The 1996 reissue of EMPTY SKY includes four songs that were issued as two singles prior to the album's release: "Lady Samantha"/"All Across The Havens" and "It's Me That You Need"/"Just Like Strange Rain." The album has been digitally remastered by Gus Dudgeon, using original master tapes and digital processing equipment at 20-bit resolution. According to Dudgeon (ICE newsletter, January 1996), the results are "100% better" than the two previous American CD issues.
Personnel: Elton John (vocals, piano, organ, electric piano, harpsichord); Caleb Quaye (electric & acoustic guitars, congas); Graham Vickery (harmonica); Don Fay (tenor saxophone, flute); Tony Murray (bass); Roger Pope (drums, percussion); Nigel Olsson (drums).
Recorded at Dick James Studios and Olympic Studios, London, England. Includes liner notes by John Tobler and Gus Dudgeon.
This is part of Rocket's Elton John: The Classic Years series.
Not released in the U.S. until 1975, after he'd achieved superstardom, Elton John's first album is as much a part of late-'60s blues-rock and the burgeoning singer-songwriter movement as it is part of the grandiose pop catalog that would soon follow. The eight-minute-plus title song includes a long flute-harmonica-piano jam that wouldn't have been out of place on a Traffic album; the closing "Gulliver/It's Hay Chewed/Reprise" connects a waltz-time requiem with an acoustic-jazz instrumental and (rather audiciously for an unknown singer's debut) a reprise of bits from every song on the album.
Elsewhere, one can find a Lennonesque melody on "Western Ford Gateway," a breezy Summer-Of-Love feel on "Hymn 2000," and recurring imagery of a caged bird dreaming of flying away--most notably in the title song and the harsichord-and-organ tune "Skyline Pigeon." It all bursts with pop-rock melodicism, even when John was adding music to some of collaborator Bernie Taupin's most opaque, image-heavy lyrics. John would later call EMPTY SKY a "naive" record, but it contains the seeds of almost everything he would eventually do.
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Rock
- Genre: Pop
- Released: 9/22/2017