Artist: Elton John
Release date: 1980
Favorite track: “Bennie and the Jets”
I’m back with more Sir Elton John.
As I said this past week, “Rocketman” being in theaters inspired me to feature several of my 25-cent Elton collection. I wanted to feature this compilation record because it overlaps with the soundtrack of the movie.
The songs in the movie and on this record are “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” “The Bitch is Back,” “Honky Cat,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Part,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Rocket Man,” “Your Song” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”
It’s tough not to call every song on “Milestones” iconic. They are. Each evokes a mood, a feeling and a memory.
Normally, I’d go through every song with a semi-boring analysis or summary. Not this time. I want to share with you a few of the memories I’ve had with each song.
Besides, none of these songs is obscure. You know them, and you probably love them.
I’m pretty sure I first heard “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” featuring Kiki Dee in some rom-com. The male-female duet style definitely reminds me of Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe” and Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together.” It’s cheery and charming.
“The Bitch is Back” was one of the first Elton John songs I listened to on my first record player, a Crosley. My sister bought the record player for me for Christmas as a teenager, and my parents spotted me a few essential records — one of them was “Elton John’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2,” which starts with that track. I initially loved the punchy nature of the song.
I remember thinking, “Yeah, this guy is all right.” Obviously, that affection grew.
“Honky Cat” and “Bennie and the Jets” were two of the first songs that made me realize how much my soul appreciates the piano. It’s been a love story since.
Whether it’s spelled “Benny” or “Bennie,” “Bennie and the Jets” is probably my favorite Elton song and definitely a favorite to sing in the shower.
She’s got electric boots a mohair suit
You know I read it in a magazine
B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets
— “Bennie and the Jets”
“Your Song” brings tears to my eyes.
I was listening to a lot of that song around the time my sister’s son — my nephew — Cade was born. U.K. singer Ellie Goulding had recently redone the song, so I was giving it another go-round along with other 1970s slow jams.
While it’s more of a romance song, I remember completely falling in love with my sweet baby nephew and his bright blue eyes. I sing it often (another shower favorite) and I always think of him.
And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind
That I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world
— “Your Song”
Life did seem so wonderful with him in the world. My sister has three kids total now. I can’t believe how fast time seems to go by.
Everyone who knows me knows I’m a huge fan of boxing movies. I just love a good underdog story. Because every boxing movie in existence features a boxer running through the streets of Philly, I always think of them when I hear “Philadelphia Freedom.” Random fact: Elton’s song, “The Measure of Man” is on the “Rocky V” soundtrack.
All of these songs are truly wonderful, but — for the sake of a well-balanced column — I’ll be OK if I never hear “Crocodile Rock” again. I’m sorry.
It’s honestly pretty difficult to put into words the depth of Elton’s abilities or impact. All I can say is how often I feel a deep sense of gratitude when I listen. Like, just thank you, for these songs, Elton and Bernie (Taupin).
I’ve said too much already, so all I’ll say about the cover design is the front reads, “A decade of gold.”