Madman Across the Water

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Madman Across the Water
Elton John - Madman Across the Water.jpg
Studio album by Elton John
Released5 November 1971[1]
Recorded27 February; 9, 11, 14 August 1971[2]
StudioTrident Studios
(London, England)
GenreSymphonic rock, soft rock, folk rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock
LabelUni, DJM
ProducerGus Dudgeon
Elton John chronology
Madman Across the Water
Honky Château
Singles from Madman Across the Water
  1. "Levon"
    Released: 29 November 1971[citation needed]
  2. "Tiny Dancer"
    Released: 7 February 1972[citation needed]
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[3]
Robert ChristgauC[4]
Rolling Stone(mixed)[citation needed]

Madman Across the Water is the fourth studio album by Elton John, released in 1971 through DJM and Uni Records.


This was the last album to feature John's regular touring band (Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson) on only a single song. Later band member, percussionist Ray Cooper, makes his first appearance with this album. As with all John songs during this period, the lyrics were penned by his writing partner, Bernie Taupin. This was the last album to be recorded at London's Trident Studios, although subsequent albums would be remixed or overdubbed at Trident. Caleb Quaye and Roger Pope would not play with John again until Rock of the Westies in 1975, following Murray and Olsson's departure from the band.

Madman Across the Water barely reached No. 41 on the UK Albums Chart, spending only two weeks there. It has been the lowest-charting album of his career to date. The album fared much better in North America, peaking at No. 8 on the US Billboard Top Pop Albums and placing at No. 10 on the year-end list of 1972.[5] It received Gold by the RIAA in February 1972, achieving $1 million in sales at wholesale value just in the United States. In 1993, the album was certified Platinum, representing shipments of more than 1 million units in the US.[6] In 1998, the album was certified Multi-Platinum, representing shipments of over 2 million units in the US.[7]In May 2017 the album was certified Silver for sales of 60,000 units by the British Phonographic Industry.

The title song was set to be released on John's previous album Tumbleweed Connection. However, it was set aside and was re-recorded for this album. The earlier version (with Mick Ronson on guitar) was included on the remastered Tumbleweed Connection CD.

When it was released in 'The Classic Years' collection, it was the first album not to feature any bonus tracks. One known track recorded at the time, "Rock Me When He's Gone", was released on the 1992 compilation Rare Masters. The song was written for and recorded by one of John's long-time friends, Long John Baldry. This was John's first album in which he plays his piano and no other keyboards and the first album on which Davey Johnstone played, a role that would continue for decades, and he contributed acoustic guitar, mandolin and sitar; he would join John's band full-time for Honky Château.

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Elton John, all lyrics written by Bernie Taupin.

Side one
1."Tiny Dancer"6:15
3."Razor Face"4:44
4."Madman Across the Water"5:56
Side two
5."Indian Sunset"6:45
6."Holiday Inn"4:17
7."Rotten Peaches"4:56
8."All the Nasties"5:08


  • The SACD version of the album contained a longer version of "Razor Face", which extended the song-ending jam to 6:42 instead of the early fade on the original album. This extended version can only be heard in the 5.1 surround mix.



  • Gus Dudgeon – producer, liner notes
  • Robin Geoffrey Cable – engineer
  • Tony Cousins – remastering
  • Gus Skinas – editing
  • Ricky Graham – digital transfers
  • Greg Penny – surround sound
  • Crispin Murray – assistant
  • David Larkham – art direction, design, illustrations, photography, cover photo
  • Gill – artwork
  • Yanis – artwork
  • Bob Gruen – photography
  • John Tobler – liner notes



  1. ^ Madman Across The Water Retrieved 19 December 2017
  2. ^ Madman Across The Water Retrieved 19 December 2017
  3. ^ Madman Across the Water at AllMusic
  4. ^ "CG: elton john". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Allmusic: Madman Across the Water : Charts & Awards : Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "American certifications – Madman Across the Water". Recording Industry Association of America.
  8. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  9. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 16, No. 26". RPM. 12 February 1972. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1972" (in Italian). Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  11. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  12. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  13. ^ "Elton John > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  14. ^ "American album certifications – Elton John – Madman Across the Water". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.