Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bad Side of the Moon

Recorded for, but not used on, the Elton John album, "Bad Side of the Moon" is notable for the introduction of string/horn arranger Paul Buckmaster, who did the honors for Elton's first three albums, and then occasionally on subsequent releases. Noted for his full-bodied- some might even say bombastic- arrangements, Buckmaster went on to collaborate with many other artists including Harry Nilsson, the Stones and Miles Davis.

Lyrically, it's a blues of sorts, dealing with one of Taupin's preoccupations of the time- freedom from being oppressed by parties unknown. Bernie was still learning his craft, though, and experimenting with combinations of words- hence an ungainly line like

To stir your dregs in sickness still
Without the rustic spoon

But Elton sets it in a low-key sort of rock/blues arrangement, reminding me of "Take Me to the Pilot"- complete with congas accenting the rumbling beat and strings enhancing the chorus' group vocals, and sings it a lot like Leon Russell, as he did so often early on, and that makes this one a lot more attractive.

"Bad Side" wound up as the B-side of Elton's first single released from the self-titled album, "Border Song", which hit #92 in the USA.


Dangerous Dreamer said...

Nice the concept.

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Johnny B said...

You got it- feel free to do the same for me.

Morten X said...

Very nice blog! :)

About "Bad Side Of The Moon"... I've always wondered what on Earth they're singing in the "chorus" of this song. Sounds like "who's in my life", but that's probably not right! :)

Can you (or anyone) help me?

Johnny B said...

It's either "who's in my life", or maybe "losing my life". It's hard to tell.

You'd think they'd chant "living my life", to echo the first line, but nope!