USA Today has published Elton's recollections of five ''Goodbye Yellow Brick Road'' tracks.
The article appears below. . . .
Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding. The 11-minute prog-rock opener, which got wide radio play despite its length, links two songs. "We thought it would be great to have an overture before Funeral. Our engineer David Hentschel used an ARP (synthesizer), which looks like the telephone exchange Lily Tomlin used in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Switched-On Bach was played on one. You play one note at a time. David came up with that beautiful music that opens the door to the album.
Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting). The first single, a scrappy rocker, was later covered by Queen and the Who. "I tried singing and playing piano when we were recording. In the end, I did the vocal lying on the floor and put the piano on afterward, which is extremely rare. That's the only way I could get the performance I wanted."
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. The ballad and second single inspired the cover art of John in glittery platform boots, a satin bomber jacket and his signature spectacles. He's depicted stepping from a generic street into an Oz-like fantasy. "It seemed like a great title for the album," Elton says. "It was like saying goodbye to a loss of innocence. And it's been the standout album sleeve of my career."
Candle in the Wind. Elton felt certain this poignant ode would be a surefire smash. And it was, years later. "Candle has an odd history," the singer says. "It wasn't a hit in America until we did a live album in Australia" in 1987, when it reached No. 6. The retooled 1997 version for Princess Diana's funeral became the biggest pop single in history, selling 33 million copies.
Bennie and the Jets. When label executives proposed releasing Bennie, Elton balked and fought for Candle instead. "I had a tough time seeing Bennie as a single. It's not your usual pop song. They changed my mind by telling me it was a No. 1 black record in Detroit. Being a white boy in England, I was very excited. It gave me my first R&B No. 1." The song also landed John a spot on Soul Train.