Elton John - "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (DJM 1973)
Elton John's legendary double-album from 1974 covered nearly every kind of early '70s rock and pop you can imagine. Here's campy pop, hard rock, grandiose ballads, glam rock and yes, EVEN progressive rock. The 11-minute opener "Funeral for a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)" starts with a long and complex instrumental-passage with lots of symphonic synth-fanfares before turning into a catchy and powerful rock song at the end. The Mellotron, synths and Wakeman-ish piano in "Grey Seal" makes it sound like some progressive pop, although a bit more upbeat than what you normally would associate with that term. But four of the songs on the album are more famous than the other ones. First you have the touching tribute to Marilyn Monroe in "Candle in the Wind". "Bennie and the Jets" remains one of his very best pop-tunes with its irresistible piano-riff. The same goes for the title-track, which features one of his best melodies and some truly beautiful harmonies. "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" shows him from his most "rocking" side, but it really IS a catchy and good rock song. Other highlights includes the jazzy ballad "I've Seen That Movie Too" and the dramatic "The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34)". "Dirty Little Girl" sounds slightly like mid-tempo Alice Cooper from the same era. The surprisingly vulgar sexism of the lyrics reveals some rather schizophrenic views on women from lyricist Bernie Taupin. A symphonic country-ballad may seem like a tasteless idea on paper, but "Roy Rogers" works quite well. There are some disposable tracks here too, like the worthless nonsense of "Jamaica Jerk Off" and "Social Disease", but what would a double-album be without some filler? "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" belongs in any collection of classic '70s pop and rock.