Sunday, November 18, 2007

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

This track is essentially a continuation of the themes set forth via Honky Chateau's bookend cuts "Honky Cat" and "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" (Yeah, I know, "Hercules" ends the album but thematically these bookend the album): Naive country boy hits the big city and finds that it's not all it's cracked up to be; all that glitters is not gold, etc., etc. In this one, he decides once and for all to go back to those days and his redneck ways.

Of course, the Honky Cat gets to deliver some barbs before he departs, and I like this one in particular:

What do you think you'll do then
I bet that'll shoot down your plane
It'll take you a couple of vodka and tonics
To set you on your feet again


...especially the way Elton sings it as "vodker and tonics".

Del Newman, the de facto string arranger on Road, really shines on this track, providing a lush orchestral arrangement which Elton's piano sits astride. Those wonderful EJ Band harmonies also represent.

"Road" was a top 10 single in the US and UK, reaching #2 in the States.

3 comments:

thom de plume said...

Although I'd previously been entranced by 'Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player' (see earlier comments), this is where the Elton phenomenon really took off for me.
It seems to be his first major success at achieving a sense of place on record.

Much has been written about the cinematic quality of the Yellow Brick Road album. In that regard, this particular track may be the best example to cite.

On a related note, it also marks the completion of Elton's full-scale appropriation of the vocal production style commonly associated with Gilbert O'Sullivan, e.g., 'Get Down,' 'Alone Again Naturally,' and 'Claire.'

What do you think?

Johnny B said...

About O'Sullivan, yeah, I can certainly hear that. I think it was just a case of overlapping influences more than anything, though. Can't say I wouldn't have minded hearing Elton sing "Get Down" or "Alone Again Naturally", a song I really like a lot, actually...

thom de plume said...

On the subject of mis-heard lyrics, I had a friend who heard the 3rd (?) verse of this song as...

What do you think you'll do then
I bet that'll shoot down your plane
It'll take you an accountant of accurate talents
To set you on your feet again

Sweet!