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Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Arriving ten years after the single-disc Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits (known as Rocket Man: Number Ones in North America) and 15 years after the double-disc Greatest Hits 1970-2002, Diamonds ups the game by offering two variations on Elton John's greatest hits: a double-CD version and a limited-edition triple-disc box set. Given John's canon is close to set, it should come as no surprise that Diamonds follows the same path as its predecessors -- indeed, the first ten songs on Diamonds are the same as those on Greatest Hits 1970-2002, with minor rejiggering; ultimately, there is a 26-song overlap -- but within its standard two-disc set, it finds a place for some important hits absent in prior comps. Notably, this has "Little Jeannie," "I Don't Wanna Go on with You Like That," and his live duet with George Michael, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," all welcome additions, and as it extends into the present, it also finds space for John's artistic renaissance of the 21st century in the form of "Electricity," "Home Again," and "Looking Up." The third disc on the deluxe version deepens the story further by adding a bunch of hits that could've feasibly been included on the first two discs -- "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "Pinball Wizard," "Mama Can't Buy You Love," "Part-Time Love," "Victim of Love," "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)," "Kiss the Bride," the superstar charity single "That's What Friends Are For" -- and also underscores his enduring stardom and cultural reach by including OK '90s U.K. hits with Kiki Dee, Pavarotti, and LeAnn Rimes, plus his 2012 U.S. dance hit with Pnau, "Good Morning to the Night" (conspicuous in their absence is any duet with Leon Russell). This last disc offers up plenty of hits but it also feels slightly messy because of the leap from "Kiss the Bride" to "Live Like Horses," but that only indicates how John would've been equally well served by a four-disc set. Instead, we get this excellent -- if incomplete -- collection that is equally satisfying in either its double-disc or triple-disc incarnation. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released January 1, 1990 | Virgin EMI

This four-CD set has had a somewhat confused history, mostly owing to licensing changes and the mergers and acquisitions of various record labels. Prepared in the late '80s by MCA Records, which had the rights to Elton John's U.S. catalog, To Be Continued... marked a major improvement over the sound of his extant CDs of the period. But MCA's rights lapsed in the 1990s, and the Elton John catalog reverted to Polydor Records, which put it back out in upgraded editions on the Island Records label. This set was deleted by 1994, and was soon selling for serious amounts of money as a collector's item. Then, in 1999, MCA's parent company, Universal Music, bought Polydor, and suddenly this box reappeared. As to its virtues, the 68 songs here include all of the highlights of the first 25 years of Elton John's career -- not just the hits and the notable album tracks, but outtakes, unissued live tracks, and demos. Disc one opens with the first original song that Elton John ever recorded, a solo composition called "Come Back Baby," cut with Bluesology, his mid-'60s band, and also includes the solo demo of "Your Song" and a previously unissued outtake of "Gray Seal"; their presence alone ensures that most fans will regard this set as a must-own item. There's nothing quite as compelling as those early treasures, but disc two and disc three do pull together all of the essential sides from across ten years of history, including John's work with John Lennon, Kiki Dee, and France Gall, and includes a previously unissued live version of "I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)." Disc four, covering the years 1982-1990, is highlighted by the single mix of "Act of War," featuring Millie Jackson, and a previously unissued live version of "Carla Etude." The accompanying booklet includes some very interesting reminiscences by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, but obviously not enough on the specific tracks -- the producers felt compelled to add in a free-standing sheet detailing recording dates and personnel. Astonishingly, the sound on this set has held up extremely well, despite its dating back to the 1990 -- one can hear Caleb Quaye and Les Thatcher's guitars cleanly on the outtake of "Gray Seal," and the piano, bass, and orchestra on "Friends" are close and vivid. And the more recent stuff sounds even better. It's a rare occurrence in pop music reissues, especially with all of the upgrades in sound, sources, and technology going on all of the time, but producer Andy McKaie built something to last with this box. ~ Bruce Eder
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Rock - Released October 5, 1973 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

CD€26.49

Pop - Released October 20, 1992 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

CD€21.99

Pop - Released January 24, 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

CD€21.99

Pop - Released November 10, 2017 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Arriving ten years after the single-disc Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits (known as Rocket Man: Number Ones in North America) and 15 years after the double-disc Greatest Hits 1970-2002, Diamonds ups the game by offering two variations on Elton John's greatest hits: a double-CD version and a limited-edition triple-disc box set. Given John's canon is close to set, it should come as no surprise that Diamonds follows the same path as its predecessors -- indeed, the first ten songs on Diamonds are the same as those on Greatest Hits 1970-2002, with minor rejiggering; ultimately, there is a 26-song overlap -- but within its standard two-disc set, it finds a place for some important hits absent in prior comps. Notably, this has "Little Jeannie," "I Don't Wanna Go on with You Like That," and his live duet with George Michael, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," all welcome additions, and as it extends into the present, it also finds space for John's artistic renaissance of the 21st century in the form of "Electricity," "Home Again," and "Looking Up." The third disc on the deluxe version deepens the story further by adding a bunch of hits that could've feasibly been included on the first two discs -- "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "Pinball Wizard," "Mama Can't Buy You Love," "Part-Time Love," "Victim of Love," "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)," "Kiss the Bride," the superstar charity single "That's What Friends Are For" -- and also underscores his enduring stardom and cultural reach by including OK '90s U.K. hits with Kiki Dee, Pavarotti, and LeAnn Rimes, plus his 2012 U.S. dance hit with Pnau, "Good Morning to the Night" (conspicuous in their absence is any duet with Leon Russell). This last disc offers up plenty of hits but it also feels slightly messy because of the leap from "Kiss the Bride" to "Live Like Horses," but that only indicates how John would've been equally well served by a four-disc set. Instead, we get this excellent -- if incomplete -- collection that is equally satisfying in either its double-disc or triple-disc incarnation. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD€21.99

Pop - Released May 19, 1975 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Pop - Released January 1, 1976 | Virgin EMI

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Pop - Released January 1, 1976 | Virgin EMI

Although initially considered a contractually obligated release, when Here and There (1976) was upgraded in 1995 as part of Elton John's (piano/vocals) "Classic Years" catalog overhaul, it became the most definitive live document to date of his immortal '70s quintet that featured the pianist backed by Davey Johnstone (guitar/backing vocals), Dee Murray (bass/backing vocals), Nigel Olsson (drums), and Ray Cooper (percussion). What was originally a single vinyl long-player was expanded to nearly two hours and 20 minutes, spread over two CDs. The "Here" show was recorded at an Invalid Children's Aid Society Benefit at Royal Festival Hall in London on May 18, 1974. John begins with a pair of early solo numbers before being joined by the band for inspired readings of hits such as the rousing "Take Me to the Pilot" and "Crocodile Rock" as well as the equally integral deep cuts "Bad Side of the Moon" and a very special version of the ballad "Love Song" -- featuring a rare duet with the song's author and original co-vocalist Leslie Duncan (vocals). Another real treat is the funky and loose rendering of "Honky Cat" with some interesting interaction between John and Cooper. Six months later John and company hit Madison Square Garden in New York City for a series of shows over Thanksgiving weekend. In acknowledgement of a wager set forth between John and John Lennon that stated, if the duo's single "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" from Lennon's Walls and Bridges (1974) album topped the singles chart, Lennon would join Elton on-stage for a few numbers. Needless to say the song bound to the number one position, and the stage was literally set for the very first live appearance from Lennon in two years -- which would ironically and tragically likewise be the last he would ever give. Immediately differentiating the "There" show is the comparatively massive audience. This show is as much about spectacle (1974 style) as it is about music. Not that the music suffers in the least. Although John's voice has sounded better, the band are in top form as they rant and rave through the blistering "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" opener. Among the surprises are the romping live versions of "Grey Seal" and "You're So Static." However, the unmitigated highlight is Lennon's surprise three-song guest shot. Both legends perform their latest singles -- for Lennon it is the aforementioned "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" and for John it is the non-LP cover of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" -- both of which are quite powerful in terms of sheer vibe. Their finale of "I Saw Her Standing There" is ragged-but-right with Johnstone cleverly quoting "I Feel Fine" during the bridge from the verse to the chorus. While the remainder of the set hold its own, it pales in the wake of the preceding momentous performance. This should be considered essential listening for enthusiasts as well as curious music historians. ~ Lindsay Planer
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Rock - Released January 1, 2013 | Virgin EMI

So the story goes like this. Inspired by their work on the Leon Russell duet album The Union, producer T-Bone Burnett encouraged Elton John to return to making albums like he used to in the old days for 2013's The Diving Board, harking back to the days when he wrote quickly and recorded with little more than a rhythm section. This all sounds like a major shift in aesthetic for John, but Elton has been on a decade-long quest to tap into that old magic, beginning his voyage into the past with 2001's Songs from the West Coast and getting progressively elliptical with each subsequent release. The Diving Board does indeed evoke ghosts of Elton past but it never suggests the hits. It's an album consisting almost entirely of songs that riff on "Sixty Years On" and "Rotten Peaches" -- long, languid ballads or open-ended blues-rockers where atmosphere trumps hooks. Occasionally, Elton musters up elongated melodies that eventually catch hold, but The Diving Board isn't a collection of finely sculpted pop; it's a set of song poems and ballads, all placing emphasis on mood, not immediacy. This is an exceptional idea in theory; in practice it is ever so slightly formless, floating whenever it should be taking root. There are moments where the tempo gets ever so slightly sprightly -- "Take This Dirty Water" has a dirty gospel shuffle reminiscent of a toned-down "Take Me to the Pilot," "The Ballad of Blind Tom" is faithful to the spirit of Tumbleweed Connection, "Mexican Vacation (Kids in the Candlelight)" not only rocks but has a welcome gust of tastelessness -- but that only emphasizes just how ponderous the rest of the record is. There is much that is admirable about The Diving Board -- the feel is spacious and haunting, the ambition is commendable -- but the emphasis on tone over song means it leaves only wistful wisps of melancholia behind with the actual songs seeming like faded, distant memories. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released October 1, 2001 | Virgin EMI

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Rock - Released February 5, 2016 | Virgin EMI

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His true fans know well that the golden age of Elton John is starting to get away from them ... However, with The Diving Board published in 2013, the master of British pop proved that all was most certainly not lost... with Wonderful Crazy Night, this quasi-resurrection is confirmed. For this 33rd studio album offers traces of musical DNA that escaped from his legendary 1972 song, Rocket Man. Above all, this 2016 vintage presents stylish alloy, nervous pop, and soft rock, as if it were a secret formula. In each song, the melodies bulge and, as always with Elton John, Bernie Taupin takes care of the writing, with the production entrusted in turn to T Bone Burnett (already producer of The Diving Board). Elton John has performed somewhat of a clean-up, not inviting any of the musicians with whom he usually works.  At 68, Sir Elton signs off an energetic record, combining his expected strengths with some unexpected freshness. © CM / Qobuz
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Rock - Released February 5, 2016 | Virgin EMI

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Bandes originales de films - Released June 21, 2019 | Virgin EMI

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Producer Giles Martin, son of the legendary George Martin, is at the helm of the soundtrack of the film Rocketman, which tells the story of Elton John's rise into the music world. The retro flavour of this biopic and its soundtrack works at full strength, especially when you consider that Martin Jr. was at the forefront of the pop frenzy that shook England in the 1960s and 1970s. Its elegant and punchy arrangements are certainly very close to the sound of the time, but it also sometimes brings in certain textures, a breath of fresh air that could be described as "postmodern". Rocketman's soundtrack album does not feature any instrumental music from the film, but only hits by the star performed by Taron Egerton, the actor who plays him on screen. Egerton certainly thrills with his vocal prowess, but we should not forget the presence of other actors in some songs: I Want Love is performed by Kit Connor, Gemma Jones, Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh, while The Bitch is Back, Don't Go Breaking My Heart and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road are duets with, respectively Sebastian Rich, Rachel Muldoon and Jamie Bell (who has the difficult task of playing Bernie Taupin, Elton John's favourite songwriter). But the piece of most bravura of this Rocketman soundtrack is certainly the schizophrenic delirium that is the song that closes the record since it is a cover of (I'm Gonna) Love Me Again by Taron Egerton in duet with Elton John himself. © Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz
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Pop - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin EMI

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Bandes originales de films - Released May 24, 2019 | Virgin EMI

Producer Giles Martin, son of the legendary George Martin, is at the helm of the soundtrack of the film Rocketman, which tells the story of Elton John's rise into the music world. The retro flavour of this biopic and its soundtrack works at full strength, especially when you consider that Martin Jr. was at the forefront of the pop frenzy that shook England in the 1960s and 1970s. Its elegant and punchy arrangements are certainly very close to the sound of the time, but it also sometimes brings in certain textures, a breath of fresh air that could be described as "postmodern". Rocketman's soundtrack album does not feature any instrumental music from the film, but only hits by the star performed by Taron Egerton, the actor who plays him on screen. Egerton certainly thrills with his vocal prowess, but we should not forget the presence of other actors in some songs: I Want Love is performed by Kit Connor, Gemma Jones, Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh, while The Bitch is Back, Don't Go Breaking My Heart and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road are duets with, respectively Sebastian Rich, Rachel Muldoon and Jamie Bell (who has the difficult task of playing Bernie Taupin, Elton John's favourite songwriter). But the piece of most bravura of this Rocketman soundtrack is certainly the schizophrenic delirium that is the song that closes the record since it is a cover of (I'm Gonna) Love Me Again by Taron Egerton in duet with Elton John himself. © Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz
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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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It was designed to be a blockbuster and it was. Prior to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John had hits -- his second album, Elton John, went Top 10 in the U.S. and U.K., and he had smash singles in "Crocodile Rock" and "Daniel" -- but this 1973 album was a statement of purpose spilling over two LPs, which was all the better to showcase every element of John's spangled personality. Opening with the 11-minute melodramatic exercise "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" -- as prog as Elton ever got -- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road immediately embraces excess but also tunefulness, as John immediately switches over to "Candle in the Wind" and "Bennie & the Jets," two songs that form the core of his canon and go a long way toward explaining the over-stuffed appeal of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. This was truly the debut of Elton John the entertainer, the pro who knows how to satisfy every segment of his audience, and this eagerness to please means the record is giddy but also overwhelming, a rush of too much muchness. Still, taken a side at a time, or even a song a time, it is a thing of wonder, serving up such perfectly sculpted pop songs as "Grey Seal," full-bore rockers as "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" and "Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock & Roll)," cinematic ballads like "I've Seen That Movie Too," throwbacks to the dusty conceptual sweep of Tumbleweed Connection in the form of "The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34)," and preposterous glam novelties, like "Jamaica Jerk-Off." This touched on everything John did before, and suggested ways he'd move in the near-future, and that sprawl is always messy but usually delightful, a testament to Elton's '70s power as a star and a musician. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | Virgin EMI

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Empty Sky was followed by Elton John, a more focused and realized record that deservedly became his first hit. John and Bernie Taupin's songwriting had become more immediate and successful; in particular, John's music had become sharper and more diverse, rescuing Taupin's frequently nebulous lyrics. "Take Me to the Pilot" might not make much sense lyrically, but John had the good sense to ground its willfully cryptic words with a catchy blues-based melody. Next to the increased sense of songcraft, the most noticeable change on Elton John is the addition of Paul Buckmaster's grandiose string arrangements. Buckmaster's orchestrations are never subtle, but they never overwhelm the vocalist, nor do they make the songs schmaltzy. Instead, they fit the ambitions of John and Taupin, as the instant standard "Your Song" illustrates. Even with the strings and choirs that dominate the sound of the album, John manages to rock out on a fair share of the record. Though there are a couple of underdeveloped songs, Elton John remains one of his best records. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | Virgin EMI

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Sitting atop the charts in 1975, Elton John and Bernie Taupin recalled their rise to power in Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, their first explicitly conceptual effort since Tumbleweed Connection. It's no coincidence that it's their best album since then, showcasing each at the peak of his power, as John crafts supple, elastic, versatile pop and Taupin's inscrutable wordplay is evocative, even moving. What's best about the record is that it works best of a piece -- although it entered the charts at number one, this only had one huge hit in "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," which sounds even better here, since it tidily fits into the musical and lyrical themes. And although the musical skill on display here is dazzling, as it bounces between country and hard rock within the same song, this is certainly a grower. The album needs time to reveal its treasures, but once it does, it rivals Tumbleweed in terms of sheer consistency and eclipses it in scope, capturing John and Taupin at a pinnacle. They collapsed in hubris and excess not long afterward -- Rock of the Westies, which followed just months later is as scattered as this is focused -- but this remains a testament to the strengths of their creative partnership. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | Virgin EMI

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Trading the cinematic aspirations of Tumbleweed Connection for a tentative stab at prog rock, Elton John and Bernie Taupin delivered another excellent collection of songs with Madman Across the Water. Like its two predecessors, Madman Across the Water is driven by the sweeping string arrangements of Paul Buckmaster, who gives the songs here a richly dark and haunting edge. And these are songs that benefit from grandiose treatments. With most songs clocking in around five minutes, the record feels like a major work, and in many ways it is. While it's not as adventurous as Tumbleweed Connection, the overall quality of the record is very high, particularly on character sketches "Levon" and "Razor Face," as well as the melodramatic "Tiny Dancer" and the paranoid title track. Madman Across the Water begins to fall apart toward the end, but the record remains an ambitious and rewarding work, and John never attained its darkly introspective atmosphere again. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Elton John in the magazine