The inimitable Elton John this weekend. In concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, and recorded by the venerable BBC Radio 1 as part of their In Concert Series on December 22, 1973.
No need to point out that Elton John is a household name, and has been the better part of 40 years. With a well publicized and documented career, Elton John continues a touring schedule that, although it’s been widely noted he’s slowing down the pace, is still covering the globe.
This weekend it’s a listen-back to the earlier phase – the phase where Elton John was in the midst of rocketing to fame. The 1970s and the outrageous stage presentations, the string of non-stop hits and the tabloid-worthy headlines.
Sometimes the madness overshadowed the immense talent – and what’s nice about actually listening to this concert (rather than viewing it), is you get the chance to hear what made Elton John so popular and iconic as a songwriter (co-songwriter, with Bernie Taupin), and why so much of his music provided a backdrop to the 70s. There wasn’t a radio anywhere in the world that wasn’t playing at least one Elton John song – and those songs have become ingrained in our collective psyche.
But in 1973 we were hearing a lot of this music for the first time, and our opinions and memories of those songs hadn’t been formed yet – we hadn’t heard them for the hundredth time.
So as a reminder to those who were around – here’s Elton John as a bolt of lightning. If you weren’t around at the time, here’s a taste of what helped shape a decade.
Either way, play loud and sit back – it’s a little over 90 minutes.