Elton's career has had its ups and downs, but this album came at a time when he was in top form. It followed Breaking hearts (featuring Sad songs say so much, Passengers) and that in turn followed Too low for zero (featuring I'm still standing, I guess that's why they call it the blues). Both of those albums contained some fine album tracks as well as those major hit singles and some lesser hits, and this album followed the pattern. Gus Dudgeon, producer of Elton's albums from his classic 1970 to 1976 period, returned to that position for this album.
The biggest hit here was Nikita, which by making the UK top three, was Elton's biggest UK hit for nearly ten years, although he'd had plenty of UK top ten hits in between. Nikita also made the top ten in America. The follow-up single from this album, Wrap her up made the top twenty on both sides of the Atlantic without capturing the public imagination to the extend of its predecessor. Both hits featured George Michael on backing vocals. A third single from the album, Cry to heaven, became a minor UK hit. By that time, anybody who wanted the song probably had the album. Other great tracks on the album include This town, Tell me what the papers say and Candy by the pound.
When one thinks of Elton John's albums, this one isn't usually among the first to come to mind, but that's only because Elton recorded so many great albums. There is much to like about this album, which was expanded with this re-issue to include The man who never died (the B-side of Nikita), a live version of Restless (the studio version of which was the B-side of Wrap her up) and live versions of Sorry seems to be the hardest word and I'm still standing. This may not be the place to begin a collection of Elton's studio albums, but no serious Elton John fan should be without it.