1969 - Empty Sky

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crazywater
They must have the whole thing planned...
Joined: 18 Jul 2001, 21:54

26 Nov 2001, 21:39 #1

Lets start at the beginning. I would like to see some reviews/discussion about Elton's first album. This could be similar to what Jim McKay does on the 22nd-row.

Image"if we all believe in the things you believe you're seeing..." EJ/BT 76




"...if we all believe in the things you believe you're seeing..."
EJ/BT '76

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regfan40
Hello, baby hello...
Joined: 28 Nov 2001, 04:55

27 Nov 2001, 21:55 #2

One of the most interesting albums from a newcommer. It shows talent, innovation, folksy/bluesy/jazzy tunes and great promise. Listening to it 31 years or so after it's release doesn't diminish it's ability to please.
:) ...hanging paper angels, painting little devils on the roof EJ/BT 2001
...If everything's been said I'm heading back to bed and Darling turn the lights out when you leave...EJ BT 2004
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crazywater
They must have the whole thing planned...
Joined: 18 Jul 2001, 21:54

28 Nov 2001, 22:48 #3

What strikes me about this album is that Elton was successful in defining his sound on his very first album. Sometimes groups don't find themselves until their 3rd album or so. Elton sounds like Elton on "Empty Sky" from the opening of the title track.

"if we all believe in the things you believe you're seeing..." EJ/BT 76




"...if we all believe in the things you believe you're seeing..."
EJ/BT '76

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BobbyGood
Hello, baby hello...
Joined: 30 Nov 2001, 16:01

30 Nov 2001, 09:01 #4

I loved this album from the first time I heard it. From the opening conga's to the "breaks" with a song written around it..."Sails" (excellent breaks"). The subtle sounding vocals in Vallaha and Lady, What's Tomorrow and the song "Gulliver".

That will always be an early Elton favorite for me.
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skylinepigeon
Oh the right romantic line...
Joined: 05 Dec 2001, 01:01

04 Dec 2001, 18:01 #5

While it's not a favorite album of mine (as opposed to just about everything from Elton John through Blue Moves and some more recent albums), Empty Sky will always have a special place in my heart because it featured the debut of Skyline Pigeon, my favorite Elton song (surprise, surprise). While I think I like the production of the piano version of this song better (see bonus track on re-mastered Don't Shoot Me), there is still something simply beautiful and delicate about the original harpsichord version that meshes perfectly with the lyrics.

Other standouts for me on Empty Sky include Hymn 2000 (I've always loved Bernie's more obscure lyrics like this), Western Ford Gateway, and Gulliver.
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BobbyGood
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Joined: 30 Nov 2001, 16:01

05 Dec 2001, 04:41 #6

It's funny that you mentioned Hymn 2000. I remember years ago on the old Mike Douglas Show, they were featuring songwriters and among the greats were Bernie Taupin, Marvin Hamlish, etc.. They were asked about the worst work they had ever produced and Bernie read the lyric.

"For the cat from next door was found later at four
In surgical dissection"
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skylinepigeon
Oh the right romantic line...
Joined: 05 Dec 2001, 01:01

05 Dec 2001, 06:11 #7

"For the cat from next door was found later at four
In surgical dissection"

Very well. Perhaps that part was not a highlight. Image But on the whole, the lyrics are very mystical and other-worldly, and that's what I like about them.
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BobbyGood
Hello, baby hello...
Joined: 30 Nov 2001, 16:01

05 Dec 2001, 08:51 #8

If you've ever seen Bernie Taupin's interview on the "Two Rooms Video". He mentioned on a few occasions, that back int he early days, he didn't quite always know what he was writing about. That's one of the great things about really good lyric writing, is that you can write about a subject and be so ecceteric and vague on a particular subject. Bernie is the master at it.

Also keep in mind those lyrics in the early days were written by a 17, 18 year old boy.

I remember on that "Two Rooms Video" he said that "Your Song" sounds like it was written by a guy who hadn't been laid yet, and he said "I don't think I had" Image

He says to this day, that he doesn't know what the meaning of "Take Me to the Pilot" are?

That's pretty scary coming from the author.
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magnus greel
On a bench, on the beach...
Joined: 21 Sep 2002, 10:05

21 Sep 2002, 03:05 #9

That story about Bernie reading Hymn 2000 made my evening.

They hadn't found themselves yet, and unlike any other album, except for the title song, it all sounds the same. Bernie was writing meandering nonsense, and since it wasn't really about anything, you can practically hear Elton struggling to come up with a musical mood for each lyric, and in the end, all he can do is choose a uniform, neutral sort of non-mood for the whole album.

What gets me is that after this album, right at January 1970, when recording for album 2 began, SOMETHING big happened, because it all clicked, and they became brilliant. Transformations like that don't happen for no reason. They've never talked about any such thing though, unless it was the famous Woody Allen suicide. Attempt, that is. I know that Cat Stevens went from a fair 60s teen pop star to a brief period of depth and brilliance as a direct result of his being laid up with tuberculosis for a considerable time.

Empty Sky is nice, pleasant, though monotonous, and is interesting for 'historical' reasons. The blurb by 'David Symonds' (?) about the "smouldering crucible of a thousand injustices" is funny.

"Hymn 2000"... I have to admit, everything in that song came true, exactly as Bernie wrote. That was some weird year.
"In my thick skull, a joker hides."-- Taupin, 2001.
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Ian Hills
But you ought to be a saint...
Joined: 28 Dec 2005, 16:08

22 Jan 2006, 01:06 #10

It wasn't suppose to be the year 2000, but the hymn number as in church when you have the htmn numbers up on a board that are going to be sung or the vicar or priest says we are now going to sing hymn 16 or hymn 2000.
In Elton's case it could be him 2000.
Your Signature ... Who'd be a turkey at Christmas?
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