Elton says he collects box sets because he's ''a nerd.'' But he thinks they can be confusing.
''There's so much information that you don't know where to go.'' With his upcoming Jewel Box collection, though, ''you open this one up and it reads like a book, so it's not hard to follow. There's also so much great stuff in there. I'm very proud of it.''
Bernie Taupin wasn't sure at first about releasing so much of their early work.
''I thought I might be embarrassed by their naivete. At that time, the whole idea of how to construct a song was foreign to me. The idea of verse/chorus/bridge was big-pants terminology to me. Back then, I was throwing it down on the page. Finding my voice was a gradual process.''
Elton did a phone interview with Rolling Stone about the box set, and the reporter confessed to not having heard many of the songs before.
The pop luminary laughed. ''Me neither. At least, I hadn't heard some for years and years. Very rarely do I listen to old stuff, but when we did this, I had to obviously listen to the stuff they wanted to put on the box set. There are things on it they suggested that I obviously did not remember. When I listened to them, I did slightly remember some of them. They took me back in time, a bit like a space capsule, to the very early days when I was writing with Bernie, and sometimes not with Bernie.''
He went on: ''I didn't want to put out outtakes from just the last couple of albums. This is not a real historical album. I wanted it to be accurate. I had to go back and listen to stuff. It was a sweet. It was a very pleasant reminder that Bernie and I saw together after 54 years, or whatever it is, how far we've come and how sweet the journey has been.''
As alluded to in today's other EJW article, ''The Big Five-oh''), one older number, Come Down in Time, is part of Jewel Box. However, there's now a limited-edition 10-inch vinyl single of a previously unheard jazz rendition of the number. The B side is a demo of Ballad of a Well-Known Gun. It's out today, along with a new opaque green vinyl edition of Tumbleweed Connection, and be purchased here: