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guilty pleasure monday: come down in time (elton john)
Jun 2nd, 2008 by wrekehavoc

elton john has been through many metamorphoses. he has been just the piano player with the honkin’ big glasses. he has been the guy in the goofy donald duck costume, lording over central park. he’s been married, and he’s been gay. (still is, of course.) he has been the champion of AIDS causes and of little ryan white. he has been the friend and defender of lady diana. and of course now, he takes his place as a sort of elder statesman in the pop pantheon. he has had monster hits, and he has made some monster dogs.

there are those who like to think of sir elton as a bloated relic of bloated material. granted, there’s not much that i really enjoy from his catalog once you get into the 1980s, but like him or not, the man has had an amazing career, and there’s a reason for that. even the most jaded music fans should hear me out.

the elton john i love best is the early elton john; slightly unsure of himself and very hooked on piano-based ballads and rockers. his first few albums, while not necessarily chockablock with hits, contain some extraordinary music. my personal favorite of them is tumbleweed connection, a sort of concept album which uses the old west as a backdrop for some incredibly moving music. there are no US singles here, so this is an album i think largely forgotten by many. burn down the mission is probably the most famous song on the LP, with perhaps country comfort also getting some AOR airplay in the ’70s. but certain songs, however unknown like talking old soldiers, are incredibly powerful. i defy anyone to hear that and not be moved. and where to now, st. peter (a cheerful ditty about suicide) was a favorite when i was young, prompting me to actually buy the sheet music and learn how to play the song properly.

but probably my favorite song on the album is come down in time, a slightly mysterious long song. i’m not too crazy about this particular clip of come down in time: elton is much older, and he sounds a little like elvis as he tackles it. nevertheless, it is a beautiful song, whether it’s like this or this (which is the demo, and a bit rushed.) for anyone else, it would probably be a careermaker.

for sir elton, it was just a hint of things to come.


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