Elton John | Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: 40th Anniv. Ed. (Mercury)

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This is one of few albums that has truly stood the test of time, played on the radio to this day, 40 years later.

2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the iconic album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. The original 17 tracks are included in the two-disc set, Elton John tunes covered by other artists such as The Band Perry (“Grey Seal”), Hunter Hayes, (“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”), and Fall Out Boy, (“Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting “), as well as live tracks.

John debuted four of the album’s songs in 1973 at a sold-out show at The Hollywood Bowl. Upon release, the album stayed at the No. 1 position for eight weeks. It was not the record fans were expecting, however. Melancholy and downright sad at times, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was an eclectic album froth with emotion.

Produced by Gus Dudgeon, the album was finished in a mere 17 days. Having scrapped his Jamaican recording sessions, John started from scratch, creating one of music’s most beloved records. At just over 76 minutes, the album spawned four hit singles: “Bennie and the Jets” (which John did not want released), “Candle in the Wind,” “Saturday Night’s All Right for Fighting,” and the title track.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road pushed social and moral ethics to new heights. The album opens with the 11-minute opus, “Funeral for A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding.” Tracks such as “All the Young Girls Love Alice,” an ode to lesbians, went by completely unscathed by critics and social leaders of the time. Today, it remains one of the fans’ favorites.

Throughout a record that included “Saturday Night’s All Right for Fighting,” a song celebrating getting drunk with the lads, and the legendary “Candle in the Wind,” a young boy’s lament to the late Marilyn Monroe, John shines brightly. This is one of few albums that has truly stood the test of time, played on the radio to this day, 40 years later.

With sharp packaging and full liner notes recalling the making of the rock classic, the 40th Anniversary Edition does not disappoint. It is a must in any classic rock collection. Live tracks include “Rocket Man,” “Daniel,” “Crocodile Rock,” and more. Sir Elton John is a legend, and this album reminds us of that. A+ | Marc Farr

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Marc Farr is the Live Music & Assignments Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. He's so invaluable to us, we've nicknamed him Mr. Music. Reach out if you have coverage ideas! "I know it's only rock and roll...but I like it!"
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