Posts Tagged ‘reginald dwight’

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The Divine Pop Comedy

February 8, 2016

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Author’s Note: With the release of Wonderful Crazy Night (Elton and Taupin’s 33rd album), this seemed like a good time to revise and post this excerpt about the ‘aught’ albums from ‘Reg Soldiers On’, a 50+ page long-form essay about Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s lives, careers and their discography from my 2009 book Slapstick & Superego.  I’ll be posting a new essay this Friday about the three studio albums that followed once I’ve had a little time to digest the newest release.-Tom

Composer/Performer/Legend Elton John and longtime lyricist and classical poet Bernie Taupin’s trio of studio albums from 2001-2006 were a fruitful, fascinating journey, and I’m sure that there’s more to come. From a fanatic’s standpoint, Songs From The West Coast would have made a perfect swan song for the performer. I don’t regret that he’s lived and recorded since, but the album is so perfect, and so close to the roots of Elton’s glory days in the ’70s that it’s near-impossible to trump a second time in his career.

Elton even claimed in his classic bridge-burning interview style that this would be his final studio album. Listening to the tracks, it’s no surprise that this was the first series of songs in ages where Elton and Taupin composed the album together in person. It brilliantly refers back to the roots of his success while avoiding all references to such. ’Emperor’s New Clothes’ (a Billy Joel homage), ’Dark Diamond’ (with Stevie Wonder on harmonica), the sublimely simple and existential ’Birds’, and the retrospective yet hopeful ’This Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore’ stand out as hallmarks to the late musician’s career. Taupin draws from a reserve of inspired lyrics for this album with stunning skill, and drives it home with ’Original Sin’ and ’I Want Love’, a song that shows us the team is still capable of sucker punching us into a state of romantic catharsis: /A man like me is dead in places/Other men feel liberated/I want love on my own terms/After everything I‘ve ever learned/.

Elton’s boyfriend future husband David Furnish was photographed for the album cover as the cowboy. Director of Operations Bob Halley was captured for the shoot as the man being handcuffed to a squad car outside of the diner. This series of videos was nothing short of astonishing, with Robert Downey Jr. lip synching Elton’s vocals to ‘I Want Love’ to Justin Timberlake portraying an uncanny ‘70s Elton in ‘This Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore’ to Liz Taylor and Mandy Moore showcasing the video to ‘Original Sin’. With a small handful of duds, it’s a shame that ‘West Coast’ came out a week before September 11th, 2001 in the States. It could and should have fared much better on the charts if it wasn’t for the deep psychic and socioeconomic impact of the terrorist attacks.

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Saturday Update (in lieu of Monday): ‘She Packed My Bags Last Night Pre-Flight’

September 7, 2008

     I’ll be flying out at ten am tomorrow morning to sunny and warm Las Vegas Nevada to stay at the Mandalay Bay Casino and Resort Hotel at the expense of my company for our yearly convention, so needless to say, I won’t be around this Monday for my usual update.  I’ll be back in town on Thursday, September 11th to resume business as normal.

     The bad news for next week is that I’ve been scooped at ArtVoice.  After taking a pitch from Geoff Kelly (and doing the grunt work and the leg work), my assignment has been bumped in favor of Reginald Dwight, a freelancer who’s worked with AV over the years.  Geoff at least had the good manners to email me about it, but I’m more than a bit miffed that I put the time in on the piece with no pay only to find that another so-called journalist will be swooping down on the spoils.  Just when I thought I was back in ArtVoice’s good graces, they shelved another completed review of mine and went with one of their boys.  As a freelancer, I’ve heard of Dwight in Buffalo circles before, and I’ll say this: Stay off my turf.  If you’ve heard of me, Dwight, you know damn well that I’ll fix your wagon if you don’t mind your own business.  I won’t forget this any time soon.  ‘Nuff said on that front. 

     As for Night Life business, the second part of ‘The Divine Pop Comedy’ (an excerpt from my 30 page critique on the discography of Elton John) will be running this Monday. 

     On the Think Twice radio front, there have been no new episodes up online since Episode 9.  Richard Wicka was kind enough to loan me his Roland digital recorder for my trip, so you can count on me recording at least two shows while I’m spending five days and six nights in Sin City.  Vegas is bad news for a guy like me, so I’ll make sure to share at least some of the sordid play by play with my listeners. 

     And the proof for Breathing Room Volume I: Free Verse was emailed via attachment to me yesterday morning and it looks phenomenal.  My new layout liason Nick Peterson did a more than perfect job on the manuscript, which was surreptitiously uploaded to the Lulu sight this evening.  The first twenty copies are on their way via UPS overnight mail and I will have them available for sale on Thursday the 11th.  If you want a copy from the first batch, speak now or forever hold your peace.  Volume II will be available (as promised) by the beginning of October and both volumes will be ready for purchase in time for the launch event at the Center For Inquiry on October, 25th. 

That should be everything for now.  Enjoy the cold weather, suckers!  Real writers like me (not Reginald Dwight) will be out slinging down singapore slings in the belly of the beast out in 110 degree Las Vegas until the tail end of next week!  Have fun (because I certainly will be),

Tom Waters   

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