I Guess That's Why They Call It The Elton John Podcast
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Episode 19 - Early Cover Versions of Elton’s Music
It’s well known that Elton and Bernie spent their formative years trying to write hits for other artists, while trying to find their own voice. This episode tells the story of Elton and Bernie’s early years through the prism of those early cover versions. Included are the ’surprise’ number 3 hit in New Zealand in 1969, the song on the US Top 10 Gold album that gave them the breathing space they needed as they went about planning the second album, and the cover by a fellow songwriter, 50...
Episode 18 - Elton’s Anonymous Cover Versions - ft. Dana Gillespie
In his formative years as a session musician, in fact even after the recording of his third album, Elton earned some extra cash recording cover versions of the hits of the day, anonymously, for budget record labels. These long player albums retailed at around the same price as a regular single, and they would be rushed out to share the shelves with their ‘legitimate’ counterparts. Until the record labels worked out that they could make money by making compilations out of the actual...
Episode 17 - The New Routes of Davey Johnstone - 1971-73
The second of a two-part biography of Davey Johnstone’s early musical history. Davey’s range, and his scope for development, were apparent to all at his first Elton John session, for Holiday Inn. Elton wasn’t going to let a talent like Davey slip through his fingers. This episode takes in Davey’s astonishing work for Madman, Honky Chateau and Don’t Shoot Me, his early live work with the band, the sessions that he continued to do, and tracks from his solo album, released in 1973. Some...
Episode 15 - Ego at 40
24 months passed between the recording sessions for Crazy Water, and those for Elton’s next (major) single, the angry, jagged Ego. From the sound of the record, Elton hadn’t been able to find much solace in the interim. Ego twists with the energy of a tantrum. It’s dark and humourous, petulant and self-mocking, all at once. Backed with Flintstone Boy, a lightly subversive slice of queer country music, this single was Elton’s state of the nation address for Spring 1978, and a real artistic...
Episode 14 - The Songs They Gave Away
Elton wrote a lot of incredible music over the years, in fact, more than he needed at some points of his career. This is the story of the songs that Elton gave away, either by design, or by default. Two of Elton’s demos are featured - both of them are significant upgrades in terms of sound quality over what generally circulates.
Episode 13 - I’ve Been Loving You Baby (For Precisely 50 Years)
50 years ago today, on the 1st of March 1968, a 20-year-old Elton released his first solo single, ‘I’ve Been Loving You Baby’, on Philips. Today’s episode is an all-encompassing celebration of that moment, telling the story through the people around Elton, and the music they were making at the time. Two practically impossible rarities are included to mark the moment.
Episode 11 - The Greatest Covers
If you like Elton John songs, then you’ll probably like these relatively obscure renditions of Elton John songs, by musicians who tried to do something original with the material.
Episode 10 - The One - 25 And A Half Years On
Elton came back from rehab stronger than ever at the end of 1991. Here, in review, is the album that he brought back from the brink with him. The context, the music, the lyrics, the instrumentation - it’s all given the analysis it deserves in this episode.
Episode 8 - Dee Murray Love-In
Dee Murray was a truly innovative force in the Elton John band. In this episode I look at what made him special, from the jigsaw puzzle of ideas that Dee and Elton threw around in the 3-piece band; taking in the almost-soul of Philadelphia Freedom; and beyond, into the 1980s. A biographical, loving, and detailed look at the work of the man that made the music we love even lovlier. Homemade bass transcriptions from YouTube are used throughout to highlight the parts – thank you so much...
Episode 6 - Cool As Christmas - Collaborations That Make Elton Cooler
Elton’s not always seen as a particularly cool musician to be a fan of. Lots of well-respected artists have no problem associating themselves with him though. In this episode, I go through those collaborations and connections, and pick out the ones, some more obscure than others, which, I feel, elevate Elton’s position as an innovative creative force.
Episode 4 - It Was 40 Years Ago Today, Grumpy Elton Sacked The Band On Stage
This is the story of the band that Elton essentially sacked, live on stage, entirley out of the blue. 40 years ago, Elton played a charity gig at Wembley Pool. The band were expecting him to announce that he was going out on tour again, with them as his backing band. A very different announcement was made. In this episode we work out what led Elton to make that decision. Here’s a picture of the band in question. Here’s the setlist.fm page for the night. Here’s the full show on YouTube.
Episode 2 - Buckmaster Before Elton
This episode takes you back to the 2nd of November 1969, to a Miles Davis gig, at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club, where Elton met a 23 year old Paul Buckmaster for the first time. How did Buckmaster get to be the guest of Miles Davis that night? What was the musical background of this graduate of the Royal Academy of Music? I take you on a musical journey through Buckmaster’s early arrangements and his earliest ‘cello performances on vinyl.