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129 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
Since I purchased a Super Audio CD player (SACD) about six months ago, I've been disappointed by most of the surround sound mixes I've heard. It's true that remixing a recording that was originally prepared for two-channel stereo into 5.1 surround does create a different performance. So? The original stereo mix is still available (and with the two-layer "hybrid" format...
Published on November 28, 2003 by Kindle Customer

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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD is severely edited
Since I already own 11 versions of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road on CD, I bought the boxed set for the sole purpose of owning a legitimate DVD version of Bryan Forbe's documentary "Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye To Norma Jean and Other Things".

For some reason, I remember when the original documentary aired on ABC in late 1974, it ran for 90 minutes...
Published 8 months ago by LEONARD HERMAN


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129 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, November 28, 2003
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Since I purchased a Super Audio CD player (SACD) about six months ago, I've been disappointed by most of the surround sound mixes I've heard. It's true that remixing a recording that was originally prepared for two-channel stereo into 5.1 surround does create a different performance. So? The original stereo mix is still available (and with the two-layer "hybrid" format used here, it's readily accessible). As a result, most multi-channel mixes are fairly timid, placing the voice in the center speaker and perhaps daintily tossing a few stray ambient sounds into the rear speakers. When I buy a SACD, I want to hear something daring, something adventurous, in other words... something I haven't heard before.

On this new mix of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", the producer has pulled out all the stops and created a powerful, knock-your-socks-off reinterpretation that really deserves to be called "surround sound." Bold, vibrant music surges into all five speakers from the opening organ notes of "Funeral For A Friend", and the action never lets up until the last note of "Harmony."

This demonstrates the advantages and disadvantages of surround sound re-mixes. On the plus side, you hear details that were buried before; backing vocals, guitar parts, and other dynamics leap out at you. This was always a lush recording, but you can now appreciate some of the ingredients more fully.

The downside, of course, is that some passages sound quite different from what you're used to. The opening of "I've Seen That Movie, Too," for example, is almost unrecognizable, as the guitars are much more prominent and even threaten to drown out Elton's piano. Perhaps the producer went a bit too far... but the original stereo mix is right there (and plays on SACD or ordinary audio CD players). "Yellow Brick Road" has been released several times on CD but it's never sounded this good. (We're back, however, to the two-disc format of the first CD issue.)

If you have a surround sound system, don't even think about it. Buy this disc. If you have a regular stereo CD and just need a copy of this record, this is the edition to get.

The DVD contains a 50 minute "making of" program that's fascinating and adds to the value of the package which is admittedly steep. Take note, however, that a more complete version of this video, running to 90 minutes, has been previously released separately on DVD, and the additional 40 minutes are well worth seeing. (I never realized that Nigel Olsson, Davy Johnstone, and Dee Murray did most of the backing vocals; their three-part harmonies rival anything by CSN.)

Note: This release is now available on DVD-Audio. This contains the same surround-sound mix as the SACD. DVD-Audio, with its greater storage capacity, is a single-disc release. The SACD, by contrast, is a two-disc set; however, unlike DVD-Audio, SACD can be copied onto ordinary CDs for car or portable stereo. Sound quality is virtually the same for both formats.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best, even better!, February 19, 2007
By 
Benjamin (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This is a celebration for music fans. The best CD by Elton John, even better. One of the best albums of all times and among my Top 20 favorite albums of all time. The album hit #1 in the Billboard Pop List in 1973. This is the Deluxe edition on SACD Surround Sound. The remaster of the audio is outstanding and will blow you away! This edition comes with a DVD (The Making of GYBR) that lasts about 50 minutes. This is the film that was previously published on DVD in the collection Classic Albums. If you already have this DVD, you can buy the CD SACD separately for $29,00. If you don't, I strongly recommend you to get the "whole package." The film tells the inside story of the making of this classic album with archive footage and interviews from Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson, Gus Dudgeon (producer of the original album), etc. The documentary has many terrific moments. To me, the best one is when Elton John is singing Candle in the Wind in honor of the Princess Diana. GYBR was released as a double album. CD1 contains the first 8 songs of LP1. CD2 contains the other 9, plus 4 bonus tracks, one of them Candle in the Wind acoustic, previously unreleased. The packaging is gorgeous with a booklet that contains a presentation by John Tobler, the original art work with lyrics, and some drafts of some lyrics. I had the original album on CD already, but went ahead and bought this edition and I am completely and absolutely satisfied. No regrets! The only problem is that this is expensive. But honestly, I am a collector and I appreciate the record company for releasing this so beautifully. If we don't buy this gems, record companies will stop doing this and then we'll go back to the complaints that the music industry sucks today. This is how CD's should be. Great music, great lyrics, great art work, packaging and sound! This is a MUST for any collector. 5 Stars, 10 over 10!

P.S. If you like my review vote YES. You can read all my other reviews if you wish to. I modestly write them to help people form an opinion about movies, music and books, but if nobody reads them (if you don't vote I do not know if you did) there is no point in writing them.
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88 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even hardcore Elton fans will agree, this is his topper, October 21, 2002
By 1973, Elton John & Bernie Taupin had already logged enough hits to become a part of rock history, but even as their fanbase continued to grow, they hadn't yet reached their peak. When HONKY CHATEAU became Elton's first #1 album in 1972, it proved that he was not just someone FM radio played all the time, even AM listeners (and the biggest single-buyers) had taken notice as well. Continuing with the breakneck pace of his early `70s days, Elton turned up DON'T SHOOT ME I'M ONLY THE PIANO PLAYER early in '73 & won his first #1 single with "Crocodile Rock". Whether or not, Elton & Bernie had a sudden burst of creativity or wanted to give their fans more bang for their buck, they decided to make the next LP a double, which as rock history has dictated many times before, is almost a no-win situation. Rarely has a double album been great with every single song & needless to say, Elton & Bernie's certainly wasn't. But even their lesser songs were still darn good, making GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD not only their crowning achievement, but a good example of how a double album should be made.
Right from the grandiose opener, Elton & Bernie certainly did their homework on the ways of a double album. "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" shows the influence of progressive rock on music of the time with its spacey synthesizer intro (not done by Elton) before leading into the piano-pounding rocker that details the end of a love affair in musical terms. Naturally, this had to have made one hell of an opener in Elton's concerts of this period & even when you just listen to it now, you can almost hear the possibilities for a stage performance of this song.
After that opening, ROAD takes the listener on many twists & turns through just about every conceivable genre of music that inspired Elton & Bernie throughout their careers up until that point. They namecheck reggae on "Jamaica Jerk-Off" (which sure is catchy, but not one you listen to a lot), R&B on the #1 hit "Bennie & The Jets" (it was also a hit on R&B stations, as well), Stones-based rock & misogyny on "Dirty Little Girl", more prog rock on the Yes-inspired "Grey Seal" & 1950s rock on "Your Sister Can't Twist [But She Can Rock & Roll]" (best when played as a segue to "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting"). Occasionally, some songs sound better musically than lyrically, but you'd be a fool not to enjoy yourself either way.
But through all the genre experiments, there are still the perfect melodies & intelligent lyrics that have always been Elton & Bernie's fortes & ROAD still has plenty of those to spare. These include the #2 hit title track, the Marilyn Monroe tribute "Candle In The Wind" (a song that sounds good in both versions, believe it or not!), the heartbreaking closer "Harmony" (which has just that, beautiful harmonies equal to the Beach Boys) & cinematic epics like "I've Seen That Movie Too", "Ballad Of Danny Bailey [1909-34]" & "Roy Rogers".
Even with the hectic schedule Elton & Bernie put themselves on back in the 1970s, maybe a panoramic statement like GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD didn't seem all that impossible. But the fact it was Elton's second album of the year made it all the more astounding. With 3 major hit singles (the title track, "Bennie & The Jets" & "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting") & considerable airplay for about all the other songs on here, ROAD's runaway success was more than justified. While the follow-up would indicate maybe the duo had written themselves out, GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD still showed Elton John & Bernie Taupin at the top of their respective games & even today, it's something they should still be enormously proud of.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Benchmark 5.1 SACD, April 3, 2004
This was the first album I bought when I was 8 years old, and started me on a 30 year journey of music exploration. Amazingly, this album has stayed with me all these years, through worn-out vinyl to target double-CD to remastered CD to MFSL Cd and now, finally, to hybrid SACD. I say finally, because without a doubt this is the definitive version of this classic. To my ears, this is a benchmark multichannel SACD to which all others should be compared.
I'll skip right over the CD and SACD stereo layers and move right to a review of the 5.1 mix. This is an extraordinary mix. EJ's vocal is anchored in the center channel, with some bleed into the FL and FR, and unlike a lot of the early 5.1 mixes I've heard, his voice isn't overwelmed by the other speakers, but instead stands at the front of the mix just as it should. Davey Johnstone's legendary guitar sound is given a lot of space through the fronts and surrounds, Nigel Olsson's drums are more distinct and real than previous releases and the late, great Dee Murray gives the LFE channel a work out with his fluid bass lines. Add to that the ambient crowd noise on Bennie & the Jets and the until now indecipherable Jamaican dialogue on Jamaican Jerk-Off, and all-in-all you have a magnificent example of what 5.1 SACD can bring to the table.
I use this disc to show off my 5.1 system, especially for folks who are familiar with the album, and I have yet to find anyone who isn't impressed with the sound of the SACD. Buy it!!!
p.s. I have the version with the bonus DVD. It's interesting, but not worth the extra [money]. Only for the real EJ freaks like me.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That "Classic Years" tag is no hype!, June 29, 2001
By A Customer
This album has incredible staying power after 28 years. First off, most of the songs here are some of John/Taupin's best--not just the hits, but less known stuff like "I've Seen That Movie, Too," "Roy Rogers," "Harmony" and "Your Sister Can't Twist." Second, this is a great ALBUM---the sequencing works perfectly, particularly when the primo songs are placed in such a way as to buoy up some of the lesser material (EXAMPLE: The title track and "Grey Seal" bracket the mediocre "This Song Has No Title" and this helps give that song more bite than it probably would have in a different place in this collection). Finally, it serves to remind people what a great rock musician Elton John was. Hard to believe when you hear his current output, but this guy got down with the best of them, whether in rockers or on ballads (Elton's terrific band with Davey Johnstone on guitar, Nigel Olsson on drums and the late Dee Murray on bass sure helped him, too!). If you want to be reminded that the pre-punk Sevenites really did have their moments of pop music glory, this album will do it!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than it ought to be (and other things), March 25, 2014
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By now, anybody checking out this listing will already be familiar with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, so this will be more a review of the overall package than of the album itself—though I will say that it is still Elton John's best album.

The remastering of the album proper is better than it ought to be. After pressing 'play', I was surprised that I didn't immediately have to turn the volume down to counter slabs of brickwalled sound (it's still louder than the 1992 remaster, but not as much as the 1996 remaster). A quick rip of 'Bennie and the Jets' showed waveforms with actual contour, and no signs of clipping—a very nice surprise, indeed. That means you should be able to listen to the album at a decent volume without suffering from ear fatigue before you get to side 2 of the original LP.

The 'Revisited & Beyond' disc is a bit of a puzzler. To be fair, it has been noted that there was little unreleased material from the sessions left in the vaults, but the covers still seem unnecessary. That most of the covers aren't bad (except for the sloppy hip-hop rendering of 'Bennie and the Jets') doesn't make up for that. As for the actual Elton John material that is included on the disc, most of it appears to have been included on the 30th Anniversary Edition (which I skipped). But what really appears odd is the inclusion of 'Philadelphia Freedom' and 'Pinball Wizard', both of which were released in 1975—well after the Caribou album, and a few weeks ahead of Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.

Discs 3 and 4 contain a concert recorded at London's Hammersmith Odeon by the BBC. It's too bad this wasn't released back in the '70s; it's easily superior to the highly polished Here and There live album (one of those 'contractual obligation' releases)—and you still get Ray Cooper's 'duck call' solo in 'Honky Cat'.

For most folks, disc 5 will be the reason to opt for this edition. Disc 5, of course, is a DVD of the 1973 documentary Elton John & Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye Norma Jean and Other Things, which has never been available on home video before now. Long-time fans (in the US, anyway) will probably remember the documentary from its screening as a special episode of ABC's In Concert. The video is surprisingly fuzzy; without updated credits, it is unclear how much (if any) work was done to clean it up for video release. It's also surprisingly short (45 minutes)—but then the aforementioned In Concert was a 90-minute program.

The documentary itself is still entertaining. There are plenty of concert clips (including the intro from the famous Hollywood Bowl concert) for those who want to hear the music, footage shot during the recording of the album, and interview segments with. In the interviews, Elton John comes off as quite humble and self-deprecating, even as he expresses some lofty ambition ('I'd like to become a legend…').

The 100-page hardcover book that accompanies the package is quite nice. There's a decent essay, lots of photos, and (of course) the song lyrics. It's nicely put together; if sold as a stand-alone item, it could probably sell for half the price of the full box set.

The book is also frustrating in spots. (1) The song lyrics are interspersed throughout the book—interrupting the essay—and, though the accompanying illustrations from the LP are kept, the lyrics themselves are printed only in black, and all in Gill Sans (or a similar typeface), instead of the different-color typewriter typeface used on the original LP. (2) The essay does not have a clear ending. After reading what turned out to be the last page, I expected more to follow—only to get 40 pages consisting mostly of photos of Elton John's Bob Mackie-designed stage costumes instead. (3) The credits are woefully inadequate. With this kind of 'super deluxe' treatment, one would expect to see information on original release dates and catalog numbers at least. Plus there's nothing to explain the connection of 'Philadelphia Freedom' or 'Pinball Wizard' to the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road story.

Quibbling aside, Universal kept the album proper to a single disc this time, included lots of material for the price, and gave the set nice packaging. It even sounds good. But it's the inclusion of the documentary that made this a must-buy for me.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of Rock's Greatest Albums, October 19, 2001
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has to be the most quintessential Elton John album. It's the one mentioned and talked about the most. It should be. It is the best double album. Although, in today's world, this 17 song collection probably wouldn't be considered a double album. It starts off with one of the greatest album openers ever, "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding". A classic all the way. This album has a number of Elton's most recognized hits - "Bennie And The Jets", The great "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting", and the original, and still best, version of "Candle In The Wind". There are more great tracks here that are just as good. You get "Sweet Painted Lady", which is about prostitutes. Then you have the storysong "The Ballad Of Danny Bailey", which you wish Elton would play in concert. You get a number of great rockers like "Dirty Little Girl", "All The Young Girls Love Alice", and "Your Sister Can't Twist(But She Can Rock And Roll)", among others. But, the crowning jewel, is the highly underrated and horribly overlooked gem, "Harmony". It's the closing track and, without a doubt, the greatest Elton John song that was never a single. That's a crime if ever there was one. It's a great piece of music. The album also includes the rousing up tempo number "Grey Seal". The silliest track is a song called "Jamaica Jerk Off". It's fun and catchy, but silly. There you have it. The perfect Elton John album. The perfect rock album. This is Elton's Sgt. Pepper. A classic in every sense of the word.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD is severely edited, March 26, 2014
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Since I already own 11 versions of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road on CD, I bought the boxed set for the sole purpose of owning a legitimate DVD version of Bryan Forbe's documentary "Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye To Norma Jean and Other Things".

For some reason, I remember when the original documentary aired on ABC in late 1974, it ran for 90 minutes. Years later, I purchased a bootleg copy of the documentary and it was only 55 minutes long. I was hoping that this legal copy would be the complete movie and in better quality than the bootleg, but boy was I wrong.

Quality is only marginally better. But I suppose that was because it was transferred from a 40-year old film. But the total length of the movie was only 44 minutes, less than the bootleg and much less than the original airing.

I played the bootleg and the legal version side by side (one on the TV and the other on the computer). Missing from the legal version are:
1) Interviews with Dick and Stephen James, John Reid, and Elton's mother
2) Additional background on Bernie and Maxine Taupin, and Forbes quoting lines from Sixty Years On and I'm Going To Be A Teenage Idol
3) Performances of All The Girls Love Alice and Crocodile Rock
4) In the studio as Elton and the band listen to The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34)

To be fair, the legal version also contained scenes missing from the bootleg:
1) Elton talking about how kids don't listen to lyrics
2) Elton talking about his eating habits and how he particularly likes Indian food
3) Elton talking about his clothes

I am happy that this documentary has finally been released after 39 years, but when are we going to be entitled to see the whole thing?
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This Review Has No Title, April 6, 2014
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The odd 2 cents worth:
First off.... the best thing about this release is certainly the live show. The sound quality and mix are good with the piano more prominent than in the original radio broadcast. All the performances are the unedited originals, though some of the intros are from other shows for some reason (Candle..., Danny Bailey). And conspicuously absent are the references to the state of Elton's voice ("I have a dreadful cold - but I will stumble my way through everything and we will all have a good time. That is guaranteed, I hope".... "We're gonna do a song which you can help me out on 'cause I've got a dodgy voice - and it's called GYBR"). I guess they were hoping any first time listeners wouldn't notice. Hopefully they'll get around to releasing the '74 Hammersmith show at some point - he's certainly in better vocal shape for that one. And of course it would have been great to have heard some of the tunes that were undoubtedly on the set list that night which didn't make the broadcast. *Dreadful cold* notwithstanding, an hour and 40 min. is a bit short for an Elton gig, even for the early years.

The DVD.... (oh boy).... the version I taped off a formerly-entertaining cable music channel in '95 was considerably cut from the original showing, clocking in at about 52 min. And according to the note I had left with that copy, it was missing performances of Elderberry Wine, ....Alice, and Crocodile Rock (as well as more interviews?). This would have been compared with the audio tape I had made from the 90 min. network showing in '73/'74 (and whose location today is a bit of a mystery). So here we are in 2014, and this eagerly awaited finally-on-digital version gives us a whopping.... 45 min? I could understand, for perhaps Elton's personal reasons, the missing bits of commentary from his Mom, Dick James, or especially former manager John Reid, with whom there'd been a bit of legal action awhile back. But the performance footage, etc. which must've brought it all to at least 75 min. originally?.... major dropping of the ball. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that there was no closed captioning, as well. Anyway...

The contemporary covers and extras disc:.... there are just 3 of the covers that do anything for me - those by John Grant, Imelda May, and Zac Brown (Ed Sheeran's Candle... needs to be slowed down quite a bit). And if we're supposed to be shocked by Fall Out Boy's "old man's .... than a barrel full of monkeys" line - well I just get struck by it's *grammatical incorrectness*. I was hoping for more of a lasting impression from these, since 7 of the 9 were produced by singer/producer extraordinaire Peter Asher. Oh well. These tracks would've been a good choice for an *exclusive bonus* disc at your favorite local retailer type-of-thing, as opposed to being part of the actual release. And speaking on behalf of those who have also been listening from the beginning, I think a better bonus inclusion would have been Davey Johnstone's solo LP from '73, Smiling Face, especially since it's only cd release (from '03) has been out of print for years now. It's got Elton's harmonium on one track, Nigel, Dee, and Ray Cooper on much of the rest, and was produced by Gus Dudgeon. (Recently added my thoughts to it's amazon listing, where you can pay upwards of $100 for it if you're so inclined). As for the bonus tracks portion.... it's a real head-scratcher as to why they would be compelled to include Whenever You're Ready fading in and out from 2 other tracks as it was heard on the Lady Samantha compilation - especially since it's been re-released properly on at least 3 other collections (Rare Masters, to be Continued, and the '95 release of Don't Shoot Me). It's here because it was originally on the b-side of Saturday... (along with Jack Rabbit), but without the fades, of course. And Philadelphia Freedom and Pinball Wizard.... what the ??.... they were both about a year and a half from seeing the light of day, with Caribou in the interim. Relevance? Aside from the Grey Seal demo, the only gem here for me is the acoustic Candle.... Now that's good stuff.... didn't they have any other options as far as remixes, alternate takes, etc? How 'bout some *backing track only* action on Love Lies Bleeding, or Bennie and the Jets without the studio-added *live concert* track? I know the *new* mix of Candle... was on the 30th Ann. edition as well - I didn't spring for that one since I'd already gotten the DVD from that set separately. (Which reminds me - if anyone happens to know what the running time on that DVD is, I'd appreciate it if you'd pass that along. Just wondering if they made any cuts to that one as well).

The book:.... the other saving grace of the set (besides the concert, that is).... lots of good visual stuff - picture sleeves, articles, costumes etc., and an essay I don't need a magnifying glass to read. The only thing it could've used is some more info on the cover art/artist (Ian Beck - apparently still working these days).

Which brings me to the album itself.... kind of a moot point, paradoxically enough. Haven't actually listened to it yet. The one copy I got on cd over the years is the MFSL release, so I don't expect there to be any noticeable improvement here regarding sound quality. And another reason I didn't go for the 30th Ann. release was that I've never been interested in the whole *5.1 audio* thing, since most of my listening is done with headphones and I don't expect to grow another 3.1 ears anytime soon. (Must've been a reason Quadrophonic didn't catch on back then). So all in all I'd like to give this whole kit and kaboodle a 5 out of 10, but since 1/2 stars aren't an option it has to be a 2, based on the chopping up of the film and on what the covers/ bonus disc could have been. But for those of you who are nowhere near receiving your AARP card, have no previous recollection of the Bryan Forbes film, and are more inclined to want to listen to acts that can make the pop charts in the 21st century.... by all means ignore 90% of this and enjoy.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elton John's Best, August 7, 2004
By 
Dr Jeremy Buddle (Battery Point, Tasmania Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
One of the most famous records in rock history, Elton John's 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road represents the pinnacle of Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin's ascent of the ladder of "success". It was a record that saw Elton's 6-year solo career peak commercially (the album was a #1 hit almost everywhere simultaneously in late 1973) but also critically - people were genuinely excited, moved and inspired by the songs on this collection then as now, and rock critics at the time praised Goodbye... as the ultimate Elton John collection. Although its 17 songs cover a diverse range of styles and subjects, there is a general sense of the album being part of the entertainment industry "dream machine" -that is , the songs are somewhat idealised, even romanticised snapshots of life as seen through the eyes of Elton and Bernie (two unabashed fans of modern, chiefly American, popular culture). Here, references to TV, film and pop culture abound - from the album's cover, which shows a satin-clad Elton stepping through a cartoon bill poster into a fantasyland depicting the fabled Yellow Brick Road from the beloved L. Frank Baum Tales of Oz stories. This sets the mood of the album.

The 17 songs include some of his greatest ones. I'll start with the terrific opening track : Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding. This is an inspired piece of music. What a surprise it must have been to have been an avid Elton fan in 1973, and to have spun this track for the first time - it is an 11-minute merger of an elegiac synth-keyboard instrumental with a rousing, rocking tale of the vagaries of the rock n' roll lifestyle, interspersed with driving guitar ,exciting choruses and a truly memorable coda. Everybody knows the song Candle In The Wind - it is a sensitive ballad about the tragic celebrity Marilyn Monroe. Despite its well-knownness, this song never fails to move me. Then we have Bennie And The Jets, a fun, escapist sort of song backed with "live" crowd noise dubbed in the studio. This was apt - it is a track that works very well live in concert (better than as the studio version) and gives Elton free rein to display his extravagant piano-playing talents and showmanship. It's about a space-age female glam rock band!! Track 4 is the album's title tune - another great standard that features high harmony vocals, classic choruses and wonderful strings arranged by Del Newman (successor to original Elton album arranger Paul Buckmaster). At this point, we've only listened to one side of the 4 original vinyl LP sides and it's 4 classics in a row!!

This Song Has No Title is OK. Grey Seal is an interesting inclusion as you can hear the difference between the original 1970 version of this lyrically-intriguing song (which was an early B-side) and this fast, rocking version. The biggest difference between the two is Elton's vocal persona - here he is much more extroverted and flamboyant than he was in 1970, and he kicks this song into overdrive on the fadeout. The choice of the Caribbean to record the album (when things got tricky there, the players all decamped back to the Honky Chateau to finish the job) may have influenced the jaunty reggae rhythms of the lighthearted Jamaica Jerk-Off. The quiet, orchestrated ballad I've Seen That Movie Too was about betrayal, and closed the first half of the record on a sombre but impressive note.

Sweet Painted Lady is frankly about prostitutes in a seaside port, and is a languid tune. All The Young Girls Love Alice is also about one particular lonely "naughty girl" whose search for happiness ends in a sordid subway demise. This track really works well -it has a rocking intro, tempo changes, and a dramatic coda, with overlaid sound effects of sirens , noises etc. representing the protagonist's sad exit. Dirty Little Girl threatens to turn this side 3 into a catalogue of misogyny as it deals with an unclean "lower socio-economic" lady. Social Disease is sort of down at this stratum of society too - the character in the song is a lazy alcoholic good-for-nothing!! Bernie was obviously in an ornery frame of mind when he penned the lyrics for this part of the album!!

Whimsical nostalgia is represented by the slow country-styled tune Roy Rogers. I'm too young to have grown up with Cowboys and Indians on TV and Westerns and the Lone Ranger etc, but clearly these TV shows had a profound impact on people of Elton and Bernie's generation growing up in the 50's, so this would have meant a lot to 1973's record buyers. A real treasure here is the beautiful song Harmony. It did not become a hit, but as Elton says himself on the Classic Albums DVD that celebrated the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album in 2002, it was one of the best things on the album. It has, appropriately, wonderful harmonies and the classic Elton John chorus sound created by overdubbing backing vocals performed by the Elton John Band (Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson and Davey Johnstone).

The teenage pandemonium caused by Rocking Elton on his previous LP Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player was represented here by the showbizzy little rocker Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock And Roll), which sounds like a sequel to Crocodile Rock. It then leads into Elton's best-ever rock vocal performance on the tremendous Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting). This was one of those rock 'n roll songs where the players threw everything into the performance, holding nothing back. Elton's vocal sounds raw and he yells out the choruses in a way that he never would have tried doing earlier in his recording career while some of his early bashfulness remained. It is really exciting, and works well as a concert staple, often closing sets (particularly on a Saturday!)

The remastered CD has no bonus tracks owing to lack of space on the CD - the album out-takes /B-sides ended up on Don't Shoot Me... remastered edition instead.

A 5-star Classic Album if ever there was one!!
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Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John (Audio Cassette - 1996)
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