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Say Hello, Hello: UMe Pays Lavish Tribute to Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”

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Elton GBYR 40It’s an odd irony that Elton John began his seventh and most ambitious studio album with a piece he imagined would play in the event of his death. The singer-songwriter-pianist was one of the most alive rockers on the planet at that point; with a dazzlingly theatrical stage presence, a cracking live band and an increasing string of successes (his most recent album at that point, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player, was released at the top of 1973 and was both his second No. 1 album in the U.S. and his highest seller, with a double platinum certification), it was hard to imagine how he could get any bigger.

Enter Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, a double album that didn’t seem to have a dud on it. All four of its singles – the rollicking “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” the Marilyn Monroe tribute ballad “Candle in the Wind,” the glammed-out “Bennie and The Jets” and the anthemic farewell to capricious youth of the title track – were Top 20 hits on one or both sides of the Atlantic, with more added  to U.S. radio playlists beyond the promotion cycle. (Chief LP cuts included the sprawling 11-minute intro, “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” and the sublime “Harmony,” with more than enough vocal multitracking to earn its title.) Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin’s potent collaboration yielded some of its best and most intriguing work, from silly reggae (“Jamaica Jerk-off”) to piano-pounding boogie (“Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock ‘N Roll”), concert-hall melancholia (“This Song Has No Title”) and dusty-road, Americanized nostalgia (“Roy Rogers”).

The plaudits were many: over 7 million units have moved through the United States (one of his most successful albums), Rolling Stone named it one of the 100 best rock albums of all time in 2003 – and now, on March 25, Universal Music Enterprises will pay tribute to the album with a multi-format reissue of the album, a few months past its 40th anniversary.

After the jump, you’ll find a comprehensive breakdown of all five versions of this new reissue, with pre-order links and track lists to boot!

The original Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, a double album that can fit onto one CD, has been newly remastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering from the original analogue sources. It will be available on its own on CD, “Hi-Def Pure Audio” Blu-Ray and as a double-LP set, pressed on 180-gram yellow vinyl with a download card insert. (Doug Sax and Robert Hadley at California’s Mastering Lab mastered the repertoire especially for this release.)

A new double-disc CD deluxe edition will be released simultaneously, showcasing the album’s impact with nine new versions of songs from the album by popular artists. Songwriter Ed Sheeran, a Best New Artist nominee at this year’s Grammys and a championed act by Elton himself; R&B sensations Miguel and Emeli Sande, country acts The Band Perry, Zac Brown Band and Hunter Hayes and rockers Fall Out Boy (whose stellar new album Save Rock and Roll, released last year, featured John as vocalist) will all contribute new editions of these classic tracks. The disc is rounded out by nine tracks from a previously unreleased show recorded at London’s Hammersmith Odeon just days before Christmas of 1973 – months after the album’s release.

Elton GBYR 40 Super DeluxeFor true collectors, a five-disc super deluxe box combines the album, the covers, ten beloved B-sides and bonus tracks (including non-album singles “Step Into Christmas” and “Philadelphia Freedom” as well as John’s scorching cover of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” for the film version of Tommy), the complete Hammersmith show on two discs and Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye to Norma Jean and Other Things, a rare 1973 film about the making of the album by director Bryan Forbes. Packaging will include a “100-page illustrated hardback book packed with rare photos, memorabilia and a new essay containing interviews with Elton John and Bernie Taupin.”

Have at the pre-order links and track lists below and let us know what you think!

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Editions (Rocket/UMe, 2014)

1CD 2014 remaster by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1BD HD Pure Audio Blu-Ray: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
2LP 180-gram vinyl reissue – mastered by Doug Sax and Robert Hadley at The Mastering Lab, California: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Original track list (released as DJM Records DJLPD-1001 (U.K.)/MCA Records MCA2-6894 (U.S.), 1973)

  1. Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
  2. Candle in the Wind
  3. Bennie and The Jets
  4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  5. This Song Has No Title
  6. Grey Seal
  7. Jamaica Jerk-off
  8. I’ve Seen That Movie Too
  9. Sweet Painted Lady
  10. The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34)
  11. Dirty Little Girl
  12. All the Girls Love Alice
  13. Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock ‘N Roll)
  14. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
  15. Roy Rogers
  16. Social Disease
  17. Harmony

2CD 40th anniversary deluxe edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Disc 1: Original LP
Disc 2: Bonus material – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Revisited…and Beyond 
(previously unreleased)

  1. Candle in the Wind – Ed Sheeran
  2. Bennie and The Jets – Miguel
  3. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Hunter Hayes
  4. Grey Seal – The Band Perry
  5. Sweet Painted Lady – John Grant
  6. All the Girls Love Alice – Emili Sande
  7. Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock ‘N Roll) – Imelda May
  8. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting – Fall Out Boy
  9. Harmony – Zac Brown Band
  10. Candle in the Wind (Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 12/22/1973)
  11. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 12/22/1973)
  12. Rocket Man (Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 12/22/1973)
  13. All the Girls Love Alice (Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 12/22/1973)
  14. Bennie and The Jets (Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 12/22/1973)
  15. Daniel (Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 12/22/1973)
  16. Honky Cat (Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 12/22/1973)
  17. Crocodile Rock (Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 12/22/1973)
  18. Your Song (Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 12/22/1973)

4CD/1DVD Super Deluxe Box Set: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Disc 1: Original LP
Disc 2: 

Bonus material – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Revisited…and Beyond

  1. Candle in the Wind – Ed Sheeran
  2. Bennie and The Jets – Miguel
  3. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Hunter Hayes
  4. Grey Seal – The Band Perry
  5. Sweet Painted Lady – John Grant
  6. All the Girls Love Alice – Emili Sande
  7. Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock ‘N Roll) – Imelda May
  8. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting – Fall Out Boy
  9. Harmony – Zac Brown Band
  10. Grey Seal (Piano Demo) (from Elton John: Deluxe Edition – Island/Mercury/Rocket B0010840-02, 2008)
  11. Grey Seal (Original Version) (B-side to “Rock and Roll Madonna” – DJM Records 6102 301, 1970)
  12. Jack Rabbit (B-side to “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” – DJM Records DJX-502, 1973)
  13. Whenever You’re Ready (We’ll Go Steady Again) (B-side to “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” – DJM Records DJX-502, 1973)
  14. Screw You (Young Man’s Blues) (B-side to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” – DJM Records DJS-285, 1973)
  15. Candle in the Wind (Acoustic) (from 30th anniversary deluxe edition – Island/Mercury/Rocket B0001478-40, 2003)
  16. Step Into Christmas (single A-side – DJM Records DJS-290, 1973)
  17. Ho! Ho! Ho! (Who’d Be a Turkey At Christmas) (single B-side – DJM Records DJS-290, 1973)
  18. Philadelphia Freedom (single A-side – DJM Records DJS-354, 1975)
  19. Pinball Wizard (from Tommy: Original Soundtrack Recording – Polydor 2657 014, 1975)

Discs 3-4: Live @ Hammersmith Odeon, London – 12/22/1973 (previously unreleased)

  1. Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
  2. Candle in the Wind
  3. Hercules
  4. Rocket Man
  5. Bennie and The Jets
  6. Daniel
  7. This Song Has No Title
  8. Honky Cat
  1. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  2. The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34)
  3. Elderberry Wine
  4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  5. I’ve Seen That Movie Too
  6. All the Girls Love Alice
  7. Crocodile Rock
  8. Your Song
  9. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting

Disc 5: DVD – Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye to Norma Jean and Other Things (1973 film by Bryan Forbes)

Written by Mike Duquette

January 30, 2014 at 12:36

18 Responses

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  1. I’m not interested in the covers, but the rest of the Super Deluxe Edition seems nice. I already own the SACD Deluxe Edition.

    galley99

    January 30, 2014 at 12:44

  2. I have the Japanese SHM-SACD, and that sounds pretty sweet, so I’d only be in for the big box with the bonus material. But who knows how I’ll feel in another couple of months. Maybe I’ll wait for reviews . . . .

    Chief Brody

    January 30, 2014 at 12:57

  3. While I applaud the fact that there isn’t a lot of duplication between previous releases (with the exception of what feels like the 8th time the b-sides have been put on disc), covers that are sure to okay-at-best and a live set isn’t enough to draw me in to buying yet another copy of this great album.

    Rock_dawg

    January 30, 2014 at 12:58

    • The Hammersmith set was one of the first vinyl bootlegs I ever owned. Outstanding performance. For me, to finally have it commercially released is the main reason to buy the box. I’ve got the SACD too, and agree complete on the b-sides and cover versions.

      Steve Marshall

      January 30, 2014 at 14:46

  4. I have no interest in the cover versions and I have all those b-sides several times over already, however the 1973 documentary DVD and the hardcover book make this a must have for me. Goodbye $78! LOL!!

    I do think the selection of live tracks on the 2-disc set are odd choices. They should have included only songs from the GYBR album. Including “Alice”, “Danny Bailey”, “Seen That Movie” and “Song Has No Title” would have made much more sense than the umpteenth versions of “Your Song”, “Rocket Man”, “Daniel”, etc.

    Scott

    January 30, 2014 at 13:33

  5. Either way that’s a huge release from 1 original album to 5 discs!!

    peter chrisp

    January 30, 2014 at 14:10

  6. Singles recorded two years after the GYBR sessions? A loudness war winner version of the original album? Outtakes easily available from existing sources? A book you’ll read once and never see again? A documentary now playing in HD on YouTube? Fall Out Boy? How can I resist? By realizing I already have the MFSL CD, the SACD SE, the DVD-A and Internet access 😉

    In the meantime, Greg Penny 5.1 mixes of PIANO PLAYER, CARIBOU, WESTIES and BLUE MOVES gather dust in a dun(d)geon somewhere. Sigh.

    PD

    January 30, 2014 at 15:29

  7. The first great album I ever bought with my own money.I have the SACD and a Japanese min-LP,but I’ll be springing for this one as well. I don’t care about the cover versions–that should be a separate release for those interested, but at least the live concert is a period piece, contemporary with the album’s release, and not something recorded last year. Finally, are there no demos available? The deluxe editions of Elton John and Tumbleweed Connection featured some and they were interesting.

    JoeF.

    January 30, 2014 at 15:30

  8. Pass!

    RoyalScam

    January 30, 2014 at 16:32

  9. The original version of “Candle In The Wind” was not issued as a single in the U.S. from “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. Two different versions of the song became chart hits many years later. A new version was released as a tribute to Princess Diana in 1987 and A live version in 1988 from the “Live In Australia” album.

    Ernie

    January 30, 2014 at 18:06

    • I think you mean 1997 for the Diana tribute,

      Scott

      January 30, 2014 at 19:03

      • Yes, 1997! Re-read it twice before I posted it but still missed it! Thanks.

        Ernie

        January 30, 2014 at 22:11

    • Make that 1997 not 1987!

      Ernie

      January 30, 2014 at 22:12

  10. The dvd is a plus and the book. Demos would have been nice or a alt mix or early mix of the album. The b-sides are that for a reason, should have been kept off as the cover versions, that is a big waste should have been put out as a tribute release. Those kept off would have been space for the demos or alt mixes, or other unreleased songs from the album. The live concert is nice touch.

    Angela M. Campbell

    January 30, 2014 at 18:07

  11. Very nice but could definitely do without Elton roping in his celebrity mates for some superfluous cover versions.

    John

    January 31, 2014 at 06:59

  12. The Super Deluxe Box Set is listed at £30 on Amazon UK. Seems…. cheap?

    John

    January 31, 2014 at 07:13

  13. Amen to the Greg Penny 5.1 releases, PD!!

    Not too impressed by this (late) release 40-and-a-bit-anniversary release. Completely disinterested in the covers, whose idea is it to get stuff like that recorded? If not EJ, then probably the same kind of suit who is sitting on the Greg Penny 5.1 releases…

    Ben

    January 31, 2014 at 10:51

  14. Wow, cover versions, including one by a 2014 Best New Artist nominee. Just when you think “deluxe” reissues can’t get any dumber.

    noyoucmon

    February 4, 2014 at 16:59


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