Saturday, April 23, 2011

K-TElton John

Really Bad, But Also Really Good

While looking for something else on the internets, I stumbled onto the songs below.

In the late 60s and early 70s, before he became known as a singer-songwriter (and then a pop superstar), Elton John had an interesting day job.

He was part of a group of anonymous singers and musicians who re-recorded popular songs (mostly with very faithful arrangements) that were packaged into albums and rush-released to supermarkets (where they were available at bargain prices because... well, they weren't the originals).

The technical quality of these tracks is fairly high (especially given how low-rent the operations were), but some of them will make you scratch your head in wonder.

I mean, what the hell is a Honky Cat like Elton John doing singing a song about being Young, Gifted, and Black?

And did he cringe at the cheestastic lyrics or tell himself that the arrangements, if you squinted a bit, were kind of cool?

I'm guessing that Elton John never thought much about these tracks after he recorded them. And he probably expected they'd soon be forgotten.

But nothing ever really goes away in cyberspace... so enjoy these glimpses of Elton John, before he became Captain Fantastic:

1 comment:

Kinky Paprika said...

I've read interviews with well-known session musicians who got their first gigs playing on records like these.

I'm pretty sure Will Lee -- the session bassist best known as a member of David Letterman's band -- did some sessions like this early in his career as well.
I would have to dredge out my old copies of Guitar Player magazine to verify, though.

I remember somebody, in an interview, talking about having played on a ripoff album called "Shaft Cop" by Soul Mann and the Brothers.
Pretty sure it was Will Lee.