The Second Disc

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His Songs: Elton John “Classic Album Collection,” Mash-Up Set Coming in July

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Do you remember when rock was young?  Many do remember the early days of the former Reginald Dwight, whose first major splash on the American charts was 1970’s Elton John.  Although that album was John’s second, his 1969 debut Empty Sky wouldn’t see U.S. release until 1975, at which point John was one of the biggest superstars on the planet.  More than forty years after the release of Elton John, the now-Sir Elton’s star still shines brightly, with 2010’s The Union having earned him a Grammy nomination and his highest chart placement in the U.S. since 1976.  On July 2, however, John will look both forward and backward, issuing a box set containing his first five albums as well as a new mash-up collection that bears his personal stamp of approval.

Classic Album Selection appears to be Universal U.K.’s answer to the similar, budget-priced boxes already offered by the Sony and Warner/Rhino family of labels.  It will contain Elton John, Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across the Water, Honky Château and Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player, five consecutive albums released between 1970 and 1973.  Each title will be housed in an LP replica sleeve.  Unlike past CD editions, however, all albums will be restored to their original sequences, with no bonus tracks.  Every one of these albums went Top 10 in America, with Honky Château and Don’t Shoot Me both reaching pole position.  Some of John’s most beloved songs can be found on these albums: “Your Song” and “Take Me to the Pilot” (Elton John); “Tiny Dancer” and “Levon” (Madman); “Rocket Man” and “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” (Honky); “Daniel” and “Crocodile Rock” (Don’t Shoot Me).  No singles were released from the sublime country-influenced Tumbleweed, but “Come Down in Time” and “Country Comfort” both remain fan favorites.

The release of Classic Album Selection is coinciding with another project close to John’s heart.  Good Morning to the Night takes its title from Bernie Taupin’s lyric to “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,” and is a production of Australian dance-pop duo Pnau.  John gave the team full access to his multi-track recordings to create this “mash-up” collection.  Hit the jump for more on this unusual new collaboration, including a full list of the album’s tracks including their source songs!

Nick Littlemore and Peter Mayes (or Pnau, pronounced “pah-now”) have been recording sample-based, electronic dance music since 1999.  Though the duo has only released four albums since then, with 2011’s Soft Universe the most recent, Pnau hasn’t been idle, making live appearances and taking on side projects such as 2008’s acclaimed Walking on a Dream released under the Empire of the Sun name.  That album alone picked up seven of Australia’s ARIA Awards out of eleven nominations, including Album of the Year.   Rumors of Pnau’s collaboration with Elton John first circulated in 2009, and now their first full-blown effort together is set for release on July 2, with Classic Album Selection as its companion.

Good Morning to the Night has been created around Elton John compositions recorded between 1970 and 1977.  Pnau have created eight new songs, some drawing from as many as six different original Elton John recordings, to which the duo added loops, samples and original material.  The source material ranges from hit singles (“Philadelphia Freedom,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”) to deep cuts (“Solar Prestige a Gammon,” “Cage the Songbird”) including a few songs from John’s sessions with Philadelphia soul legend Thom Bell.  Here’s just one sample of what to expect:

Both Classic Album Selection and Good Morning to the Night will be in stores in the U.K. on July 2!  You can pre-order below!  Thanks to for the listing below!

Elton John, Classic Album Selection (Universal, 2012)


  • Elton John (1970)
  • Tumbleweed Connection (1970)
  • Madman Across the Water (1971)
  • Honky Château (1972)
  • Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player (1973)

Elton John vs. Pnau, Good Morning to the Night  (Universal, 2012)

  1. Good Morning To The Night
    Includes elements from the following recordings:
    Philadelphia Freedom
    Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
    Funeral for a Friend
    Gulliver/It’s Hay Chewed
    Sixty Years On
    (Live in Australia)
    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
    Someone Saved my Life Tonight
  2.  Sad
    Includes elements from the following recordings:
    Nice and Slow
    Crazy Water
    Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word
  3. Black Icy Stare
    Includes elements from the following recordings:
    Cold Highway
    You’re So Static
    Solar Prestige a Gammon
  4. Foreign Fields
    Includes elements from the following recordings:
    Someone Saved My Life Tonight
    High Flying Bird
    Sweet Painted Lady
    Cage the Songbird
  5. Telegraph to the Afterlife
    Includes elements from the following recordings:
    We All Fall in Love Sometimes
    Funeral for a Friend
    Sweet Painted Lady
    I’ve Seen That Movie Too
    Love Song
    Indian Sunset
  6. Phoenix
    Includes elements from the following recordings:
    Grey Seal
    Are You Ready for Love
    Bennie and the Jets
    Someone Saved My Life Tonight
    Where to Now St Peter?
    Love Lies Bleeding
    Border Song
    Country Love Song
    Three Way Love Affair
  7. Karmatron
    Includes elements from the following recordings:
    Madman Across The Water
    Funeral for a Friend
    The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-1934)
    One Horse Town
    Screw You
  8. Sixty
    Includes elements from the following recordings:
    Sixty Years On
    Sixty Years On
    (Live in Australia)
    Sixty Years On (Live 17-11-70)
    Indian Sunset

Written by Joe Marchese

June 14, 2012 at 14:02

4 Responses

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  1. Any information as to whether the mini-LP sleeves will be full replicas of the original albums (gatefold sleeves, booklets, etc.) or just paper sleeves with front and back cover art only?


    June 14, 2012 at 16:32

    • I would like to know that as well. I am only interested if they are full replicas of the original album art.


      June 14, 2012 at 22:12

    • Thanks for the warning on both counts: bonus-track-free reissues and some absolutely godawful dance music. I will keep waiting for Elton’s deluxe editions to go on sale.


      June 15, 2012 at 04:10

      • I’ll pass on the dance crap and listen to the original versions.


        March 25, 2014 at 11:56

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