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Elton John - Blue Moves

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Blue Moves

Elton John

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By 1976, the immense creativity that had spurred Elton John to record 11 studio albums in under seven years was beginning to show signs of inevitable fatigue. Although initially Blue Moves was summarily dismissed by both critics as well as longtime enthusiasts, the double LP has since gained considerable stature within John's voluminous catalog. While comparisons were inevitable to the landmark two-disc Goodbye Yellow Brick Road song cycle from 1973, most similarities in musical style and content end there. John's band had expanded to include the talents of James Newton Howard (keyboards, orchestral arrangements), Kenny Passarelli (bass), Roger Pope (drums), as well as long-time collaborator Caleb Quaye (guitar) and Davey Johnstone (guitar) and Ray Cooper (percussion) from the "classic" early-to-mid-'70s lineup. As the title suggests, Blue Moves is a departure from the heavier Rock of the Westies (1975). Instead, the album purposefully focuses on moodier and more introspective songs, such as the single "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" (the effort's sole hit), the achingly poignant "Tonight," and "Cage the Songbird." (The latter is particularly noteworthy, recalling the life of Edith Piaf in much the same way that "Candle in the Wind" had immortalized Marilyn Monroe.) "One Horse Town," which John briefly revived as a dramatic show opener during late-'80s live performances, is one of the album's most powerful and straight-ahead rockers. The lively string arrangement by Howard stands as one of the finest contributions to his short-lived tenure in this band, which for all intents and purposes dismantled after the album was recorded. Other standouts include the full-tilt gospel vibe of "Boogie Pilgrim," featuring backing vocals from both the Cornerstone Institutional Baptist and the Southern California choirs under the direction of Rev. James Cleveland, "Crazy Water," the haunting ballad "Idol," and the set's closing R&B vamp, "Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!)." While Blue Moves is a far cry from essential entries in the Elton John catalogue, the bright moments prove that he could still offer up higher than average material. It's also worth mentioning that this effort marked the end of John's initial collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin, who would resurface some three years later, albeit haphazardly on 21 at 33 (1979).
© Lindsay Planer /TiVo

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Blue Moves

Elton John

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1
Your Starter For...
00:01:23

Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Elton John, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Mandolin, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Cooper, Glockenspiel, Marimba, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caleb Quaye, Acoustic Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

2
Tonight
00:07:52

Bernie Taupin, Author - Elton John, Composer, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Conductor, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

3
One Horse Town
00:05:56

Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Buckmaster, Conductor, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Davey Johnstone, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Kurlander, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Cooper, Bells, Cymbals, Tambourine, Vibraphone, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caleb Quaye, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - The Martyn Ford Orchestra, Orchestra - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

4
Chameleon
00:05:27

Bruce Johnston, Vocal Arranger, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gene Morford, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ron Hicklin, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Earle Mankey, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Davey Johnstone, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Cooper, Percussion, Vibraphone, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jon Joyce, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cindy Bullens, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Caleb Quaye, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Curt Becher, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Toni Tenille, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

5
Boogie Pilgrim
00:06:05

Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brecker, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Randy Brecker, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Barry Rogers, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - David Sanborn, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Cooper, Tambourine, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Rev. James Cleveland, Conductor - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caleb Quaye, ComposerLyricist - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Howlett, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Cornerstone International Baptist And Southern Californian Choir, Choir

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

6
Cage The Songbird
00:03:25

David Crosby, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Earle Mankey, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Davey Johnstone, Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Graham nash, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Cooper, Bells, Cymbals, Percussion, Triangle, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Synthesizer, Mellotron, AssociatedPerformer - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caleb Quaye, Acoustic Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

7
Crazy Water
00:05:42

Bruce Johnston, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gene Morford, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Buckmaster, Conductor, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, Author - Elton John, Composer, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ron Hicklin, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Earle Mankey, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Davey Johnstone, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Cooper, Tambourine, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Clavichord, AssociatedPerformer - Jon Joyce, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cindy Bullens, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Caleb Quaye, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - The Martyn Ford Orchestra, Orchestra - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Daryl Dragon, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Toni Tenille, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

8
Shoulder Holster
00:05:09

Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brecker, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, Author - Elton John, Composer, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Randy Brecker, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Barry Rogers, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - David Sanborn, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Cooper, Tambourine, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Howlett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

DISC 2

1
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
00:03:48

Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, Author - Elton John, Composer, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Cooper, Vibraphone, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Conductor, String Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Carl Fortina, Accordion, AssociatedPerformer - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mark Howlett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

2
Out Of The Blue
00:06:14

Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, Composer - Elton John, Composer, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Cooper, Vibraphone, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caleb Quaye, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

3
Between Seventeen And Twenty
00:05:17

Bruce Johnston, Vocal Arranger, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Earle Mankey, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Davey Johnstone, Mandolin, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Chemay, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Cooper, Percussion, Tambourine, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Jon Joyce, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cindy Bullens, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Caleb Quaye, Acoustic Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Curt Becher, Vocal Arranger, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

4
The Wide-Eyed And Laughing
00:03:27

David Crosby, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Earle Mankey, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Davey Johnstone, Sitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Graham nash, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Cooper, Tom-Toms, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caleb Quaye, Acoustic Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

5
Someone's Final Song
00:04:10

Bruce Johnston, Vocal Arranger, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, Author - Elton John, Composer, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Earle Mankey, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Chemay, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Clark Burroughs, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Curt Becher, Vocal Arranger, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Toni Tenille, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

6
Where's The Shoorah?
00:04:09

Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, Author - Elton John, Composer, Piano, Vocals, Harmonium, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rev. James Cleveland, Conductor - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mark Howlett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Cornerstone International Baptist And Southern Californian Choir, Choir

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

7
If There's A God In Heaven (What's He Waiting For?)
00:04:25

Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Buckmaster, Conductor, String Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, ComposerLyricist - Elton John, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Davey Johnstone, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Kurlander, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Cooper, Tambourine, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caleb Quaye, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - The Martyn Ford Orchestra, Orchestra - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

8
Idol
00:04:08

Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brecker, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, Author - Elton John, Composer, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Randy Brecker, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Barry Rogers, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - David Sanborn, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Howlett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

9
Theme From A Non-Existent TV Series
00:01:19

Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, Author - Elton John, Composer, Harpsichord, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Mandolin, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Cooper, Glockenspiel, Marimba, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caleb Quaye, Acoustic Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

10
Bite Your Lip (Get Up And Dance!)
00:06:42

Kenny Passarelli, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Taupin, Author - Elton John, Composer, Piano, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Davey Johnstone, Steel Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gus Dudgeon, Producer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Cooper, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - John Stewart, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Newton Howard, Conductor, String Arranger, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Rev. James Cleveland, Conductor - ARUN CHAKRAVERTY, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caleb Quaye, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Roger Pope, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Howlett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Phil Dunne, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Cornerstone International Baptist And Southern Californian Choir, Choir - The Gene Page Strings, Orchestra

℗ 1976 Mercury Records Limited

Album Description

By 1976, the immense creativity that had spurred Elton John to record 11 studio albums in under seven years was beginning to show signs of inevitable fatigue. Although initially Blue Moves was summarily dismissed by both critics as well as longtime enthusiasts, the double LP has since gained considerable stature within John's voluminous catalog. While comparisons were inevitable to the landmark two-disc Goodbye Yellow Brick Road song cycle from 1973, most similarities in musical style and content end there. John's band had expanded to include the talents of James Newton Howard (keyboards, orchestral arrangements), Kenny Passarelli (bass), Roger Pope (drums), as well as long-time collaborator Caleb Quaye (guitar) and Davey Johnstone (guitar) and Ray Cooper (percussion) from the "classic" early-to-mid-'70s lineup. As the title suggests, Blue Moves is a departure from the heavier Rock of the Westies (1975). Instead, the album purposefully focuses on moodier and more introspective songs, such as the single "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" (the effort's sole hit), the achingly poignant "Tonight," and "Cage the Songbird." (The latter is particularly noteworthy, recalling the life of Edith Piaf in much the same way that "Candle in the Wind" had immortalized Marilyn Monroe.) "One Horse Town," which John briefly revived as a dramatic show opener during late-'80s live performances, is one of the album's most powerful and straight-ahead rockers. The lively string arrangement by Howard stands as one of the finest contributions to his short-lived tenure in this band, which for all intents and purposes dismantled after the album was recorded. Other standouts include the full-tilt gospel vibe of "Boogie Pilgrim," featuring backing vocals from both the Cornerstone Institutional Baptist and the Southern California choirs under the direction of Rev. James Cleveland, "Crazy Water," the haunting ballad "Idol," and the set's closing R&B vamp, "Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!)." While Blue Moves is a far cry from essential entries in the Elton John catalogue, the bright moments prove that he could still offer up higher than average material. It's also worth mentioning that this effort marked the end of John's initial collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin, who would resurface some three years later, albeit haphazardly on 21 at 33 (1979).
© Lindsay Planer /TiVo

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