Tom: I’m not doubting that Elton John is a genius. If I could have seen the Red Piano tour when I was in Vegas a few years ago, I would have been there; he’s brilliant. But like the Pet Shop Boys and many other artists, he’s put out a lot of singles in his time – and a lot of them have sunk without trace. The reason he can put a double CD ‘Greatest Hits’ out isn’t necessarily representative of his hit rate, but testament to just how many songs he’s written and sung.
Leon Russell may be less familiar to you; he’s just been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has a biography that is essentially the history of modern popular music.
And so last year, the two of them brought out an album called The Union – and a single is eventually making it out to give it a post-release boost. I’m glad of that – because if it’s anything to go by I may well have to get the full album. This is textbook soulful, melancholic Elton – “Your Song” or “Sacrifice” rather than “Crocodile Rock”.
Tim: Not bad, really. Halfway through each verse I want to jump in with ‘I’ll stand by you’, but it’s decent enough.
Tom: I don’t think it’s going to enter the public consciousness in the same way as those earlier songs, but it’s still making me sway in my seat and hold my metaphorical lighter in the air. To still be releasing music this good after forty years of releasing and performing? That’s amazing right there. Cliff Richard could only manage the bloody “Millennium Prayer” after forty years.
I do wish the bloke with the bass drum would tone it down a bit though – and I’m sure there’s a bit more autotune-tweaking than there really needs to be in there, which is a bit of a shame.