'Madman Across the Water'
Title: “Madman Across the Water”
Artist: Elton John
Release date: 1971
Favorite track: “Tiny Dancer”
I haven’t yet seen the new movie err … Elton John musical, “Rocketman,” yet, but it gave me reason to feature one of his albums.
I happen to own almost John’s entire discography because I lucked out on a closing booth at an antique mall five years ago. Each record was a quarter.
I chose to feature John’s fourth album, “Madman Across the Water” because the opening track is one of his most famous, “Tiny Dancer,” or — for us silly folks — “Tony Danza.” The song is featured on the “Rocketman” soundtrack. It’s the only one from “Madman Across the Water.”
Hold me closer tiny dancer
Count the headlights on the highway
Lay me down in sheets of linen
You had a busy day today
— “Tiny Dancer”
“Tiny Dancer” is truly a wonderful song — catchy, passionate and thought provoking. I didn’t know one of the single’s claims to fame was being featured in the 2000 movie “Almost Famous.” Great movie, too.
While it’s not my chosen karaoke song (I’ll share another time), it’s a solid choice.
John wrote the music, and Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics — as per usual. Name a better duo. I’ll wait.
“Levon” is as gorgeous as the opener and features a similar tempo. John has a knack for cinematic music, and Taupin writes lyrics perfect for the vocals.
“Razor Face” has the most intricate lyrics.
Come on Razor Face my old friend
I’ll meet you down by the Truck Stop Inn
With a bottle of booze in the back of my car
You’re a song on the lips of an aging star
— “Razor Face”
This record isn’t John’s most known or most popular. In fact, it didn’t too well commercially in other countries besides the U.S.
With that being said, it’s one of my personal favorites. It flawlessly captures John’s musical mood.
The title track is a slow-paced ballad with a hint of blues. I’m actually a tad surprised this one didn’t make “Rocketman,” but dang, he has so much music to choose from. I’m glad I wasn’t tasked with the responsibility of choosing the songs.
“Indian Sunset” starts with a dramatic a cappella moment. Taupin’s visit to a Native American reservation inspired the lyrics.
“Holiday Inn” is a good reminder that this album is perfect for a road trip.
“All the Nasties” has the softest vocals. It’s a lovely listen. The build-up is similar to “Tiny Dancer.” It features a choir for its final three minutes.
The final, almost two-minute song is appropriately titled “Goodbye,” and it’s as sad as it sounds. It ends with John repeating “I’ll waste away.”
The blue denim album sleeve is clever. I don’t have many ‘70s records that feature texture. I dig how the titles are embroidered into the denim on the back.