Today's Bacardi Show Birthday greeting goes out to Reginald Kenneth Dwight, aka Sir Elton John.
These days, most of us know Sir Elton as a disgusting old troll queen with the worst hairpiece in popular music history, singing smarmy bombastic overblown ballads for soccer moms everywhere. But there was a time, children...oh yes, there was a time. There was a time when new Elton John records were cause for celebration. You knew that you would be getting well played, often clever and witty rock & roll and pop music in a variety of styles. John and his main band had an uncanny ability to do a ponderous ballad one track, a balls-out rocker the next, then a Beach Boys pastiche, then a reggae tune often on the same album (sometimes on the same side, even). For a period of about seven years, 1970-1977, Elton John's music meant the world to this young music loving Kentucky boy. Then something happened. John stopped working with his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin and began a long, slow slide into slickness and irrelevance, punctuated with personal excess and the resulting personal problems, only peeking out from the mire on rare occasions, like 1984's surprisingly good Breaking Hearts album. Mostly though, the last 25 years have been a waste for anyone looking for the outstanding work of his "classic" period. John has been too busy being a professional celebrity and schmoozer to concentrate on his music. Like with his "mate" Rod Stewart, another performer who seemed to completely lose the plot all together after 1976, I gave up on Elton a long time ago.
But in all fairness, I understand that his 2001 effort Songs From The West Coast is a surprising and heartening return to form, and based on the two songs I've heard (I Need Love, This Train Don't Stop Here Anymore), I can't dispute that. For once, Sir Elton was saying all the right things, apparently energized by listening to Ryan Adams among others...now there's an odd couple for ya! Guess I'll reserve total judgement until I actually own a copy of the album. And also in the interest of fairness John has done a lot of charity work, using his hard-won schmoozablitly for good causes like the battle against AIDS.
So happy birthday to ya anyways, Sir Elton. I owe you one for Empty Sky, Elton John, Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across The Water, Honky Chateau, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Caribou, Rock of the Westies, and Blue Moves.