The album that started it all is a wonderful blend of rock and orchestral arrangements that probably hadn’t really been explored before Elton came onto the scene.
Of course, the big hit and sentimental favorite, Your Song is on this album and starts the album off quite nicely. The next song, I Need You To Turn To, features Elton on the seldom heard harpsichord accompanied by his delicate vocal delivery.
With all lyrics by Bernie Taupin and melodies by Elton, these songs have stood the test of time. And many explore Taupin’s innermost feelings (Episode At Heinton speaks of a first girlfriend of Taupin’s, The Greatest Discovery is about Taupin’s younger brother, and Sixty Years On tells the worrisome tale of growing old).
But its Elton’s melodies and vocal styling’s that capture the listener and never lets go. That would certainly explain, Take Me To The Pilot. That song, where Taupin has basically strung words together and lets the listener chose their own interpretation as to what it means. Pilot is given the serious treatment by Elton in one of his best straight up rock-n-roll songs. Border Song, the album’s actual first single, is that rare breed of a strong pop song aided by a powerful gospel influence that works on every level. And No Shoe Strings On Louise is a fun, camp number with Elton doing his best Mick Jagger imitation.
A host of studio musicians are onboard but its orchestral arranger, Paul Buckmaster who brings an element of drama to the proceedings and truly carries the weight of these songs to 100% listener satisfaction. If you have any doubt, just listen to his opening of Sixty Years On, a chilling arrangement that creates a buzzing, hypnotic effect to set the mood.
This is a grand debut for a somewhat novice artist, led by the steady hand of producer Gus Dudgeon. It was only the beginning for Elton John and Bernie Taupin as a songwriting force to be reckoned with and it shows in every possible way.