This late 1989 album from Elton John marked the start of his rejuvenation after years of drugs and alcohol problems. Inside the sleeve notes you will find the following quote:
"These songs were inspired by the Soul pioneers of the Sixties and Seventies, whose music meant so much to us"
That pretty much sums up what this album is about and in some instances the influences are quite clear. For example "I never knew her name" is clearly inspired by Aretha Franklin, and is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Another favourite track of mine is "Club at the end of the street". This is a really catchy track, with some great backing vocal arrangements and a fabulous Sax solo. The track that seems to most represent a normal Elton John track is the last - "Blue Avenue" which is a great way to finish the album.
The album isn't perfect though. Overall the quality of the songs on this is as good as anything he produced in the 80's with the exception of "Too Low For Zero". However it is over-produced (as were nearly all records in the 80's). Still this was the start of Elton rebuilding his career and its a good album, that ultimately has lead back to "Songs from the West Coast" and "The Captain and the Kid"
on 15 November 2003
WOW! With a good ballad like SACRIFICE in it, you wouldn't expect rock-alls like HEALING HANDS or DANCING IN THE END ZONE(Cheers to that amazing drum roll at the beggining of END ZONE), with EJ's first solo no. 1, SACRIFICE is not the only highlight of the album, CLUB AT THE END OF THE STREET and HEALING HANDS are not to be missed either!
on 9 November 2004
Not one of Eltons greatest albums though it does contain his first British solo no.1 song Sacrifice. Being an Elton fan though, I have to say there are certainly great songs on here. Whispers is a mellow sound that you can relax too. Amazes Me is another good sounding song well worth listening to.
It also has Club at the End of the Street which Elton played at the Madison Square Consort back in October 2000. A nice fun tune.
Overall, worth adding to the collection but many would proceed it for quality.
on 15 September 2012
This album marked somewhat of a comeback for Elton John and although it is a late 1980s affair, harking back to sounds of the 60s, it still sounds fresh and exciting now in the 21st century.
The most recognisible track is of course the gentle "Sacrifice," but it's not all soothing balladry - Elton moves seamlessly into upbeat rock with the likes of "Healing Hands" and "The Club at the End of the Street." All in all a musical treat that is still as relevant as ever more than 20 years after it's first release.
Elton's last album of the eighties contains strong R+B influences. Although the album sold quite well upon its original release, making the top ten in the British album charts, this was despite the lack of singles chart action. The first single from the album, Healing hands, barely dented the British top fifty while the follow-up, Sacrifice, didn't even get that high. All that changed a few months later when Elton announced a plan to pair Healing hands and Sacrifice as a double-A side with proceeds going to AIDS charities. This produced the desired results, not only for the charities but also for the music. The British public bought the single in their droves, making Sacrifice their preferred track and taking it to number one in the singles chart. So by giving his royalties to charity, Elton made the very top of the British singles chart for the first time as a solo singer, having previously made it via a duet with Kiki Dee. He had also made number one with several singles back in the seventies.
With its somewhat belated success, Sacrifice became the focal point of this album, which has much to commend it. The opening track (Durban deep) is performed from the perspective of a South African coalminer reflecting on his unhappy lot. Well, I guess somebody has to dig the coal out of the ground but I'm glad it's not me, though in my present circumstances, I'd consider it if the option were available. Actually, coalmining is largely consigned to history anyway (the last remaining Leicestershire mines closed in the early nineties) so it's not an option.
Another double-sided single (Whispers, Club at the end of the street) was released as a single but made little impact. Both are excellent album tracks but I'm not surprised that they failed as a single. Of the remainder, two tracks (Amazes me, I never knew her name) are particularly noteworthy. Two excellent bonus tracks (Dancing in the end zone, Love is a cannibal) don't get a mention in the liner notes to this re-issue, but they are up to the standard of the main album, something that can't always be said of such bonus tracks.
This is a wonderful album although I'm not sure where it stands compared to Elton's many (mostly excellent) albums. If you're a committed Elton fan, you'll certainly regard this one as essential. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some people think that is is Elton's best album ever. There are certainly a few that I rate more highly, but this would probably make my top ten among Elton's albums.
on 12 June 2013
This is Elton's return to his 70s peak of perfection. Even Elton would agree some of his efforts during the 1980s were sub-par but here he & Bernie return to form and 'knock it out of the park' with every track, from the sublime 'Sacrifice' to the exuberant 'Club at the End of the Street'. If you don't tap your toes to the latter you are beyond redemption.