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I Guess That's Why They Call It The Elton John Podcast

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Location:

United Kingdom

Language:

English


Episodes

Episode 32 - Mysteries of Elton

7/22/2019
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Welcome aboard the Mystery Machine, as we take a Flight of Fancy into the unknown corners of Elton's musical world. In this episode, I investigate the spookiest, dustiest corners of discogs, I search for the bootlegs that don’t even exist in our reality, and I uncover the songs that live only in the memories of people who say that they have heard them. Several pieces of music, where the level of Elton’s involvement is disputed, are played in the episode. You can listen to the songs again,...

Duration:01:03:01

Episode 31 - Empty Sky at 50

6/17/2019
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Empty Sky, Elton’s debut album, and also his most honest, laid-back sounding set of songs, hit the shelves 50 years ago this month. It didn’t make much impact at the time, but it is greatly loved, both by fans, and by the people that created it. This episode tells the story of the album through interviews with the gang of ‘lost boys’ who were credited on the sleeve – Elton, Bernie, Caleb, Steve Brown and David Larkham. In the process, their musical influences are identified, the lyrics are...

Duration:02:05:19

Episode 30 - Listening Session with Peter Thomas

4/17/2019
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You are invited to a very special listening session and conversation with Peter Thomas, the preeminent Elton John collector and archivist. Peter Thomas, in his role as founder of monitor and speaker company PMC, has worked with the finest studios, mastering houses and broadcasters in the world. He has a passion for sound quality, and this extends into his hobby, which is researching and collecting Elton's earliest and most obscure recordings. In this episode you will get to hear some...

Duration:01:55:13

Episode 29 - Top of the Charts with a ROCKET, ft. The Lambrettas

3/5/2019
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This episode counts down the 15 biggest non-Elton singles on Rocket, and in the process, tells the story of the label, attempts to define the Rocket sound (spoiler - there isn’t one), and draws out the connections with Elton’s music, where these exist. The chart itself can be viewed here. Thanks to Doug Sanders from The Lambrettas, who was interviewed for this episode, and gave some wonderful insight into what it was like to be the most successful Rocket artist (apart from Elton perhaps) at...

Duration:01:36:45

Episode 28 - Alternate Versions, Mixes and Edits

2/18/2019
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This episode revels in the obscure, picking up the curios in the discography, studying them, and making an attempt at explaining them. Here are the early versions, the erroneous edits that never should have been heard, the remixes, the rough mixes and the acoustic mixes. The highlight of this episode, for me, is the mono mix of Hymn 2000, which is played in full. Empty Sky in mono is so rare, it was thought for years not to exist at all. You will have heard some of these, I'm sure, but I...

Duration:02:15:39

Episode 27 - Breaking Down 'Passengers'

2/4/2019
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This is the story of Elton's personal redemption, through the prism of the song 'Passengers', the UK top 5 hit single with the unique songwriting credit - Elton, Bernie, Davey and South African musician Phineas Mkhize. This episode follows Elton from the lows of being placed on the UN's cultural blacklist in 1983, for playing at Sun City, to the highs of being recognised as Harvard's 'Man of the Year' for his charity work, particularly in Africa, in 2017. At the heart of the episode is an...

Duration:00:59:35

Episode 26 - Rare Masters Vol. 2 (Part 2)

1/21/2019
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In this episode, I finish going through the imaginary box-set. First, I detail all of the non-album tracks that were released between 1984 and 1990 (CD3 of the collection that I have programmed), and I then go on to discuss the rarities that might find their way onto Rare Masters Vol. 2 (annexed off onto CD4). If you're inspired enough to get some of your singles out, to see how they compare against the transfers I've used in this episode, let me know how it turns out. I would love to hear...

Duration:01:35:42

Episode 25 - Rare Masters Vol. 2 (Part 1)

1/7/2019
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The Elton John Podcast with the unwieldy name goes where the record company dare not go - Rare Masters Vol. 2. We all loved the first volume when it came out, and many of us have been going grey waiting for the next instalment. It didn't look like it was going to happen, so I've just gone ahead and done it. All of the non-album A and B-sides recorded between 1976 and 1990 have been collected and collated, and three wonderful CDs are the result. Unfortunately it's not actually available -...

Duration:02:01:10

Episode 24 - David Larkham Interview

11/19/2018
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Another treat - an interview with David Larkham – the man who controlled the visual element of the classic albums, liaising with Steve Brown, Bernie, Elton and others to bring their ideas to life. David was there at Steve Brown’s house in 68/69 with Bernie and Elton, hanging out; he was there at the Troubadour, taking photos; he was out there in Jamaica, waiting for the studio to be ready like everyone else; on tour; in Caribou… You name it – he was there. He’s still involved in bringing...

Duration:01:20:34

Episode 23 - Bernie's Auction - What We've Learned

10/30/2018
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In this episode, I attempt to play (and sing in one case) the three ‘new’ songs from 1967 that have come to light via Bernie’s upcoming auction. I also go through the working lyrics that Bernie is selling in New York on the 9 of November, and talk about what they tell us about Bernie’s process. You can currently download the pdf featuring the lyric sheets here (click on the download arrow at the bottom of the page).

Duration:00:56:07

Episode 22 - Caleb Quaye Interview

10/19/2018
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I was lucky enough to be able to spend more than an hour in the company of the brilliant Caleb Quaye. Without Caleb, there would be no Elton John as we know him. He got Elton and Bernie the gig with Dick James, and it was his audacious approach to using Dick James' studio that made it possible for Elton to take his first, extraordinary musical steps there in 1967 and 1968. His guitar work is legendary - the man is essentially a virtuoso - and it's his playing that makes those first four...

Duration:01:54:20

Eppsisode 21 - Stuart Epps Interview

9/23/2018
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Stuart Epps is Elton John royalty! He was a huge part of the team that worked together to bring Elton out from the sidelines of Tin Pan Alley, into megastardom. He saw that process first hand, working in a variety of different roles. Here he tells his story. Stuart's brand new audiobook can be ordered from his website. The rarity that I play in the episode is the Steve Brown produced version of 'Take Me To The Pilot' from Olympic Studios, recorded in something like August / September 1969.

Duration:00:55:40

Episode 20 - Elton's Buried Treasure vol. 2

9/15/2018
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In this episode the cake is unbaked, and every ingredient of the Elton John recipe is celebrated. Complex drum and percussion sounds are unpicked, backing vocals are highlighted, lead vocals are isolated, and previously buried piano tracks are brought to the surface. A few techniques are used. As well as the out of phase stereo technique, (used extensively in episode 1), I make use of isolated channels from the 5.1 surround sound remixes, as well as multitracks of some songs, breaking them...

Duration:00:51:49

Episode 19 - Early Cover Versions of Elton's Music

8/19/2018
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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...

Duration:01:17:13

Episode 18 - Elton's Anonymous Cover Versions - ft. Dana Gillespie

7/30/2018
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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...

Duration:01:21:13

Episode 17 - The New Routes of Davey Johnstone - 1971-73

5/14/2018
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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...

Duration:00:59:36

Episode 16 - The Folk Roots of Davey Johnstone - 1951-71

5/13/2018
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The first of a two-part biography of Davey Johnstone's early musical history. Just three years after getting his first guitar, a 14-year-old Davey could be found in folk clubs around Scotland, a class apart from the groups of seasoned musicians who welcomed him. At 17 he moved to London. He quickly found his home on the road and in the studio, where he was becoming an in-demand session player. I would like to thank the YouTube channel 'The Sessions' for very kindly giving me permission to...

Duration:01:08:21

Episode 15 - Ego at 40

3/20/2018
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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...

Duration:00:49:37

Episode 14 - The Songs They Gave Away

3/4/2018
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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.

Duration:01:18:54

Episode 13 - I've Been Loving You (For Precisely 50 Years)

2/28/2018
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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', 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.

Duration:01:02:00