:29 (three years ago) Permalink

an apt title summation

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 9 April 2014 17:55 (three years ago) Permalink

alright, Pearls From Elton's Lost Years (a guide to people who don't want to slog through this whole thread):

Part Time Love
It Ain't Gonna Be Easy
Mama Can't Buy You Love
Chasing the Crown
Breaking Down Barriers
Blue Eyes
Dear John
Ball and Chain
I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
I'm Still Standing
Too Low For Zero
Religion
Breaking Hearts
Nikita
Lord of the Flies (hey it stuck in my head)

what else?

col, Wednesday, 9 April 2014 18:25 (three years ago) Permalink

This was illuminating -- like the Eagles thread it confirmed what I knew. The surprises: the so-called late seventies minor singles like "Part Time Love"; learning that Jump Up! has almost as many good to great songs as TLFZ.

My list, longer than yours (and hey -- where's "I Don't Wanna..." on yours?)

Ego
Part Time Love
It Ain't Gonna Be Easy
Chasing the Crown
Breaking Down Barriers
Elton's Song
White Lady White Powder
Ball and Chain
Dear John
I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
I'm Still Standing
Too Low For Zero
Religion
Breaking Hearts
Nikita
I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That
Goodbye Marlon Brando

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 10 April 2014 01:04 (three years ago) Permalink

i would add:

shooting star
cold as christmas

and maybe:

passengers

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 10 April 2014 01:17 (three years ago) Permalink

oh right! "Cold as Christmas" def

Bryan Fairy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 10 April 2014 01:31 (three years ago) Permalink

my list got lopped off: meant to include "Marlon Brando" and "Don't Wanna Go On."

col, Thursday, 10 April 2014 12:38 (three years ago) Permalink

spotif'ied playlist: http://open.spotify.com/user/judgeparker/playlist/5KzQRGivsutcFZYnr8FFIG

col, Thursday, 10 April 2014 14:08 (three years ago) Permalink

Missing you already. Thanks for doing this.

I'm down with A,LS's list, but would also add fcc's picks + most of the Thom Bell sessions + "Nobody Wins" + "Belgium".

Jeff W, Friday, 11 April 2014 13:01 (three years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

Elton in the wild: "Nikita" at Office Max.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 10 November 2014 00:54 (three years ago) Permalink

Cold War epilogue

col, Monday, 10 November 2014 01:00 (three years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

i think i would do a paul mccartney one of these if you guys did one! i couldn't do elton. ugh. it just occurred to me that i've probably only heard like 2 or 3 mccartney albums all the way through. i don't know why he had to put out so many records though.

scott seward, Friday, 5 June 2015 15:53 (two years ago) Permalink

PLEASE DO

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 June 2015 15:59 (two years ago) Permalink

Pretty sure col would be. Turrican, Tim Ellison, Doctor Casino for sure.

Might be best to circumscribe a time period though.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 June 2015 16:00 (two years ago) Permalink

i don't want to be in charge of it. i would listen and chime in though...

scott seward, Friday, 5 June 2015 16:01 (two years ago) Permalink

I've done EJ and Don 'n' Glenn. I'm done.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 June 2015 16:03 (two years ago) Permalink

macca yes!!!!! he's perfect for one of these.

fact checking cuz, Friday, 5 June 2015 16:29 (two years ago) Permalink

'Venus and Mars' thru 'Press to Play' would work (11-12 years' worth)

Jeff W, Friday, 5 June 2015 16:36 (two years ago) Permalink

no pressure or anything. i just saw this yesterday and i was like man i don't even remember some of these coming out:

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/paul-mccartney-albums-ranked/

scott seward, Friday, 5 June 2015 16:49 (two years ago) Permalink

now see that's the kind of eccentricity I can get with: Back to the Egg and Flaming Pie in the top ten!

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 June 2015 16:57 (two years ago) Permalink

jesus, he's made some bad album covers hasn't he?

fact checking cuz, Friday, 5 June 2015 17:27 (two years ago) Permalink

you'd think someone in his position would be more....careful? like, if his discography were 6 or 7 really great records of the best tunes he could come up with spaced out over a period of decades...he could be scott walker.

scott seward, Friday, 5 June 2015 17:45 (two years ago) Permalink

i dunno, i guess he can't help himself. and he can do whatever the hell he wants and that can be a problem sometimes.

scott seward, Friday, 5 June 2015 17:46 (two years ago) Permalink

He likes to work. Says he takes the tube to his office every morning.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 June 2015 17:47 (two years ago) Permalink

i respect quantity. artists should be ... making art!

fact checking cuz, Friday, 5 June 2015 17:50 (two years ago) Permalink

plus, i take that back about scott. he's made like 15 albums.

scott seward, Friday, 5 June 2015 17:58 (two years ago) Permalink

i don't know if i respect quantity. you can be making stuff and not presenting it all to the public. but i guess if you're happy with it, why not? just seems like he's made a lot of records that aren't remembered by a lot of people beyond hardcore beatle/paul people.

scott seward, Friday, 5 June 2015 18:01 (two years ago) Permalink

i've always believed that the very act of making music and actually releasing it, which is to say forcing yourself not only to make it but to complete it, tends to make your music better. i'm sure there are plenty of exceptions, but in general i've found that the artists i like the most tend to do their best work when they're working fastest.

fact checking cuz, Friday, 5 June 2015 18:41 (two years ago) Permalink


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