Not many performers have a rich career to draw from like Elton John has.  From his fairly unknown Empty Sky (1969) debut (released in the UK way before the US), and his first album that generated a hit (“Your Song”), Elton John (1970), to his best known Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973), through his ambitious Blue Moves (1976), released on his newly formed Rocket Records, and his later years efforts, Elton John is one that can fill multiple legitimate ‘best of’ collections…and not repeat a single huge hit.

Through all of these rich periods, Elton kept a steady evolutionary path, a very satisfying path, that paid off handsomely for him.

Many have favorite EJ periods.  Some will point to the stunning perfection of Madman Across The Water (1971), with “Levon”, “Tiny Dancer”, and seven other indispensible gems.  It was followed up by my personal favorite, Honky Château (1971), which produced “Honky Cat”, and “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be a Long, Long Time)”.

But there are so, so many Elton John classics, albums and songs, that represent not only the man (and his songwriter – let’s not forget Taupin), but nearly every musical change that Rock and Roll has endured, the last decade excepted.

With so many hits and excellent albums available to Elton John fans, it stands to reason that there will be solid favorites.  I wonder just how many fans from the beginning were able to follow EJ all the way to his current status.  For me, I count “Crocodile Rock” as one of the great pop songs in our  long history.  But then, Elton John could entertain me with many of his songs.  Not all…but many.

I’m quite interested in what you may consider the best album from Elton John’s catalog.  I’m also interested in which song you might feel is Elton’s best.

By MARowe

23 thoughts on “Poll: Which Album Is Best? – Elton John”
  1. Actually, this is an easy one for me. Madman Across the Water is my definite favourite – not a doubt. It is one of my desert island discs and in my top ten all time. I think Indian Sunset is the finest song he and Taupin ever composed, with a my second being Madman Across the Water. As a whole, the entire album is total perfection.

  2. Albums:

    1. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
    2. Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy
    3. Tumbleweed Connection
    4. Honky Chateau
    5. Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player

    Songs:

    1. Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
    2. Philadelphia Freedom
    3. The Bitch Is Back
    4. Have Mercy On The Criminal
    5. All The Girls Love Alice

    the list can keep going!

  3. I agree with Tony. “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” is perfection and without a doubt Elton’s best album.

    An interesting thing about “CFamp;TBDC” is that how it came in between the two weakest albums of Elton’s classic period: the mediocre “Caribou” and the only slightly better “Rock of the Westies.”

    “Blue Moves” was Elton’s last truly brilliant album. After that. most of his albums were pretty much a couple of killer singles and a bunch of filler. (Of course, even Elton’s filler tracks are better than a lot of artist’s best work!)

    “Too Low for Zero” was his best album of the Geffen years (81-86).

    “The Captain amp; The Kid” was his best album of the 90s/00s.

    On the flip side, his worst album by far is the painfully bad and unlistenable “Victim of Love” from 1979. Even as a hardcore fan who can find something to love in even EJ’s weakest albums, I have to admit that “VOL” is just plain horrible.

  4. In chronological order, Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across the Water, Honky Chateau, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road amp; Captain Fantastic, all from the early to mid-’70s are top of the heap in my opinion.

    Personally, I’d put Honky Chateau 1st amp; Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 2nd for quality amp; consistency. Then the other three in no particular order. (Captain Fantastic is my wife’s # 1, though she agrees that Honky Chateau is also a contender.)

    Don’t Shoot Me amp; Caribou are great ones as well. But these two fall just short of the others due to inconsistent, weaker material.

    Aside from a smattering of material from the eponymous Elton John album, the live 11/17/70 and later, Rock of the Westies, there is very little else in EJ’s catalog that I consider worthwhile.

  5. Madman Across the Water is unquestionably no. 1…he was hitting on all cylinders there. A neglected classic in his catalog is the soundtrack to the obscure film Friends. Search it out if you like Elton’s music fromt that era.

  6. That is a tough one but Tumbleweed Connection with Goodbye yellow brick road is a tie. Can’t pick favorite song but one of his underated songs is blues for my baby and me from Don’t shoot me I’m only the piano player just a fantastic song

  7. We’ve done this before and it is one of the tougher artists to decide. I can get it down to two for each….

    Albums – “Honkey Chateau” and since no one has given any love to it, “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player”…

    Songs: “Levon” and “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters” ask me tomorrow and I might say “Rocket Man” and “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”.

    Pretty slick huh? Notice how I listed four songs even though I said I’d narrow it down to two? Well, maybe not so slick. LOL

  8. My familiarity with Mr. John’s albums is spotty at best. I’m ashamed to say I know him mostly through comps and individual songs and not as an album artist.

    That said, my two favorite songs of his are “Rocket Man” and “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”.

  9. I’m always hard pressed to pick any single album from his early 70s output, say from Tumbelweed through Blue Moves. They are all wonderful. Don’t Shoot Me was the first one I bought, so that one is always going to be special. 11-17-70 was just astounding to my young ears – that three guys could make so much noise and be so tight – it’s the album that kept me from giving up on piano lessons. And Yellow Brick Road came along at a major time in my life (moving with my family from KY to Germany) and kept a homesick teen sane. Impossible to choose.

    Songs:
    Burn Down The Mission (11/17/70)
    Indian Sunset
    Harmony
    I’m Gonna Be A Teenage Idol
    Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

  10. The album 11-17-70 is my favorite, the energy of that show in front of that small studio audience is simply incredible!

  11. I think Goodbye to Yellow Brick Road is the creative peak in his career.

    BUT Cap’n Fantastic and TBDCB is his most perfect amp; flawless album.

  12. Album:
    1. Madman Across The Water
    2. Tumbleweed Connection
    3. Elton John

    Song:
    Tie between Levon and Tiny Dancer

  13. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is the best album by far but oddly my favourite Elton John song is Someone Saved My Life Tonight off of Captain Fantastic.

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