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Judging Elton John–Correctly This Time

I didn’t liked Elton John when I was young. Youth defend their cultural choices aggressively, and I was into The Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna and that hemisphere of music. I was turned off by the costumes, all the camp/glam stuff. It was more theater than music.

One of the great things about doing this site — and about getting older — is that I see the bands and performers I watched when I was younger through more mature eyes.

John and partner Bernie Taupin wrote some great songs. I’ve come around to valuing that over dislike of the presentation. Those old thoughts are over (though I still don’t like the duck suit). The final push — in the right direction — was learning about the help John has given to the great Leon Russell.

Above is “Sad Songs (Say So Much).” It’s a powerhouse version performed at a mega-concert in what looks to be the 1990s. Eric Clapton is hanging around, smiling a lot and not doing much. Mark Knopfler takes a solo at the end. John is in such good spirits that he does a very brief Dylan imitation. And, as somebody in the comments pointed out, the guy in the back with the tambourine is awesome.

Below is (most of) “Amoreena,” as it was used by Sidney Lumet for the open sequence of “Dog Day Afternoon.” New York was as tough a place as it looks in this film back then.