Rock of the Westies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Rock of the Westies
Elton John - Rock of the Westies.jpg
Studio album by Elton John
Released 24 October 1975
Recorded June–July 1975 at Caribou Ranch, Nederland, Colorado
Genre Rock, hard rock
Length 43:39
Label MCA (US)
Producer Gus Dudgeon
Elton John chronology
Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
Rock of the Westies
Here and There
Singles from Rock of the Westies
  1. "Island Girl"
    Released: 29 September 1975
  2. "Grow Some Funk of Your Own"/"I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)"
    Released: 12 January 1976
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (A-)[2]
Rolling Stone (not rated)[3]

Rock of the Westies, released in October 1975, is the tenth official album release for Elton John. As with Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, Rock of the Westies debuted on the US Billboard 200 chart at No. 1, the only two albums at that time to have done so. It was less successful in the artist's home territory of the UK, where it reached No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart. Robert Christgau ranked it as No. 7 on his list of the best albums of 1975.[4] The title is a play on the phrase "West of the Rockies".[citation needed]


Rock of the Westies contained the US No. 1 (#14 UK) single, "Island Girl", which was released prior to the album. John noted at the time in a radio interview[which?] that he had wanted to release "Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)" as the album's first single instead of "Island Girl", because he thought it had more commercial appeal. He was however, over-ruled, and "Dan Dare" was never released as a single, whilst "Island Girl" became a hit.

The make-up of John's band was different on Rock of the Westies, being without his long-time drummer Nigel Olsson and bassist Dee Murray, both of whom John fired during April 1975. Added in their place were drummer Roger Pope, an old friend of John's who had played on Empty Sky, Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across the Water, and American bassist Kenny Passarelli, who had previously played with Stephen Stills and was an original member in Joe Walsh's band Barnstorm. Pope had also played in Kiki Dee's touring band. Grammy, Emmy, and Academy Award nominated James Newton-Howard, at the time a virtual unknown, was also brought in as keyboardist, giving him his first major publicity. Also included was Caleb Quaye, another old friend of John's from his early DJM session days. Like Pope, Quaye had also played on Empty Sky & Tumbleweed Connection & also John's intervening eponymous release. Retained from the previous line-up were Davey Johnstone and Ray Cooper.

A slower, less up-tempo version of "Hard Luck Story" had already been recorded by Kiki Dee, and released as a single one year prior to its recording for Rock of the Westies. Along with "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", it is credited to Ann Orson/Carte Blanche (An horse and cart, Blanche) a moniker John devised when composing a song (music and lyrics) on his own. The name Ann Orson is also used as the name of a backing vocalist. Labelle performed backing vocals on the opening track, "Medley: Yell Help/Wednesday Night/Ugly".

In the US, it was certified gold in October 1975 and platinum in March 1993[5] by the RIAA.

Outside the US and Canada, this was the last original studio release from John on DJM Records, before forming his own label, The Rocket Record Company.

The song "Street Kids" was featured in the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, except where noted. “Ann Orson/Carte Blanche” is a pseudonym used by John and Taupin.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Medley (Yell Help/Wednesday Night/Ugly)" – 6:13
  2. "Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)" – 3:30
  3. "Island Girl" – 3:42
  4. "Grow Some Funk of Your Own" (John, Davey Johnstone, Taupin) – 4:43
  5. "I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)" – 5:28

Side two[edit]

  1. "Street Kids" – 6:23
  2. "Hard Luck Story" (Ann Orson/Carte Blanche) – 5:10
  3. "Feed Me" – 4:00
  4. "Billy Bones and the White Bird" – 4:24

Additional tracks[edit]

Bonus track (1995 Mercury reissue)[edit]

  1. "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (with Kiki Dee) (Ann Orson/Carte Blanche) – 4:28

Bonus track (1996 Rocket reissue)[edit]

  1. "Planes" – 4:31
  2. "Sugar on the Floor" (Kiki Dee) – 4:31


Song Format
"Sugar on the Floor" "Island Girl" (US/UK)




Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[6] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[7] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[8] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
Windsong by John Denver
US Billboard 200 number-one album
8–28 November 1975
Succeeded by
Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon
Preceded by
Windsong by John Denver
Canadian RPM number-one album
25 December 1975
Succeeded by
Chicago IX by Chicago


  1. ^ Lindsay Planer. "Rock of the Westies". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "CG: elton john". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Pazz & Jop 1975: Dean's List". Robert Christgau. 29 December 1975. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "GOLD AND PLATINUM ALBUMS". neosoul. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Elton John – Rock of the Westies". Music Canada. 
  7. ^ "British album certifications – Elton John – Rock of the Westies". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Rock of the Westies in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  8. ^ "American album certifications – Elton John – Rock of the Westies". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  9. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  10. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 24 February 2012
  11. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 263. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5. 
  12. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Elton John" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1975" (in Italian). Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  14. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  15. ^ " Elton John – Rock of the Westies" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  16. ^ " Elton John – Rock of the Westies" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  17. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  18. ^ " Elton John – Rock of the Westies" (ASP). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  19. ^ "Chart Stats – Elton John – Rock of the Westies" (PHP). UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  20. ^ "allmusic ((( Rock of the Westies > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  21. ^ "Album Search: Elton John – Rock of the Westies" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  22. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1975". RPM. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  23. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1975 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  24. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1976". RPM. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  25. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1976". Retrieved 24 February 2012.