They Can’t All Be Winners

By Beacon Staff

Elton John is returning for an encore performance in Missoula in April. All those people who were irate after waiting in line for naught to see him get another chance to land tickets to the “Rocket Man: Number Ones” tour. If the name of the show is any indication, I’m assuming Elton will, once again, stick to his staples. If he digs deeper into his archives for his second western Montana performance, it’s bound to get weird.

Elton has recorded dozens of albums. He’s touted as one of the most important musicians of his era, with which it’s hard to disagree. But being such a prolific recording artist comes with some consequences, such as the 1986 album Leather Jackets, which music magazine Blender gave one star and said, “John’s voice (is) so shot that before long, he would require surgery,” or 1985’s Ice on Fire, which Rolling Stone called “distant and heavy-handed, as if he were striking the keys with mallets.”

Of course, there are the masterpieces, such as “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Even those are a bit odd. On “Your Song,” for example, Elton belts, “If I was a sculptor. But then again, no.” And no one really knows what he’s talking about. The strong melody, however, overshadows our confusion.

It’s when he couples weird lyrics with weird synthesizers that things go awry. Or, worse, when he combines that with strange, half-naked, dancing bell hops. It makes you want to start chanting, “Candle In the Wind!”

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