|Studio album by Elton John|
|Released||25 October 1976|
|Recorded||March 1976 at Eastern Sound, Toronto|
|Elton John chronology|
|Singles from Blue Moves|
Blue Moves, released October 1976, is the eleventh official album release for Elton John. It was the second Elton John double album (after Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), and the first released by John's own Rocket Records Ltd. Despite the album's darker tone and experimental song line-up, it has held up well with critics and in its initial release made it to No. 3 on the album charts, partly on the strength of the album's biggest hit single "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word".
While giving a concert at Wembley Arena to promote the album, John spontaneously announced "I haven't been touring for a long time. It's been a painful decision, whether to come back on the road or not... I've made a decision tonight – this is going to be the last show... There's a lot more to me than playing on the road." He didn't say for how long, but he was serious and temporarily left the touring/live performing scene. Kenny Passarelli, Caleb Quaye, James Newton-Howard and Roger Pope left the band after the album's release. Newton-Howard would briefly rejoin Elton's touring band in 1980. Only Davey Johnstone and Ray Cooper returned in limited roles for John's next album, A Single Man.
John has stated that Blue Moves is one of his favourite albums he has ever recorded. It was Gus Dudgeon's last album produced with John for almost a decade. The cover art for the album is from a painting by British artist Patrick Procktor. In the US, it was certified gold in October and platinum in December 1976 by the RIAA.
"Cage the Songbird" was a tribute to legendary French songstress Edith Piaf, and a year or so later was covered by Kiki Dee on an unreleased Rocket album, which finally was issued in 2008. ("Songbird" originated as part of the Rock of the Westies sessions, but wasn't completed during them, probably because the song's more acoustic, delicate sound didn't fit with the more rock 'n roll approach to the rest of the songs that made the Rock of the Westies final line-up.) The Beach Boys turned down "Chameleon" (which was originally written two years prior to the album's release), but Bruce Johnston, at the time a former Beach Boy, performed backing vocals on John's version along with Toni Tennille. John also performed the song at Wembley Stadium in 1975, where he also performed the Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy album in its entirety. An excerpt from "Out of the Blue" was used for the closing titles on Top Gear up until the end of that Top Gear format (in 2001). This was one of two albums in which Davey Johnstone does not provide backing vocals; 1997's The Big Picture would be the other.
John has played several songs from Blue Moves live. Versions of "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word", "Bite Your Lip", "One Horse Town", "Tonight", "Idol" and "Crazy Water" have surfaced in various concert appearances through the years.
|Rolling Stone||(not rated)|
Blue Moves has received mixed reviews since its release. A contemporary review for Rolling Stone said the album "contains nowhere near enough good songs to justify the extended length" and that the interludes and instrumentals were done "to the exclusion of sense." Robert Christgau, writing for The Village Voice, giving the album a C rating, described it as "impossibly weepy" and "excessive". Retrospectively, Lindsay Planer of Allmusic said the album showed the "inevitable fatigue" of John's "immense creativity" that had helped create his previous albums of his career.
- Side one
- "Your Starter for..." (Caleb Quaye) – 1:23
- "Tonight" – 7:52
- "One Horse Town" (John, James Newton-Howard, Taupin) – 5:56
- "Chameleon" – 5:27
- Side two
- "Boogie Pilgrim" (John, Davey Johnstone, Quaye, Taupin) – 6:05
- "Cage the Songbird" (John, Johnstone, Taupin) – 3:25
- "Crazy Water" – 5:42
- "Shoulder Holster" – 5:10
- Side three
- "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" – 3:48
- "Out of the Blue" – 6:14
- "Between Seventeen and Twenty" (John, Johnstone, Quaye, Taupin) – 5:17
- "The Wide-Eyed and Laughing" (John, Johnstone, Newton-Howard, Quaye, Taupin) – 3:27
- "Someone's Final Song" – 4:10
- Side four
- "Where's the Shoorah?" – 4:09
- "If There's a God in Heaven (What's He Waiting For?)" (John, Johnstone, Taupin) – 4:25
- "Idol" – 4:08
- "Theme from a Non-Existent TV Series" – 1:19
- "Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!)" – 6:43
Initial CD versions of the album maintain the same running order, but omit the following tracks: "Cage the Songbird", "Shoulder Holster", "The Wide-Eyed and Laughing" and "Where's the Shoorah?" It has since been remastered and re-released as a 2-CD set retaining the original LP track listing.
- Elton John – piano, harmonium, electric harpsichord, vocals
- Curt Becher – backing vocals
- Michael Brecker – saxophone
- Randy Brecker – trumpet
- Paul Buckmaster – conductor
- Cindy Bullens – backing vocals
- Clark Burroughs – backing vocals
- Joe Chemay – backing vocals
- Ray Cooper – percussion
- The Cornerstone Institutional Baptist Church and the Southern California Community Choir – choirs
- David Crosby – backing vocals
- Martyn Ford – strings, orchestra
- Carl Fortina – accordion
- Ron Hicklin – backing vocals
- Michael Hurwitz – cello
- Bruce Johnston – backing vocals
- Davey Johnstone – dulcimer, acoustic guitar, mandolin, electric guitar, sitar, slide guitar
- Jan Joyce – backing vocals
- Jon Joyce – backing vocals
- The London Symphony Orchestra – strings
- Gene Morford – backing vocals
- Graham Nash – backing vocals
- James Newton-Howard – organ, synthesizers, clavinet, conductor, electric piano, mellotron
- Gene Page – strings
- Kenny Passarelli – bass guitar
- Roger Pope – drums
- Caleb Quaye – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, twelve-string guitar
- Barry Rogers – trombone
- David Sanborn – saxophone
- Toni Tennille – backing vocals
- Rev. James Cleveland – choir director
- Producer: Gus Dudgeon
- Engineers: Arun Chakraverty, Gus Dudgeon, Mark Howlett, John Kurlander, Earle Mankey, John Stewart
- Mixing: Phil Dunne
- Remixing: Gus Dudgeon, Phil Dunne
- Cutting engineer: Arun Chakraverty
- Director: Rev. James Cleveland
- Coordination: David Larkham
- Arrangers: Curt Becher, Paul Buckmaster, Daryl Dragon, Bruce Johnston, James Newton-Howard
- Art direction: David Costa
- Photography: David Nutter
- Liner notes: Gus Dudgeon
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
- Video on YouTube
- Elton John: Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, 1987.
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