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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once again, the hits are not the best Elton John songs here
With every single Elton John album I find myself reaching the same conclusion, to wit: his best songs are never his big hits. "Daniel" (#2 on the Billboard singles chart) and "Crocodile Rock" (#1) are certainly okay, but "Elderberry Wine," "Blues For Baby and Me," "High Flying Bird," and "Have Mercy on the Criminal" are all better songs. This would help to explain why...
Published on 6 July 2005 by Lawrance M. Bernabo

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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Elton's best
As a lover of guitar rock, I never thought much of Elton's up-tempo numbers apart from the timeless classic "Crocodile rock" (included here) and the faster tracks on this album don't do anything to alter that opinion. EJ was always better on the slower numbers and the standout tracks (apart from "Rock") are "Daniel", "High flying bird" (Lovely harmonies) and my personal...
Published on 17 Jun 2008 by D. Hanson


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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once again, the hits are not the best Elton John songs here, 6 July 2005
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (Audio CD)
With every single Elton John album I find myself reaching the same conclusion, to wit: his best songs are never his big hits. "Daniel" (#2 on the Billboard singles chart) and "Crocodile Rock" (#1) are certainly okay, but "Elderberry Wine," "Blues For Baby and Me," "High Flying Bird," and "Have Mercy on the Criminal" are all better songs. This would help to explain why this 1973 release was the second Elton John album to reach the top of the Billboard album chart (after "Honkey Chateau"). You can point to this album and his other 1973 release, the double-album "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," as defining the year that Elton John became the biggest pop star in the world.
Compared to his earlier efforts this album is clearly an attempt to be more pop oriented, not to mention a showcase for the musical diversity of John. "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player" continues to feature the orchestral arrangements of Paul Buckmaster, who functioned in a lesser way for Elton John and Bernie Taupin the way George Martin did for the Beatles. This is a much stronger album that "Honky Chateau" (ironically the one album where I listen to "Rocket Man" and decide it is both the best and most popular song), which came out the same year, and clearly sets the stage for the grandeur of "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road." Behind that and "Madman Across the Water," I would rank this Elton John's third best album.
This CD reissue includes the bonus tracks "Screw You (Young Man's Blues)," "Jack Rabbit," "Whenever You're Ready (We'll Go Steady Again)," and a simple piano version of "Skyline Pigeon." So if you do not yet have this album in your music library then there is no reason not to make a point of making sure that is the version you pick up.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A landmark album for Elton, 15 May 2009
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (Audio CD)
Some people may now remember this album as the one before Goodbye yellow brick road, but this was an important album that remains one of Elton's best. Four bonus tracks have been added to this re-issue but (unlike some of Elton's other re-issues) none of the bonus tracks were A-side singles. In fact, they were all originally released as B-sides, one of them being a re-recording of Skyline pigeon, originally released on Empty sky. The re-recording features Elton playing piano instead of harpsichord.

As originally released, the main album became the first Elton John album to top the British album charts. It was also the first album to spawn two British top five singles hits. In America, this was Elton's second chart-topping album. The two singles both made the top three there, with Crocodile rock (a look back at the rock'n'roll era) giving Elton his first American number one single hit. The other single, Daniel, was originally written about a Vietnam war veteran but, like many great songs, it can be interpreted to mean a lot of different things.

There are many other excellent songs on this album including Texan love song, which the writer of the liner notes suggests may be some kind of tribute to country singer Merle Haggard (never mind that the Hag is Californian). That's possible - Elton once recorded a duet with Tammy Wynette and later covered Stand by your man, for in her memorial album, so he has shown some interest in country music - but I'm not sure if it's true.

Other excellent songs include Blues for my baby and me, Midnight creeper (with its references to Tina Turner), I'm going to be a teenage idol and High flying bird. This has always been one of my favorite Elton John albums and remains so.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't know why, but..., 4 May 2010
This review is from: Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (Audio CD)
... this is my fav Elton's album, a very underrated LP in my opinion. Songs like HAVE MERCY ON THE CRIMINAL or HIGH FLYING BIRD is by far two of Elton's high peaks, and don't forget BLUES FOR MY BABY AND ME, or the lovely TEXAN LOVE SONG.
And, yes, there's the two blockbuster CROCODILE ROCK and DANIEL, that is by themself two very good reasons to buy this album.
I don't know if YELLOW BRICK is a superior performance (no, I suppose, but is a personal taste affair, no discussion), or if the first three lps are artistic masterpieces in front a good and well craft piece-of-art. I don't care. For sure, DON'T SHOOT me is an underrated album since the time it was published (a.d. 1973... the time in which I bought my first lps, argh...).
If you like Elton's songs, and aren't familiar with every of his lps, buy this with confience, believe me: you'll find here a bunch of lovely melodies, some very great songs, great fun, and romantics. Great album, really.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different..., 15 Nov 2003
By 
Andy Millward (Tiptree, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (Audio CD)
Nice to see a number of very early tracks reappear - I once owned a tape containing these and other numbers from Elton's embryonic years. Good stuff, too.
But the main event is Don't Shoot Me. I'm going to brave a disagreement with previous reviewers who praised the ballads on this collection and disregarded the rest.
I'd say forget everything and listen to Have Mercy on the Criminal, a good old-fashioned emotional melodrama of a song in the finest tradition of Madman across the Water (ie. the title track of that album.) Elt throws the kitchen sink at Have Mercy, to tremendous effect. Note the dramatic major to minor chord changes, soaring strings and vocal pyrotechnics designed to wring every last tear from the audience. An absolute belter of a track, and worth the price of admission on its own!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elton's concerted bid for pop stardom, 31 Aug 2001
By 
Pete Walker (Church Stretton, Shropshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (Audio CD)
If the singles 'Your song' and 'Honky cat' made the name Elton John familiar to radio listeners, and 'Rocket man' became his first major hit single (nearing the top of the charts in Spring 1972), it was the album 'Don't shoot me...' which confirmed that he had really made it as a major force in British popular music. Released on the heels of its two hit singles ('Crocodile rock' and 'Daniel'), the album prepared the way for the phenomenally successful double album 'Goodbye yellow brick road' in late 1973, and showed Elton fully embracing the identity of the flamboyant pop superstar. Gone was the orchestrated, sombre style of the 'Madman across the water' album, and in its place was, for the most part, unapologetic mainstream pop, characterised by short, lively songs with catchy melodies. The impression was that Elton had finally 'sold out', and the attempt to give him 'pop' appeal is further demonstrated by the lavish album packaging (reproduced in this CD reissue but inevitably lacking the impact it had when in full LP size), which comprised pages of self-conscious colour photos of Elton and co-writer Bernie Taupin.
Although moving into new musical territory in some respects, it must be admitted that Elton handles the 'pop' style just as effectively as he did his earlier more thoughtful music. 'Crocodile rock', 'Teacher I need you' and 'Teenage idol' are all excellent pop songs with catchy melodies and clever references to music styles of both past and present. In contrast there are a few ballads which provide the more memorable songs, such as 'Have mercy on the criminal', a powerful orchestrated epic which would have been perfectly at home on the 'Madman' album, the anthemic 'High flying bird', and 'Blues for my baby and me' which is interesting in its use of a sitar, but compositionally sounds somewhat ragged. 'Daniel' covers both bases, being a gentle ballad but with an attractive melody providing singles chart appeal. Perhaps not surprisingly in view of the frequency with which Elton was turning out albums at this time, whilst having a new band and using a new studio, and also trying to change his career direction, there are some weak songs on 'Don't shoot me...', most notably 'Texas love song' (which is more in character with the 'Honky chateau' album) and 'Midnight creeper'.
Four additional tracks, originally the B-sides of singles, are included in this reissue. Three are forgettable, the sort of inconsequential songs Elton often used as B-sides when they were not good enough for an album, but 'Skyline pigeon' is a John-Taupin classic and with its appealing melody and poetic lyrics is one of the best songs from their early years. Originally recorded with harpsichord and organ for Elton's debut album, this more brisk version with piano and rhythm section was the B-side of 'Daniel' and fits very well with the mood of 'High flying bird'. These two 'avian' tracks alone are probably worth the price of the CD, but even though not all the album is to my liking it is nevertheless essential to any confirmed EJ fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rediscover Elton, 23 Oct 2010
I as at secondary school in 1972 when this came out and even then, Elton wasn't really cool in the UK, compared with David Bowie and Roxy Music. But my older brother used to buy all the albums as he was working and I remember being secretly impressed with Don't Shoot Me. Considering Elton was churning out an album a year, his output between 1970 -1975 is impressive. For me this is a nostalgia buy and I'm back there with the flares and cheese cloth shirts. It's a record that stands the test of time compared with, say, Caribou. Just good pop songs - guilty pleasure maybe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The 70's were the 70's, but this is fine!, 27 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (Audio CD)
Elton john is a man of many colours! This was in the age of pre-glam rock, when he was still finding himself. He had had great success with Honkey Chateau, Madman and Tumbleweed, but now pop called, and he answered. Daniel was the 1st single I ever bought so it has special significance. Crock-rock is just fun, but there are mellow songs too. Take the man seriously and travel back to the early 70's. After Yellow brick road it all went a bit downhill, so enjoy the best of Elton with this (and that)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Elton does it again - 25 years ago!, 16 Aug 2000
This review is from: Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (Audio CD)
This is the one album that I would thank Elton for, in person, if I ever had the chance. The most fantastic track are blues for my baby and me, high flying bird, and of course, no-one can sit still to crocodile rock! If your cruisin' in the car and you're an Elton fan, then give this a go - it will cut your journey time by half!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good music, 19 Jun 2014
By 
Amazon Customer "Big Ears" (CHELMSFORD, ESSEX United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (Audio CD)
I enjoyed the combination of musical notes and rhythms, also the words that Mr John sings. If you like this music you should consider buying this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated classic, 12 May 2014
By 
A. Parry "Andypaz" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This was one of Eltons lesser celebrated albums but contains two classic songs and supported by a solid bunch of others. This periods was his most productive which eclipses anything post 1980 when in my opinion he lost his way (apart from Too low for Zero)
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Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player
Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player by Elton John (Audio CD - 1995)
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