on May 23, 2007
Good old Elton: spats with George Michael, agony aunt to the Beckhams, adopted daddy to Robbie Williams, songwriter on Billy Elliot's stage reinvention, not to mention his birthday's celebration.
It's a wonder the man, born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, has time for a pop career at all.
But what a colourful career it has been. Love him or loathe him, in terms of sales and lasting popularity the singer, with over three decades of back catalogue, has more than earned his superstar status.
Never a conventional looker with his Lily Savage specs and rug bouffant, John's ability to dip into soul, disco and country as well as classic pop and progressive rock on tracks such as "Tiny Dancer", "Rocket Man", "Your Song", "Sacrifice' and "I'm Still Standing", has made him a musical legend.
Through sales slumps and well-publicised fall-outs with lyricist Bernie Taupin, the music maestro has managed more comebacks than Cher's Farewell tour.
To mark the occasion of his 60th birthday, Elton John releases a special edition 2-disc edition that includes a bonus DVD featuring five promo videos spanning the last four decades and five prevously unreleased tracks from his legendary Red Piano Las Vegas show.
The main CD features 18 tracks of hits spanning the likes of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Candle In The Wind", including "Tiny Dancer" (the song that was immortalised by the filmmaker Cameron Crowe in his fictional rockumentary "Almost Famous").
The collection veers more towards his Seventies' work and mixes the ballads with the rowdier numbers such as "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting") and "I'm Still Standing".
Some of the tracks are overly sentimental, particularly the latter stuff, but there's no getting away from the quality of recordings such as "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" and "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be A Long Long Time)".
Fans will lap it up as part of the birthday celebrations, even though there's been a better "greatest hits" collection only few years ago.
But it's hard to begrudge such an enduring and popular artist his place in the limelight, particularly now that he's reached 60 years of age.
On the whole this is as solid a compilation as anyone who lacks a bit of Elton in their collection could wish for.
on April 5, 2007
Elton John - Number Ones
The Beatles did it. Elvis Presley did it. Even Mariah Carey did it, so why not Elton John? Each of the above artists released compact career retrospectives containing nothing but `number one' hits, and each has sold remarkably well, so it is understandable why the Universal Group would want to apply the same logic to Elton John. His career spans decades, and his track record on the pop charts is up there with the best, so a collection of `number one' hits is bound to be a successful business venture, but is it valuable to consumers? That depends on a number of factors.
If you have been a fan of Elton John for any length of time, then the odds are good that you already own most of the songs on "Number Ones." There have been numerous opportunities to own virtually every song featured here. Elton John's "Greatest Hits, Vol. 1" already featured "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Bennie & the Jets," "Daniel," "Crocodile Rock," "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (less George Michael), "Your Song," "Rocket Man," "Candle in the Wind" and "Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting). Greatest Hits Vol. 2 contains "Lucy in the Sky," Philadelphia Freedom" "Island Girl" and "Tiny Dancer". Between these two platinum-selling releases, all but four songs are covered. A later two-disk collection called "Greatest Hits 1970-2002" contains every track on "Number Ones" except the Beatles cover ("Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds"), and then goes on to include an additional seventeen tracks of hits, so the question really is, "Do we need this?"
A second point of consideration is the title itself. Calling an album "Number Ones" implies that every song peaked at the top of the charts, but a semi-bogus disclaimer appears after the first twelve songs that states "and other favorites". Apparently, John (or more accurately, Universal Records) didn't have enough number one hits to fill out a full-length disk, so they padded it with "other favorites." Among the twelve that are alleged to be "number ones", only seven of them topped the charts in the U.S., so they must be including European chart information as well. Unfortunately, I can't say for sure because the disk's booklet contains virtually no information or original artwork. My conclusion? If you somehow managed to get this far without buying any of the previous Elton John collections, then this is a succinct way to start. If you decide it's worthwhile, be sure to obtain the "Limited Edition" package, which contains a second disk of videos. Otherwise, "Number Ones" is redundant and perhaps a bit misleading as well. B Tom Ryan
In late March 2007, shortly after Elton John's 60th birthday, Universal Music released yet another of his "Best Of" compilations, which, surprisingly, became a nearly instantaneous smash hit on the Billboard Charts. But is it truly a surprise when, in the course of a forty-year long musical career, Elton John and his lyricists, most notably his long-time partner Bernie Taupin, have crafted some of the finest examples of pop songwriting craft? Of course not, and this "Best Of" compilation truly demonstrates some of the most elegant examples of that craft, emphasizing almost exclusively, his early halcyon days back in the early to mid 1970s when he was truly "Captain Fantastic", the reigning king of pop and rock and roll in America. "Rocket Man: Number Ones" includes twelve hit songs which were at the top of the charts in various categories - virtually all Billboard's - plus five additional songs which have been long-time favorites at Elton's live performances. This CD-only version of Elton's latest greatest hits compilation is quite desirable for its list of songs that emphasizes the legendary earliest phase of his decades-long career. Packed in eco-friendly foam packing, the CD is accompanied by a thin booklet that lists the songs, co-writers (Primarily of course, lyricist Bernie Taupin; only two songs aren't listed as having been written by Elton.), the songs' producers, and a cover of the albums from whence these songs were released originally (or subsequently appeared if they were released initially as stand-alone singles). Best of all, this is a "Best Of" compilation that's worth acquiring since the sound quality is much better than on virtually any of his previous "Greatest Hits" compilations.
The opening tracks are a musical return to the "dizzy heights" of Elton's storied career: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", "Bennie & The Jets", "Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock", which are still among the most popular long-time favorites at Elton's live performances. His absolutely brilliant cover version of The Beatles' "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", "Philadelphia Freedom", "Island Girl", "Don't Go Breaking My Heart (with Kiki Dee)", and "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" close out the legendary 1970s phase of his career on this CD. Surprisingly, only three hits recorded after 1976 are included, out of many potential choices; "Sacrifice", "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (with George Michael)", and "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" (co-written with lyricist Tim Rice originally for the Disney animated film "The Lion King"). Under the subheading "And Other Favorites", five classic songs from the 1970s serve as a musical bookend to this "Best of" compilation: "Your Song", "Tiny Dancer", "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be A Long, Long Time)", "Candle In The Wind", and "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)" (The last two songs were more popular in Great Britain than they were here in the United States at the time of their original release as hit singles back in the 1970s; in fact "Candle In The Wind" was the B Side of "Bennie & The Jets".).
on April 4, 2007
Only in 2002 Elton John released a double CD best of which included the worst also, tracks like "Nikita" and "Made In England".
Since then, the man's career has not exactly been as buoyant as the hype suggests. So, following several underperforming albums - here is yet another greatest hits collection.
Cannily, or should I say blatantly, released to coincide with his 60th Birthday Party Concert - this definitive hits album excludes the tracks you wish to forget. It also includes the average new single "Tinderbox".
There is no doubting that our Reginald has made some great music. Tracks like "Your Song" and "Tiny Dancer" are classics and all here. But you if you are a fan, you have got them numerous times.
The TV appearances and concerts showed that the voice has weakened over the years as has the stage presence.
The only thing that this album proves is that there is more to Elton John than being a friend of Liz Hurley's or Victoria Beckham.
But if you cringed your way through the TV special as the plastic celebs danced in the aisles - this Emperor's New Clothes Collection will not sway you.
Your best bet is to dig out your dusty version of the brilliant classic "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and weep.
on April 3, 2007
I think this has been done before, there was a best of set released after "Songs From The West Coast" came out. Now we got another one, with a DVD as a additional item to get buyers to buy this set. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Big Elton fan but "another" "Best Of" collection. If your really serious on getting this album, take the DVD performances & burn them to CD/mp3. those really are the only tracks worth buying this collection for in which all these other songs have been re-released many times before ;-) Search "Judemac Forever" on msn.
on March 31, 2007
All these songs are on previous Elton hits discs. The song selection is baffling, as Tiny Dancer and Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting never made "#1" on any chart. (Chill, fellow Eltonians: They are two of my favorites. I'm not saying they didn't deserve to be #1, just that they weren't.) I fear the future "Trivial Pursuit" questions that will be answered wrongly based on the misrepresentations here. "Sacrifice" was a surprisingly rare British #1 for EJ, but if that's here why not add the recent UK smash "Are You Ready For Love"? Is anything going on here except another chance to get Reg back on the "New Releases" display of your local mass merchant?
True, the added videos are nice and new to buyers. But what would actually be a NON-rip-off would be a complete collection of all (or most) of Elton's videos. Just as he overcame his admitted non-prettiness to become a beloved superstar in the '70's, Elton John thrived in the MTV era with one brilliant video after another. (In part, thanks to a lot of scantily-clad dancers, but you gotta do what you gotta do.) "I'm Still Standing" was the best, and that's included here, but "Sad Songs", "Nikita", "I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That", and "Believe" are only a few of his excellent videos unavailable on DVD, if at all.
Clearly Elton deserves a "#1's" CD more than Destiny's Child or "Mariah Carey", and as much as the Bee Gees. But it's hard to say who needs this, as I doubt the hip-hop and metal kids are really going to add this to their latest stack of purchases.
on April 6, 2007
I'm giving Elton John's Number Ones collection a 5-star rating because the quality of each and every song is high and NOT because I think it gives *complete* satisfaction to the listener. Come on, Elton John has WAY too many good songs to limit yourself to one collection of tunes. However, I'm surprised with some of these selections. "lucy in the sky with diamonds" and "island girl" being on the same collection with songs like "sacrifice" is a pretty cool and unexpected turn of events. Including the original version of "don't let the sun go down on me" is a nice touch as well. I have tons of respect for any collection featuring "don't go breaking my heart", probably one of his catchiest songs ever.
Of course, there's plenty of other classic songs that weren't included here that SHOULD have been. "someone saved my life tonight" probably being the biggest question mark. Where is it? I don't know if that song in particular reached number one, but the album title is misleading anyway because it doesn't focus entirely on number one hits, so the song should have been included.
Also, if you own classic Elton John albums from the early 70's, you already know that his biggest hits are most certainly NOT his best songs. That's the truth. You should probably seek those albums out first, such as Tumbleweed Connection and Captain Fantastic.
Elton John always does things big; and this CD/DVD set is no exception. This latest release covers all his biggest hits during his 35 year career. Although it claims to be comprehensive, Elton had so much success that many people will still wish this had included even more stellar songs than it already has! Indeed, there's simply not a loser in this bunch. Both the CD and the DVD give you nothing but a treasure trail of hit after hit after hit. Elton's recordings leave you excited and stunned at their beauty; and I dare you to be able to listen to the CD only once and then just put it away for good!
The CD starts off with twelve massive Elton John hits in chronological order: the track set begins with the classic "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." The sound is excellent, as it remains throughout the entire CD. "Bennie And The Jets" follows with an incredible beat; Elton's voice remains in excellent form here. The touching ballad "Daniel" continues the track set as Elton wishes his friend Daniel had not left him.
Other timeless hits--and truthfully, that would probably mean the whole album--include "Crocodile Rock;" this tune rocks hard as Elton laments a love gone awry. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" displays Elton's stupendous ability to make a cover of a Beatles song and yet infuse it with a certain flavor to make it his own. Awesome! "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" features a duet between Elton and George Michael; the crowd roars with delight as both artists have them in the palms of their hands.
The CD then gives us five bonus tracks to make this a very generous package. We get the beautiful ballad "Your Song" with its lush and very moving musical arrangement; and "Candle In The Wind" possesses equal sensitivity. "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be A Long, Long Time)" allows Elton the chance to sing about a love that goes wrong; and the CD ends incredibly strong with Elton's hardest ever rockin' song, "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)." "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting) is a timeless classic about youthful rebellion that any generation can appreciate. What a strong ending for the CD!
There's still more; the DVD gives us a generous portion of Elton's 2005 "Red Piano Show" in Las Vegas; and you also get five bonus videos made at various times during Elton's career. The "Red Piano Show" video lasts about 25 minutes; you get terrific clarity as you watch Elton at a red piano with his band knocking out such hits as "Bennie & The Jets;" "Candle In The Wind" and "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)" all with great videos playing on a giant screen behind Elton and the other performers. The bonus videos include an awesome "I'm Still Standing;" "Your Song" and "Tinderbox." "Tinderbox" boasts great special effects, too.
The liner notes include great art work and you get the full lyrics to each and every song on the CD. There is information about the DVD and a brief retrospective essay about Elton and his career as well.
Elton John is a living legend. Long after most "celebrities" have been buried and forgotten, people will still remember Elton John. Elton John possesses a singular talent for making people happy and letting them feel their sorrow through his songs. When Elton sings, you listen--and you listen closely, too, because Elton makes every syllable count as he emphasizes the exact sounds he wishes to emphasize for the right effect. We are immensely better off for Elton's sharing his genius with us; and I believe that his career will continue well into the future.
Obviously, Elton's fans will consider this a "must-have" for their collections; and people who enjoy great rock and pop will appreciate this CD/DVD package, too.
Rock on, rocket man!
on May 12, 2007
This CD is for the casual fan who wants to relive the hits. Elton at his finest for sure. These songs are all classics and have stood the test of time.
I loved the DVD as well. Some rare footage, even for the die hard fans. Also, the inclusion of the Red Piano clips is masterful. Elton's Vegas show has been a mega hit, and it's great to be able to get this sample on a DVD.
Additionally, the CD booklet is worth the price of admission. It's a wonderful trip down memory lane recapping Elton's career.
on June 1, 2007
This is a great collection for any EJ fan. Not only are all his best hits included, the videos are just as great! Anyone who calls themselves an Elton John fan should have this CD/DVD combo. The only better collection of his greatest hits would be if his 60th birthday concert was released as a live recording, either on CD or as a DVD.