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The concept album Tumbleweed Connection was released in October 1970, and reached the Top Ten on the Billboard 200. The live album 17-11-70 (11–17–70 in the US) was recorded at a live show aired from A&R Studios on WABC-FM in New York City. Sales of the live album were heavily hit in the US when an east coast bootlegger released the performance several weeks before the official album, including all 60 minutes of the aircast, not just the 40 minutes selected by Dick James Music.
John and Taupin then wrote the soundtrack to the obscure film Friends and then the album Madman Across the Water, the latter reaching the Top Ten and producing the hit “Levon”, while the soundtrack album produced the hit “Friends”. In 1972, Davey Johnstone joined the Elton John Band on guitar and backing vocals. The band released Honky Chateau, which became John’s first American number 1 album, spending five weeks at the top of the charts and spawning the hit singles “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” (which is often compared to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”) and “Honky Cat”.
The pop album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player came out at the start of 1973, and produced the hits “Crocodile Rock” and “Daniel”; the former became his first US Billboard Hot 100 number one hit. Both the album and “Crocodile Rock” were the first album and single, respectively on the consolidated MCA Records label in the USA, replacing MCA’s other labels including Uni.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road gained instant critical acclaim and topped the chart on both sides of the Atlantic, remaining at Number 1 for two months. It also temporarily established John as a glam rock star. It contained the number 1 hit “Bennie and the Jets”, along with the popular and praised “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “Candle in the Wind”, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”, “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” and “Grey Seal” (originally recorded and released in 1970 as the B-side to the UK-only single “Rock and Roll Madonna”). There is also a VHS and DVD as part of the Classic Albums series, discussing the making, recording, and popularity of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road through concert and home video footage including interviews
I can’t explain it, but this is my favorite Elton John song.