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The Best of the Best

Elton John :: Biography

In 1968, now partners, Elton and Bernie joined DJM Records as staff songwriters and over the next two years wrote songs for pop singers like Roger Cook and Lulu as well as recording their own songs. The way they produced their music/lyric creations was a bit odd. Bernie would write a set of lyrics (sometimes in under an hour) and give them to Elton. Elton would then spend the next half hour producing the music to go with Bernie's lyrics (Unless of course if he didn't like the lyrics. If he didn't and he couldn't come up with something fast - he trashed them).

'Empty Sky' (which would be Elton's first album for DJM) was released in 1969, which failed to impress those buying the records despite the good reviews it received. In the spring of 1970, Elton released his second album (now on an MCA label) entitled 'Elton John' and it began it's climb up the charts. 'Your Song', the first single from the album made the US Top Ten with the album reaching the same heights. Elton's first American concert was in August of that year at, Troubadour in Los Angeles California, receiving praise from Quincy Jones, which just happened to be attending.

In October, 'Tumbleweed Connection' was released and reached the Top Ten on the Billboard 200, receiving heavy airplay on album-oriented radio stations in the US. It is probably that this behaviour helped in its success. Not long after the release of 'Tumbleweed', the live album '11-17-70' (featuring astonishing interaction between Elton, bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson) was released. The album showcased Elton's talent as rock pianist and earned him the nickname of the 'father of piano rock'. Some extended versions of his early pieces illustrated the gospel and boogie-woogie influences of Elton's piano playing as the lead instrument in a somewhat unusual new form of rock trio format. Following the live album would be the soundtrack to the little known film 'Friends' and another release, 'Madman Across The Water'. 'Madman Across The Water' reached to Top Ten and was responsible for the top ten hit single, 'Levon' - From the soundtrack album came the hit, 'Friends'.




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