Los Angeles Times agosto 1970 (dopo il concerto di debutto al Troubadour di Los Angeles)
Elton John New Rock Talent
di ROBERT HILBURN
Rejoice. Rock music, which has been going through a rather
uneventful period lately, has a new star. He's Elton John, a 23-year-old
Englishman whose United States debut Tuesday night at the Troubadour
was, in almost every way, magnificent.
Because his new Uni album has been aired extensively on local FM
radio and several of his songs have been recorded by other artists (from
Rod Stewart to Three Dog Night), there was a large, enthusiastic
audience on hand for the opening.
John, whose music is published by the same man (Dick James) who
publishes the Beatles' songs, proved to be a multidirectional talent of
the highest order.
His music is so staggeringly original that it is obvious he is not
merely operating within a given field (such as country or blues or rock)
but, like Randy Newman and Laura Nyro among others, creating his own
He has, to be sure, borrowed from country, rock, blues, folk and other
influences, but he has mixed them in his own way. The resulting songs
are so varied in texture that his work defies classification into any
In his opening set Tuesday, John did songs from his first album, from
his still-to-be-released second album and from his planned third album.
While his voice most often resembles Jose Feliciano, there are at times touches of Leon Russell and Mick Jagger.
Since he was backed Tuesday only by his own piano, Nigel Olsson on
drums and Dee Murray on bass, his sound was much earthier in general
than the sweet, heavily orchestrated music of the first album.
John's songs are co-written by lyricist Bernie Taupin, whose lyrics
often capture the same timeless, objective spirit of the Band's Robbie
In fact, John's intense vocal, coupled with Taupin's biting lyrics, on Burn Down the Mission, would be right at home alongside Levon Helm on stage with the Band.
Beyond his vocals, melodies and arrangements there is a certain sense
of the absurd about John as a performer that is reminiscent of the
American rock stars of the mid-1950s.
Only someone with that wild, uninhibited view of his music would dare
ask the audience to sing along - something that is almost never done
any more - or drop to his knees, like Jerry Lee Lewis used to do, in a
rousing piano finale on Burn Down the Mission. It worked wonderfully well.
The audience, which included one of the largest local gatherings of
rock writers in months, roared its approval, bringing John back for an
By the end of the evening, there was no question about John's talent and
potential. Tuesday night at the Troubadour was just the beginning. He's
going to be one of rock's biggest and most important stars. He'll be at
the Troubadour with Elektra's David Ackles through Sunday."