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4.7 out of 5 stars261
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 25 March 2014
Unquestionably a five star album, we should all know by now just how good it is. Obviously some of Elton's finest work on the labum, Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding is an epic song worthy of inclusion on any classic rock list and this lengthy double album just rolls out great song after great song. Some people claim some tracks on this album are just 'fillers' which is complete nonsense. The album flows beautifully and a particular favourite moment comes when Your Sistser Can't Twist blasts straight into Saturday Night's Alright. Just brilliant.

Anyway, this 40th Anniversary edition has been nicely remastered (and while not in this package the new vinyls also sound fab) and comes beeutifully presented in a VHS kinda sized box, with a glorious hardback book. The CDs and DVD are all in slim card sleeves with nice artwork for each. Great to have the 70s docu on DVD and the Live discs are fantastic. The only downside to the bonus content is the revisited section, most of the covers are distinctively average at best with only John Grant, Imelda May and the Zac Brown Band standing out, struggled to listen to the rest. However the other bonus material on this disc is great concluding with Elton's brilliant version of The Who's Pinball Wizard. All in all a fantastic package commemoration 40 years of a true classic album.
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VINE VOICEon 13 April 2007
While it is possible to argue that there are perhaps a couple of Elton John albums which may rival (or even better) 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' in terms of song quality, there aren't any that have managed to match it in stylistic range. In other words 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' successfully manages to encompass every facet of Elton's musical styles in a double album package that is sharp and bright in tone with enough variety to never seem boring. It also makes a strong case against those who feel Elton's forte is in being a bland balladeer.
Rock 'n' roll - ' Your Sister Can't Twist ..', 'Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting', reggae - 'Jamaica Jerk Off', and soul - 'Bennie And The Jets', sits perfectly alongside Elton's more traditional ballads such as the well known 'Candle In The Wind' and 'Harmony' in an album that works on every level.
Bernie Taupin's lyrics are also varied in terms of theme ranging from his tribute to Marilyn Monroe - 'Candle In The Wind', prostitution - 'Sweet Painted Lady', cowboys - 'Roy Rogers', the film 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' and the unusual, futuristic 'Bennie And The Jets'.
Not every song is prime Elton though - 'Social Disease' and 'All The Girls Love Alice' aren't particularly striking but to be fair they're not exactly bad either.
Versitility is the key to the greatness of 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', whether musically, lyrically and also in Elton's vocal performance. In fact it's refreshing to hear what a really fine and versitile voice Elton had in his youth and it's an album like this that blows away any hint of the personality driven Elton in more recent years who's forte when he does record tends to be more often than not, boring and overblown ballads. On 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' he has greater scope which, whatever he does in the future he'll never be able to match. Elton's range had diminished with age to such an extent that there's no way he could ever record an album so diverse and varied as 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' again - that's why it's an album that deserves to be cherished.
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I hesitate to think of the number of times Elton John's 1973 magnum opus "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" has been reissued on CD since 1984 – what is it by now – 6 thousand or 6 million. But all numeric puns aside – this 2014 Universal/Mercury version with a brand new and comprehensive BOB LUDWIG Remaster is way out in front of them all. And I'd argue that the 'single disc' variant at under a fiver is all the audio love you'll ever need...

Fans will know that there's the Deluxe Edition with an Extra Disc of the whole album re-interpreted into modern day duets – and a 5-disc Super Deluxe Variant that gives us previously live shows, the duets set and DVD stuff too. But is all that fluff actually necessary - especially when you have to pay a pretty penny for it? I'd argue no - sometimes less is more. Let's get to the Norma Jeans, Bennie and His Jets and some sociable Fighting on a Saturday Night...

UK and US released 24 March 2014 – "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by ELTON JOHN on Universal/Mercury 375 858-9 (Barcode 602537585892) is a '40th Anniversary' single disc CD Remaster of the original 17-track 1973 double-album and plays out as follows (76:11 minutes):

1. (a) Funeral For A Friend (b) Love Lies Bleeding [Side 1]
2. Candle In The Wind
3. Bennie And The Jets
4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road [Side 2]
5. This Song Has No Title
6. Grey Seal
7. Jamaica Jerk-Off
8. I've Seen That Movie Too
9. Sweet Painted Lady [Side 3]
10. The Ballad Of Danny Bailey (1909-34)
11. Dirty Little Girl
12. All The Girls Love Alice
13. Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n' Roll) [Side 4]
14. Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting
15. Roy Rogers
16. Social Disease
17. Harmony
Tracks 1 to 17 are his 9th album "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" – a double-LP set released October 1973 in the UK on DJM Records DJLPD 1001 and in the USA on MCA Records MCA2-10003. All tracks were written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin – David Hentschel (Dave Henschel) was the Engineer and Gus Dudgeon Produced. Del Newman did Orchestral Arrangements on Tracks 4, 8, 9, 10, 15 and 17. The core band was Elton John on all Keyboards and Lead Vocals, Davey Johnstone on All Guitars and Backing Vocals, Dee Murray on Bass and backing Vocals and Nigel Olsson on Drums and Backing Vocals. David Hentschel plays A.R.P. Synth on "Funeral For A Friend" and "All The Girls Love Alice". the 2LP set "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" hit the No. 1 spot on both the UK and USA LP charts in October 1973.

The 12-page booklet features the same layout as the Gus Dudgeon 1995 remaster in that it reproduces the inner tri-gatefold of the original vinyl double album with Ian Beck's lovely artwork as well as David Larkham and Michael Ross's illustrations and lyrics. There's no liner notes per say and basic credits. Long-time tape supremo BOB LUDWIG has handled the new 2014 Remaster. Fans will know that the 2003 DELUXE EDITION double had stunning remasters from Andy Strange, Chris Bellman and Tony Cousins – so is this version any better? I don’t know if better is the word – more 'equal too'. I like both - but there's something about this new go at it that sounds just that little bit more nuanced...

1973 was a huge year for Elton. Along with Bernie Taupin his lyricist – their collaborative songwriting mojo seemed to be not just on fire but blazing. His 8th album the beautifully and elaborately packaged "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player" with the big hits "Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock" had gone to No. 1 in both Blighty and The States in February - and no sooner had the public drawn breath then they were hit with his double-album meisterwerk in October 1973 – "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (another Number 1 winner). It opens with the eleven-minute magnificence of "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" – a two-part almost Prog monster that rocks, rolls and sweeps for the whole of its brilliant duration. It proved such a winner with fans that DJM Records couldn't resist actually releasing its eleven minutes as the A-side to a 12" Single EP in September 1978 in a unique Picture Sleeve (DJT 15000). The hero of the hour is surely Davey Johnstone and his stunning axework that seems to be everywhere in your speakers. It's followed by the album's most iconic song "Candle In The Wind" – a love song and homage to the sad demise of Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe – later reprised by Elton to reflect the world's sadness at Diana Spencer's loss in 1997 – another princess taken too soon. There's real warmth in this transfer and the song is still touching. The 'live' feel to "Bennie And The Jets" comes over like a football anthem – those punched piano riffs are in your face and threatening to smash the cocktail glasses over the hotel waiter's head.

Another hero of the album is the Jazz sleaze shuffle of "I've Seen That Movie Too" – here in gorgeous Audio (Drums, Bass and Piano all shining) – the whole thing elevated into a thing of musical beauty by Del Newman's complimentary string arrangements. Its cleverly followed by another forgotten Elton sweetie - "Sweet Painted Lady" - and to this day I don't know whose playing the Accordion or Tuba (all part of Del Newman’s strings)? The transfer of "Danny Bailey..." gives more muscle to those Backing Vocals and Strings - while Davey's lowdown and snotty Guitar sound on "Dirty Little Girl" gives the 'hasn't had a bath in years' tune real anger and attack. Speaking of Blistering Guitar parts – the sexually knowing "All The Girls Love Alice" rocks like a mother – Davey ripping it up while David Hentschel bottoms the chorus with that clever ARP Synth fill. The faster-than-anything-else bubblegum pop of the souped-up "Your Sister Can't Twist..." sounds utterly amazing but actually leaves me cold. You can't say the same of the 'belly full of beer' rocker "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" leaping out of your speakers like a boot boy intent on damaging private property (what a tune this is).

Side 4 winds down with "Roy Rogers" – the dynamic duo's obsession with all things Wild West surfacing once again. The overall soundstage is full and incredibly alive – those strings and pedal steel wrapping themselves around Elton's vocals. The twittering birds and bulldog barks of "Social Disease" start to increase in Volume as the song progresses – and again the Remaster is fantastic - highlighting Elton's Piano and Davey's Banjo plucking. It ends on the surprisingly upbeat "Harmony" and there's amazing clarity on the Acoustic Guitars and those layered backing vocals.

Re-listening to 1973's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" in its entirety in 2016 and you're struck by its track-after-track brilliance – a genuine 1970s Classic Rock LP masterpiece. My only fidget would be that there's a truly gorgeous 'Acoustic Mix' of "Candle In The Wind" on the 2003 Deluxe Edition that would have made the most perfect singular additional Bonus Track on here – ending the whole thing on a reminder of just how touching Elton’s songwriting chops were/still are (but alas).

"...Never knowing who to cling to when the rain set in..." - Elton sang sadly on "Candle In The Wind". Well if you're in a nostalgic mood - start your journey back down the Yellow Brick Road right here. And remember - this gorgeous Audio '40th Anniversary' trek won't cost you a flight to Vegas or a night at Caesars Palace either...but I suspect it'll feel just as good...
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I owned this on 'Vinyl' when first released way back in the Seventies, brings back a memory or two in truth.
Since when it became lost, always meant to replace it...now many years on i have.
Of course this was recorded in the comparatively early days of 'Elton's' long and illustrious career.
Because it is a long time since i last heard it i'd forgotten one or two tracks, obviously not the hits which included the 'title' track, 'Benny And The Jets' 'Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting' and of course the brilliant 'Candle In The Wind' ( the latter of course was much later re-recorded with the lyric's adapted to honour the memory of 'Princess Diana')
Overall this is a very good album 'Elton @ Bernie Taupin ' of course went on to write some fantastic songs which of course has given 'Elton' many, many fantastic 'hit' recordings....he is one of the 'great' survivor's of the 'pop' scene....his stage show and dress code, not to mention the size of some of the 'spectacles' he's worn, these things along with his music is what has defined his success.
The album is filled with many memorable tracks -
01. Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding
02. Candle In The Wind
03. Bennie And The Jets
04. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
05. This Song Has No Title
06. Grey Seal
07. Jamaica Jerk-Off
08. I've Seen That Movie Too
09. Sweet Painted Lady
10. The Ballad Of Danny Bailey (1909-1934)
11. Dirty Little Girl
12. All The Girls Love Alice
13. Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock'n Roll)
14. Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
15. Roy Rogers
16. Social Disease
17. Harmony
If you like the music and have not got this album in your collection, i'd say...... so worth checking out.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 April 2014
A review of the Super Deluxe Edition...

To some people, Sir Elton John never bettered this double album from 1973-74. For others, it's a patchy album loaded with hits in the first half and full of filler at the end. For me, it's up there with some of the great entertainer's best work and for the life of me can't see where there is ANY filler or sub-par songs. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", from here abbreviated to the acronym GYBR, marked the merging of all the various styles that Elton and Bernie Taupin had been trying out through the earlier years of their song-writing career. They'd had a few hits along the way but this had not been reflected in sales. This album is where it all gels. Perfect melodies, thoughtful & sometimes controversial lyrics, great production with a solid work ethic. The end result is one of the greatest double albums of popular music ever released. That's enough of my praise and opinions about this album. What's in the Super Deluxe Edition and is it worth the coin?

Disc one is the complete double album which fits on one cd. It's been lovingly remastered by Bob Ludwig. Read his name and say no more. You know this is going to sound like it did 40 years ago if not better. All good so far.

Disc two, "Revisited & Beyond". The first nine tracks of this disc are contemporary re-recordings/interpretations. I think this portion depends on a few variables. Do you like the artist responsible for the cover and their style of music? If you you are partial to a bit of The Zac Brown Band, Ed Sheeran, or Emeli Sandé (which I am) you might enjoy these recordings which, if you believe the blurb, Elton picked out himself. For me it's like a box of all-sorts chocolates and what I like others may not and vice versa. The one that stays closest to the original is Imelda May's take on "Your Sister Can't Twist..". All the other tracks have each artists distinct sound and arrangements with what I would kindly call mixed results. The remainder of disc two consists of some demos, single only releases and b-sides. Do not be deceived. There are some mega hits here such as "Philadephia Freedom", Elton's superb cover of The Who's "Pinball Wizard" for the film Tommy as well as the seasonal favourite "Step Into Christmas".

Discs three & four are the sugar for the fans and if you like live Elton as much as I do you're in for a real treat. Live At Hammersmith Odeon December 1973, recorded for and broadcast by the BBC, features nine tracks from the recently released GYBR album and a selection of EJ's hits of the time including Daniel, Rocket Man and a personal favourite of mine Honky Cat. To date there have only been five commercially released live albums and this is one of a handful of recordings featuring the original five piece EJ Band with Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson, Ray Cooper and the late great Dee Murray on bass. These two discs are almost worth the price of this set. It's such a joy to hear Elton performing these songs (in their original key) before he almost lost his voice for good at the end of the 80's. The master musicians are on fire as well.

Disc five is a dvd featuring the period documentary "Say Goodbye To Norma Jean And Other Things". It's vintage stuff and for what it is makes for interesting viewing but not what you'd call essential or fascinating. If you're looking for a great doco on how GYBR came to be click here "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Classic Albums [DVD] [2001]". This very informative documentary was a bonus disc in the 30th Anniversary edition "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (+DVD)" with the album on two hybrid SACD's featuring a 5.1 surround sound mix which can also be found here "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" on Blu-ray audio as another part of the 40th Anniversary re-issue series.

If you're a hardcore Elton fan like me and are chasing some rare live stuff this Super Deluxe is what you need. If you are new to this album try the Blu-Ray audio via the link above or the other editions in the 40th Anniversary series "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" single cd, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" 2cd deluxe or you can go old school with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" on double vinyl. Whatever your format, it's all here.

"Harmony And Me We're Pretty Good Company..."
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on 21 January 2013
I picked this album up just a few days ago, having wanted to buy it for some time, but never making that purchase. Anyhow, I spent this morning listening to it and, by all accounts, I am very pleased with the full album.

Before buying the record, I knew of the staple songs: 'Candle in the Wind', 'Bennie and the Jets', the title track and 'Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)'. One could easily pick all of these songs as their reason for loving this album, and the Classic status that goes with it. Without question, this album is a Classic and, no doubt, the songs mention above contribute to that.

However, from listening to the album, my opinion is that any song could be classed as a winner; they are all strong and, as a result, the album is lovely to listen to in full. Also, with this record, Elton comes full circle, hence the title of my review. What I mean by this is that Elton embraces all aspects of music with this album, it seems, whether it be ballads, slow blues or full-on rockers. He delivers a nice blend of different styles and it really works well for him here.

My personal favourite track is 'Bennie and the Jets', although I really do like them all. In all honesty, Elton strikes gold here and comes full circle; this album is a fine example of great musicianship.

Finally, the sound of the album is fantastic, great value for money. The album comes with a nice booklet, which has the lyrics to the songs and that's always nice.

So, to conclude, I'm really glad I finally bought 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road'. It is a really good album and definitely worthy of the Classic status it has, in my eyes.

Buy it.

Thanks for reading this review.
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on 27 May 2000
Other reviewers select Bennie and Candle, but this starts so well with Funeral for a friend that all the songs seem brilliant. Grey Seal, a redo from earlier times is excellent as is Dirty little girl. Of course this is the album that gave us Saturday Night's Alright for fighting, so why wait for any more recommendation! The CD doesn't feel like the original double album. If you can then find one and buy it just for the pictures, but buy the CD for the sound quality. I'v'e been listening to this album since it came out and it often surprises me with new detail.
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on 27 March 2014
Just got this at £14 ish as I ordered it early. Its in 5.1 and the sound is amazing. I have loved this album since my brother used to play it on cassette on his mono cassette player under his pillow till we fell asleep, he also played it on his record player.
I bought it on all formats when I left home and now on bluray audio format which if you have 5.1 you will hear things you have never heard before. A must to get. You will not be dissapointed at all.
Tried to let people know what it sounds like, not great like this but it is a great sound when your in the room.

[...]
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on 6 April 2011
I bought this on LP (vinyl) and on cassette tape back when the album was released I think in 1974. After going to his charity concert at Dean Court, Bournemouth, Elton virtually did a full rendition of the album. Next day whilst still 'high on adrenallin' post concert, I ordered the CD and wasn't disappointed.

It sounded so much richer and bought back memories of the day when I first bought the LP.

Probably one of, if not THE best albums he's ever recorded. Top stuff and a worthy purchase.
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Elton John reached his first peak in 1973 with this originally two record recording. Now on one disc, it's a masterpiece. Yielding four major singles and plenty of concert standards, this CD surpasses anything he has ever recorded in originality and versatility. "Funeral For A Friend" is everyone's favorite and "Candle In The Wind" later became a "live" single (although it charted poorly). Who can forget "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" with it's plaintive lyrics and the concert stopping "Bennie And The Jets"? "Grey Seal" was rerecorded from four years prior with a more complex arrangment and "Jamiaca Jerf-Off" is the precursor to "Island Girl" with it's Jamaican lilt. ... attitude comes through with "All The Girls Love Alice", a song he included on his rich Box Set. Every song is a master and it's not surprising that Elton John had way too many great songs at one time. Plenty of ballads, hard rockers, sweet melodies and lyrics that turn your ear, this is one of Elton John's classics! A great leaflet with all the lyrics is included.
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