This is a big, anthemic piano ballad that makes good use of a gospel choir. My hunch is that if it didn’t have such an off-putting title phrase it could have been a hit. This song plus ‘Holiday Inn’ anchor Side Two of Madman Across the Water, making the album a rewarding listen start to finish.
Elton John followed up his 1970 self-titled album with Tumbleweed Connection later the same year. I’m leaving that country-themed album out of my rundown because the songs I kept from it were already known to me: ‘Come Down in Time,’ ‘My Father’s Gun,’ and ‘Amoreena.’ Nothing else from the album really won me over.
It’s a very different story for 1971’s Madman Across the Water, which would definitely vie for my award as John’s best album overall.
Elton John’s Madman Across the Water is my seventh favorite album of 1971, though it would be more accurate to say the first side of Madman Across the Water made the list. When ‘Tiny Dancer,’ ‘Levon’ and ‘Madman Across the Water’ are three of your first four songs, you can pretty much hang up your hat and call it a day.
The other tracks — ‘Razor Face,’ ‘Indian Sunset,’ ‘Holiday Inn,’ ‘Rotten Peaches,’ ‘All the Nasties’ and ‘Goodbye’ — are all solid, if not up to the level of the opening classics.
In addition to the apocalyptically awesome title track, this album features ‘Tiny Dancer’ and ‘Levon’ — that trio alone qualifies it for the pantheon. I’ll admit I’m not as familiar with the other six tracks, including today’s SOTD.