8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I just love this album - first released in 1975 it showcases Elton John and Bernie Taupins's mastery of lyrics brilliantly. It also demonstrates EJ's ability to inject real atmosphere and imagery into his singing. The most famous track from this album is probably the single "Someone Saved My life Tonight" - the "someone" is thought to be a reference to Long John Baldry who persuaded EJ against a potentially unhappy marriage that may have undermined his music career. Everything about this album is perfect, including the sleeve graphics, and, although, the tempos vary every track is solid gold. Buy it, transport yourself back in time to 1975 and bathe in the waters of nostalgia.
In my humble opinion, probably one of the best albums ever made, and, in my view, certainly the best EJ album of all time. Recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This album is a series of songs about the sixties, beginning when Elton and Bernie first met and ending when Elton's first album, Empty sky, was released. As such, it is likely to be best appreciated by those who are familiar with the story behind the songs, but as most people who listen to this album don't know the men personally and haven't read any biographies about Elton (and I'm not sure how much those biographies say about the period in question anyway, since I haven`t yet read any of them), the music here has to stand on its own merit.
The CD booklet, like the original vinyl album insert, contains lyrics for Dogs in the kitchen, a song attacking music industry bosses that never appeared on the original album. Apparently, Elton never recorded the song, but thought that merely including the lyrics in the booklet was sufficient to make his point.
The songs that actually made up the original album are presented in the order in which the events that inspired them occurred. The title track introduces thee two main characters, these being Captain Fantastic (Elton) and the brown dirt cowboy (Bernie). Subsequent tracks show some of the resentment that Elton and Bernie felt about the moguls who controlled the music business. This is particularly evident on Bitter fingers, which explains that it is hard to simply write songs to order, especially if you're told what kind of song is required. Away from the music business itself, other songs tell of life growing up as young men in the sixties, a good example being Tell me when the whistle blows.
The only single released from the original album was Someone saved my life tonight, which made the top ten in America but didn't do so well in Britain, where it just messed the top twenty. Two other singles appear on this re-release as bonus tracks, together with one of their B-sides. Lucy in the sky with diamonds, a cover of the Beatles classic, should be instantly recognizable. Although it doesn't say so in the liner notes, I think this was recorded for a Beatles tribute album (All this and world war two) . In any case, it was a hugely successful single, become an American number one and British top ten hit. The other A-side single presented here as a bonus track, Philadelphia freedom, , also topped the American singles chart but just missed the British top ten. The interesting fact about this song is that Elton and Bernie wrote it following a request by Billie Jean King, the famous tennis player, for a theme song for her team.
This isn't the most accessible Elton John album. It takes a few plays to get into, but it is a fascinating album and is further strengthened by the bonus tracks. Serious Elton John fans definitely need this album.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2005
Having been a big Elton fan for as long as I can remember ( I grew up listening to Elton courtsey of my oldest brother who bought each album as it came out ), this is by far my favourite from an exceptional catalogue. I was 10 when this came out, but was instantly smitten from the first time I heard this.
Every song on this album is an absolute gem from the opening guitar riff of the title track right through to the repeated vocals of Curtains. Thirty years later, still, whenever I put the CD on I just HAVE to listen to the whole thing - the remarkable tunes and lyrics just make you want to shut everything else out and listen - and not stop listening until it's finished!
Both Elton and Bernie Taupin were at the height or their powers on this album - Elton's ability to match the music to the lyrics was never better showcased than here. Maybe it's because they were both writing about their path to fame and glory. Whatever, never has a record been so personal, yet so accessible to the wider audience.
In my opinion, they never bettered this album.They have come very close several times ( most noticably on "2 low 4 Zero" , " The One" and "Songs From The West Coast" ), but they have yet to conquer these dizzying heights again.
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2004
To me this is Elton's best album. It represents everything good in Elton John music: chock full of memorable lyrics and tunes you find yourself singing long after they're done.
You get some of Elton's greatest hits ("Someone Saved My Life Tonight," "Philadelpia Freedom," and his cover of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds") along with lesser known masterpieces ("Curtains," "Tower of Babel," and "We All Fall in Love Sometimes"). All in all, the album as a whole is nothing short of fantastic. I'm able to put it on and listen to it straight through without having to hit the advance button.
"Curtains" is probably my favorite song on the album: "I used to know this old scarecrow, he was my song, my joy and sorrow..." You also get the added bonus of three singles that weren't on the original album: "Philadelphia Freedom," "One Day at a Time," and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds."
I was digging through my old albums and found I had the original album. The detailed artwork is amazing. There also was a lyric booklet as well as a Captain Fantasic poster. While I like CD's, you tend to miss out on this sort of stuff due to size constraints. It's really pretty cool.
If I were to limit myself to only one Elton John album that I felt was representative of his career, this is the album I'd get.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2000
Elton John has never failed to impress me, and, as usual, this album lives up to his high standards. As a school pupil I usually get endless abuse about being a fan of Elton John, but with 'Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy' the perception of my peers has altered; after I lent them this album they appreciated the true talent that Elton possesses! Particular favourites of mine and those highlighted by my mates are 'Someone Saved My Life Tonight' and 'Lucy in the sky with Diamonds'. Although these are the better known of the tracks on the album they thoroughly deserve the recognition they've received. This album takes you on a roller-coaster journey through the emotions of triumphs and tribulations and is definately worth buying, no matter what age you are! A timeless classic!
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2004
I am only 14 years old and I am not embarassed to say that elton john is without doubt my favourite artist of all time. Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy epitomises the career of man who in my eyes is a not only a national treasure but a god of pop/rock. The album chronicles the relationship and early work of John/Taupin partnership a partnership that has spanned more decades than Lennon/McCartney and one whom pop music should be glad it can call its own. Elton said of Captain Fantastic, 'It is one of the best' and I beg to differ, sorry Elton it is the best. The classic piano-rock ballad that is 'Someone saved My life to Night',the moody, 'When the Whistle Blows' and the echanting subtly and maturity of both verse and harmony portrayed in 'Tower of Babel' (My favourite track on the album and possibly of them all) gives a reality of felling to the album. It is in no way contrived despite being recorded in chronological order in a studio and it's pure instintive heart-warming lyrics and classic catchy tunes make this Captain Fantastic masterpiece fantastic indeed!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2010
I bought this album when it first came out on LP and now i cant play it cos ive no record player in fact ive got all eltons albums and this is by far his greatest ever album its sheer class,i am going to replace all my LPS with cds and this one is first on the list,top class
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2013
When I first bought his album on its release it stayed on my turntable for 3 months! Time has not diminished its greatness! Great melodies, insightful lyrics and "a story to be told", all add to a great listening experience! Captain Fantastic is not just one of Elton's truly great albums, it's one of THE great and essential albums of the 1970's. Along with Yellow Brick Road, Don't Shoot Me, Madman and Tumbleweed, they are the recordings I return too time and again and I can't recommend them enough! Elton's high point!
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2002
As a 14 year old back in 1975 this was one of the favourites on my turntable. Melodic and lyrical with a bit of rock 'n roll thrown in Captain Fantastic is still Elton's best work (I actually cannot listen to any of his other stuff except bits of Yellow Brick Road).
The opening track sets the tone for what is a very rich musical experience.
I am about to buy the CD remaster but will probably skip the last 3 tracks as they never appeared on the original album and (to me) have nothing to do with the story told on the previous tracks - this is, after all, a 'concept album' although not in the tedious progressive rock sense.
This is the only album I can still listen to from that period without cringing and that says everything about it's pure musicality.
on 25 April 2014
After the somewhat patchy 'Caribou', our hero is back on fine form on this 1975 concept album which is, essentially, an autobiographical tale of the period from 1967 to 1969 when Elton John (Captain Fantastic) and Bernie Taupin (The Brown Dirt Cowboy) were struggling to establish their music careers as well as battle against their own insecurities in their personal lives.
The first half of the album - which actually takes up around 30 minutes of the 46 minutes running time - is particularly strong, culminating in the classic 'Someone Saved My Life Tonight' which concerns a suicide attempt made in 1969 by Elton and is powerful both lyrically and musically. The second half has much to live up to, but, eventually delivers the goods on 'Curtains' ~ another superb 6 minute song which rounds off proceedings. With some great bonus tracks including the bouncy 'Philadelphia Freedom' (which didn't make the album simply because it didn't fit the storyline), the listener gets a highly satisfying 62.5 minutes of high quality music [1995 reissue]. Highly recommended.