Monday, June 8, 2009
Anyway, the Thing Is, What I Really Mean...
It has become kind of a truism that any music released by Elton John after 1976 wasn't worth the wax it was distributed on, as we discussed in the comments section a few weeks ago. And sure enough, Elton's last single released in 1976 was "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," while the first in 1977 was "Bite Your Lip (Get up and dance!)," complete with the wonky Euro-capitalization on the parenthetical, according to Whitburn.
So what happened at the end of the Bicentennial Year? Let's take a look at some possibilities:
* For one thing, Elton turned thirty on March 25, 1977, exactly 23 years to the date before the birth of unofficial OPC adjunct Mark Nawrocki. Lots of rock & roll stars lose a bit of their mojo around this time. Dion never had another hit after he turned thirty.
* After Blue Moves came out in October 1976, Elton didn't release another album until A Single Man a full two years later. ("Bite Your Lip" was Blue Moves' second single.) At a concert shortly after Blue Moves came out, Elton said from the stage, "That's it, this is the last one." In November 1977, he formally announced his retirement. (It didn't take.)
* Bernie Taupin left Elton's side after Blue Moves, and did not return until the duo worked together on some songs for 1980's The Fox. Bernie would go on to write the lyrics for the Starship's "We Built This City," about which the less said the better.
* Disco reared its ugly head starting in 1976, and by the time Elton made his return in 1978, the Bee Gees had taken over the charts. Elton's dalliances with disco, from the single "Ego" to his work with Thom Bell, were rather unfortunate.
So if you look at everything that was going on, it would be remarkable if Elton John were able to carry on with as much proficiency after 1976 as he had before then. He still had a hefty thirty-nine post-'76 Top Forty hits, which is more than you've had.