Since writing about my record player purchase back in late November, J and I have hit just about every record store in the city and the first St. Louis Record Show of the year. We’ve bought several albums online from Amazon and Etsy. and we’ve filled 4 crates with over 200 records.
We’ve cataloged and alphabetized all of them. We bought plastic dividers and plastic album covers too. And we hooked up an amplifier and speakers to the player. Now we spend time on the weekends just sitting back and listening and reminiscing, and discussing what albums we want to search for next!
We both have very different tastes. Some of it overlaps, and some things we buy are just because we suddenly remember that one single hit a band had that we liked way back when but we’ve never heard their entire album before.
Some are old bands we forgot about, or never listened to back when they were popular. I had the lyrics to a song stuck in my head last weekend and finally was able to figure out who it was thanks to some clever Google searches!
One artist I’ve put a lot of focus on is Elton John, who will release is 30th solo album next month. I’ve managed to collect 11 of those albums and his first compilation album from 1974.
I’ll eventually listen to all of them, so I thought it would be fun to start reviewing some albums, but not just Elton, this year on my blog. But I’m going to start with Elton’s 12th album, A Single Man, from 1978.
What’s interesting about this album is that it was the first that Elton did without Bernie Taupin as his lyricist. But it’s 1998 reissue included 3 songs by Taupin. The album was certified gold the year of its release and later went platinum, but only had 3 singles released from it, none of which will immediately come to mind if I asked you to name five Elton John songs. Elton doesn’t even play these songs anymore in concert.
The most popular song from the album is called “Song for Guy” and is completely instrumental. It was a near-global success except for in the United States and Canada because it got upstaged by “Music Box Dancer” which was released in 1978 as well.
For me, this album has the classic and timeless sound of Elton that I grew up hearing on the radio through the 80’s and 90’s. Elton knows his ballads and is a great storyteller! Just listen to “I Cry at Night,” “Georgia,” or “Strangers.” And the songs “I Don’t Care” and “Big Dipper” have that honky tonk beat to it that some older Elton was known for.
Overall, it’s a great album that I’ll definitely enjoy again. I still can’t believe it’s his 12th album though. Keep in mind it’s from 1978 and his first album came out in 1969. Yep, he averaged almost an album a year. He released two albums a year in 1970, 1973, and 1975; and finally took a break and skipped 1977. I have picked up 6 of his earlier albums so it’ll be fun to see how he improves or changes across these early years.