Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (2014 Remaster)
Having rocketed from the lavish orchestrations of “Your Song” and “Levon” to “Crocodile Rock” in less than three years, Elton John saw fit to make a Big Statement tying together all his musical impulses. The 1973 double LP Goodbye Yellow Brick Road cemented not only his nearly wayward eclecticism, but also his audience’s willingness to follow any path he trod. The result was his critical and commercial peak—an album whose tracklist looks, at first blush, like a greatest-hits anthology and a defining snapshot of an artist at the height of his powers. The album’s opening sequence is more or less a sketch of Elton John’s early career and imperial phase, blending these far-reaching musical swings with Bernie Taupin’s increasingly cinematic and high-concept lyrics. The quintessential FM-rock-era sprawl of “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” segues into the sentimental and ubiquitous Marilyn Monroe tribute “Candle in the Wind” and bursts into full-on Eltonic lunacy with “Bennie and the Jets.” Many cuts (the elegiac title song, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” “Grey Seal”) became airplay staples, while others (the manic “Your Sister Can’t Twist [But She Can Rock ’N Roll]”) deserve more notice than they got—likely because of Road’s sheer bulk of worthy material.