Friday, June 20, 2008

bennie and the jets

bennie & the jets ?

Anonymous last week requested Elton John's "Rocket Man". The writing on SibLINGSHOT may often resemble a hospital radio dj's hokey-doky script, but I can assure you I am far too contrary to so readily oblige.

Lest you get the impression, though, that I am immune to Sir Elton's unique brand of FM slop allow me to set the record straight.

Partly in response to Emmett's posting of "Are You Ready For Love" from "The Complete Thom Bell Sessions" over on Art Decade here's a personal favourite from slightly earlier days. Recorded at the Château d'Hérouville in Pontoise, France - where he had previously recorded "Honky Chateau" and "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player" - here's a defining AOR moment from Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Any allusion to Benzedrine is no doubt strictly intentional.

ELTON JOHN: BENNIE & THE JETS from "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" LP (DJM) 1973 (UK)



Mike said...

This songs reminds me so much of the classic rock radio stations we used to have over on this side of the pond. Actually, they might still exist, though I don't know why. Their playlists had enough music for about 17 hours.
Have you ever heard the Beastie Boys version? It's pretty hilarious.

ib said...

Yo, Mike! The Beastie Boys version is nice. You know instinctively that they're coming from the same place... growing up listening to this on AOR stations, or - just as plausibly - on their mom and dad's in car 8-track.

Anonymous said...

Not unlike the Doors, Elton's good name was somewhat soiled by overexposure, I feel.

Rocket Man and Levon are two of my early Elton faves... and Bennie of course. What a hook!

A bar I was at last night played the Tumblewood Connection LP in its entirety. Pretty classy.

Your driver said...

This is one of two Elton John songs that I kind of like. Strangely, it is the only Elton John song that ever had a significant number of Black fans. It was a minor hit on soul stations in Detroit. Might have been a regional phenom though. "Burning Love" by Elvis Presley had a Black fan base in Oakland, California, but was a strictly white folks song every where else that I know of.

ib said...

Emmett, I buy your assertion regards overexposure, the difference being that Jim Morrison pegged out before the Doors hit a major slump.

I don't really rate anything by Elton that highly after 1976.

I like "Rocket Man" too, of course.

Elton John was resident drummer at the Glasgow Barrowlands dance hall in the late 60's.

ib said...

Jon: Interesting background to "Bennie" with the black fan base in Detroit.

It's a big like "Young Americans" era Bowie - "Jon, I'm only dancing"!

Your driver said...

I've never been able to figure out why some particular white artist will become popular with Black audiences. Back in the sixities there was a lot of talk about "blue eyed soul". The Rascals were an enormously popular New York band with a strong blue eyed soul bent. They were ignored by Black audiences until they released "People Got To Be Free". That was a huge hit on Black radio.

Then there's artists who have an almost exclusively Black audience.
Curtis Mayfield was, in my estimation, a genius, but he had almost no white fans, while his peer, Stevie Wonder was a gigantic crossover success.

Then there's the stories I could tell about coming back from New York with an arm full of 12 inch rap singles. I was convinced that rap was Black punk rock and that it would be the next big thing. For once I was right, but when I tried playing those records for Midwestern punk rockers the reaction was pretty hostile.