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ELTON JOHN – TOO LOW FOR ZERO

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Posted October 1, 2013 by in Rock
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Rating

Musicianship
 
 
 
 
 


Vocals
 
 
 
 
 


Lyrics
 
 
 
 
 


Total Score
 
 
 
 
 

4/ 5

Raw Roots Rock Score

Genre:
 
Quick Opinion

Without a doubt the world’s biggest Pop/Rock star of the mid-seventies, Elton John dominated the charts on both sides of the Atlantic through 1972-76 with a stack of hit singles and seven consecutive number one albums in the US. However, after a less commercial double album in late ’76 “Blue Moves” failed to capture the […]

by Jaylow
Full Article

Without a doubt the world’s biggest Pop/Rock star of the mid-seventies, Elton John dominated the charts on both sides of the Atlantic through 1972-76 with a stack of hit singles and seven consecutive number one albums in the US. However, after a less commercial double album in late ’76 “Blue Moves” failed to capture the public’s imagination in the same way as his earlier releases, a subsequent break from his long-time songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, a change in image from his flamboyant glam style, and a short-lived retirement from live performances, Elton found the going much tougher in the years from 1977 until his comeback album of sorts – 1983’s “Too Low For Zero”. He still managed the odd big hit single during this time, such as 1982’s schmaltzy ballad “Blue Eyes” from “Jump Up”, and the mellow pop of “Little Jeanie” from 1980’s “21 at 33”, but it was generally a lean period for one of rock and pop’s greatest artists and performers. Reunited with his classic 1972-75 band (rejoining his mainstay lead guitarist Davey Johnstone were bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Ollsen) whose backing vocal harmonies also added much to the overall sound, as well as lyricist Taupin, “Too Low For Zero” harked back to his classic era as well as capturing a whole new audience for the mid-eighties, and sits well alongside his greatest albums. Elton stormed back into Rock’s big-league with the defiant rocker “I’m Still Standing” which preceded the album’s release, accompanied by a contemporary video clip that helped Elton regain relevance in the MTV era of the 1980s.
“Too Low For Zero” was particularly successful in Australia, where Elton toured in early 1984 (getting married in Sydney along the way), reaching number two on the album charts there, and number 3 on the 1983 year-end chart, and still managing to make number 8 on the year-end chart for the following year. Overall it was the seventh highest selling album of the 1980s in Australia. In the UK it reached # 7, and only #25 in the US, although in both markets the album reached platinum sales, something not achieved by any of his four previous studio albums from 1979-82. It also registered #2 on the New Zealand album chart.
The album was loaded with catchy tunes, and six of the ten tracks were released as hit singles in various regions: “I’m Still Standing” (UK #3, US #12, Aus #3, Can #1), the 50s-sounding “I Guess That’s Why They Call it The Blues” (UK #5, US #4, Aus #4, Can #9) which featured Stevie Wonder on harmonica, the hard-rocking “Kiss The Bride” (UK # 20, US #25, Aus #25, Can #37), the bouncy pop-rocker “Crystal” (Aus # 12), the deceptively unseasonal tale of marriage-breakdown “Cold As Christmas” (UK # 33), and the anthemic title track “Too Low For Zero” (Aus #52) which featured a dark lyric covered by another catchy tune. Apart from the stately ballads “Saint” and “One More Arrow”, which saw Elton revert to his earlier falsetto vocal style, after several years of utilising a deeper register, the overall tone of the album is up-beat. The Frenzied rocker “Whipping Boy” and the tongue-in-cheek country-rocker “Religion” round out an extremely solid album without an ounce of fat on it.


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Jaylow
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