Sunday, September 7, 2008

Is Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road His 'White Album" ? Is This a Good Thing ?

Just watched 'Classic Albums" on TV, this week focussing on Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road....

Elton John gets a bad rap, for his glam-antics and most definitely for the consistently rubbish albums he has come out with in the past thirty years but this album is something else....

Here's a review from Rolling Stone, with a quote from Elton comparing it to the White Album (in a good way)..

When John compared himself to the Beatles, it wasn't just a delusion of grandeur. "Revolver lifted them onto a higher plane, and Honky Chateau did the same for us," he said in 1973. "Then they did the White Album, and now we'll have a double, too." Everything about Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is supersonically huge, from the Wagnerian-opera-like combo of "Funeral for a Friend" and "Love Lies Bleeding" to the electric boots and mohair suit of "Bennie and the Jets." On the title track, John and his songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, harnessed the fantastical imagery of glam to a Gershwin-sweet melody.

Here's one from Pop Matters that compares it with The White Album (in a bad way)

The double album in pop music has a checkered history. The very standard by which they are all judged, The Beatles' White Album, was unbearably scattershot, burying gems large and small among irritating filler, the lion's share of the latter being cranked out by John Lennon. At the height of their powers, The Fab Four began to feel as if they could do nothing non-fab, or were entitled to do as much of it as they saw fit, which turned out to be quite a lot. Since then, the double album has been seen as something of a status symbol, a signal of an artist's justified presumption that they are great enough to send their every idea out for the world to consume. This occasionally works, but it seems you have to be as talented as Todd Rundgren, The Clash, Stevie Wonder, The Who, or The Stones to be an unqualified success.

What do you reckon ?



musicobsessive said...

Ha! I made the same comparison back in June (see

I think that GYBR is definitely Elton's White Album, purely on the grounds that it covers a broad spectrum of styles, some of which don't quite work. It is the diversity that is interesting because very few artists manange the sort of rag-bag of styles that the Beatles seemed to come up with on every album, but on this occasion EJ had a pretty good shot at it.

Show me an artist that can do it today or even in the last decade!

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

I reckon that no one should compare themselves to The Beatles :) But with that said, I do think this was one of his best and I listened to it extensively when it came out. My personal EJ fave album is "Madman Across the Water"