Elton's recordings prior to this, especially the Empty sky album, are interesting, but this is the album that catapulted him into the big time, where he has remained ever since. The tracks for this album are dated January 1970, but only ten of them appeared on the original album. Other tracks were released as singles. This re-mastered edition includes four bonus tracks taken from the original sessions.
The first single, Border song, made the American charts but became a bigger hit for Aretha Franklin, who thus became the first singer as far as I know to have a hit with a cover of an Elton John song. Elton's own follow-up to Border song was a UK-only single coupling two tracks (Rock and roll Madonna, Grey seal) that were omitted from the original album, but which are included here. Elton later re-recorded Grey seal for his classic album Goodbye yellow brick road, but the version here is his rarer first recording of the song.
The next single was Your song, released in America following impressive live performances there. The B-side of that single, Take me to the pilot, features lyrics that even their writer Bernie Taupin admits are meaningless. He sometimes does that sort of thing but points out that the words sound good together and that's what matters. Yet Bernie was also capable of writing meaningful lyrics of a high quality, and his best songs all share that chat eristic. While the best example here is Your song, others include The greatest discovery (about the birth of a baby), Sixty years on (reflecting on what the future might offer; about forty of those sixty have so far elapsed) and First episode at Hienton (inspired by a time in Bernie's youth).
This was a great album, but even greater albums were to follow in the ensuing years.