22 October 2010

Rock Oldies FREEDOM EDITION: Elton John


Sir Elton John is a bright, talented, and strange man who often says the oddest things... but who most consider an all-time great, obviously.  And if Elton John is still good enough for Rush... cool with me, I'll forgive him for what he said about Jesus, he's obviously a little confused- lol.  Elton earned a few + points for standing up for Arizona, anyway... 

And while the 80s' Candle in the Wind might not be my cup of tea, Elton also did much great early stuff besides the mega-hits that we all love like Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Daniel, Bennie and the Jets, Someone Saved my Life Tonight, Your Song, Rocket Man, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting ... i.e. his cover of the Stones' Honky Tonk Women, etc.

In 1975, Philadelphia Freedom was released by Elton John -as "Elton John Band"- as a single. The song was written by Elton John and longtime co-writer Bernie Taupin as a favor to Elton's friend, tennis star Billie Jean King: King was part of the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team. Recorded in the summer of 1974, the only song Elton and Bernie ever consciously wrote as a single.  Taupin reportedly said, "I can't write a song about tennis"... and so he didn't. He also  maintains that the lyrics bear no relation to tennis, Philly Soul... or even flag-waving patriotism. 

Nonetheless, his words have been interpreted as patriotic and uplifting, and even though released in 1975, the song's sentiment, intended or not, meshed perfectly with an American music audience already gearing up for the country's bicentennial celebration in July of the next year. 

The song was also dedicated in part to the sound of Philadelphia, especially the music of the Delfonics, producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, and the Spinners and that group's producer, Thom Bell (and thus the Soul Train appearance)...



Previous RR Rock n Roll Oldies features -here-

10 comments:

Maggie Thornton said...

He is one of the greats, and I must say, I love his voice. It's unfortunate that he uses so many gimmicks, but that's his schstick I guess. He certainly doesn't need it.

Early on in this song he sounds a bit like Leon Russell to me.

Reaganite Republican said...

I agree... and I adore the voice, what a talent

I look at the gimmicks from a different angle, he seems to delight in the tackiness of showbiz, like Liberace, you know? And it's kind of tongue in cheek... I think he knows he looks silly and just likes to see people laugh- as he does often on stage himself

jmho

Matt said...

Is it just me, or did actually sing this one live? It didn't sound completely like the studio version.

Reaganite Republican said...

Thinking the same thing, Matt- I think he sang it live over a taped musical track, doesn't sound like that piano is miked tho

Maybe Elton insisted... he's had the pipes for it

Randy-g said...

Great talent, a lot of great music, but yes a bit strange......

Tumba said...

HOLD me close tiny dancer.... count the headlights on the highway...
(pounding on air piano)

Reaganite Republican said...

He's one of the few in your life you never can tire of hearing- at least in my case. Only a few have such everlasting quality like Elton John

innominatus said...

I like it when an artist like Elton concentrates on his art, instead of using it as a vehicle to push stupid lefty policies.

(Bono, I'm looking at you)

Reaganite Republican said...

Right on Inno

I like what Kieth Richards said cca 1970, when asked why the Stones did songs about chicks all the time and no politics as the Beatles where getting into- his angle was politics was boring... and he was in the entertainment business.

Aurelius said...

Thanks for the music, RR

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