Band: Elton John
Album: Greatest Hits
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Well, it's a greatest hits compilation that has sold 10 million copies. To say that Elton John isn't important would be foolish.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: It's a greatest hits compilation for a guy who has three other records on the list. It doesn't make tons of sense.
Best song: Well, they're all hits and all are pretty great.
Worst song: The only song I don't really like is "Border Song." It's got a nice message, but I'm lukewarm on it nonetheless. "Daniel" isn't perfect.
Is it awesome?: I guess. I mean, it's a greatest hits comp from one of the best-selling artists of all time. What did you expect? Crap?
There isn't a ton to say here about this compilation. Elton John has sold tons and tons of records and his hits are fantastic. This compilation reflects that.
As to not bore you, let's go listy...
- "Your Song" is one of my favorite love songs. It's simple and strikingly beautiful. Like George Harrison's "Something," Bernie Taupin (Elton John's lyricist) captured the undefinable characteristics that come from "love" in the sweetest sense.
- I don't love "Daniel", largely because Elton John's piano work isn't hugely impressive. Taupin's lyrics are a little overly sentimental, but that's nitpicking. it's a song about Vietnam, which is pretty impressive for a British singer to do. It's still a good song, just not great.
- "Honky Cat" is a ridiculous song that mocks and embraces a genre foreign to most of us. It sounds like Vaudeville, basically.
- I've written about "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" a bit and it remains my favorite song of his.
- My qualm with "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" is that Elton John -- all glasses, platforms and wigs -- could kick anyone's ass. I guess he's not a small man, so anything is possible. Still, if you don't think about the logistics of Elton John getting into a fight, it's a really fun song.
- I have a friend (hello, Jake!) who claims "Rocket Man" is simply a rip off of David Bowie's "Spade Oddity," a claim which I dispute. It's a pretty simple pop ballad, but it's wonderful.
- I've also written about "Bennie and the Jets". It's a great deal of fun.
- "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" suffers from the same problems as "Daniel," only in a much more superficial context. It's sentimental but in a love song way and a slow ballad way.
- I enjoy the inclusiveness of "Border Song" in the final verse. John -- who wrote the verse himself -- croons "Holy Moses, let us live in peace/let us strive to find a way to make all hatred cease/there's a man over there. What's his colour I don't care/he's my brother let us live in peace." That's a nice message to just an OK song.
- The record ends with good old "Crocodile Rock." It will always remain a patently ridiculous song in my mind for one reason and only for this one reason: Elton John's appearance on "The Muppet Show." Hell, forget linking to it... Let's embed that fucker:
How great is that?
So, that's Elton John's "Greatest Hits." It's got some great tracks.