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Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.jpg
Studio album by
Released5 October 1973
RecordedMay 1973 using a 16 track tape recorder
StudioChâteau d'Hérouville, Hérouville, France; remixed and overdubbed at Trident, London
GenreRock, pop rock, glam rock[1]
LabelMCA (US), DJM (UK)
ProducerGus Dudgeon
Elton John chronology
Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Lady Samantha
Singles from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  1. "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"
    Released: 29 June 1973
  2. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
    Released: 7 September 1973
  3. "Bennie and the Jets"
    Released: 4 February 1974
  4. "Candle in the Wind"
    Released: 22 February 1974

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is the seventh studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John, first released in 1973 as a double LP. The album has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide[2] and is widely regarded as John's best. Among the 17 tracks, the album contains the hits "Candle in the Wind", "Bennie and the Jets", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" plus live favorites "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" and "Harmony".

It was recorded at the Studio d'enregistrement Michel Magne at the Château d'Hérouville in France after problems recording at the intended location in Jamaica. The move provided John and his band with a great deal of creative inspiration, and an abundance of quality material was produced, leading to the decision to release the work as a double album (LP).[3]

In 2003, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[4] The album was ranked number 91 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time,[5] and number 59 in Channel 4's 2009 list of 100 Greatest Albums.[6] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[7]


Under the working titles of Vodka and Tonics and Silent Movies, Talking Pictures, Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics in two and a half weeks, with John composing most of the music in three days while staying at the Pink Flamingo Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica.[8] John had wanted to go to Jamaica, in part because the Rolling Stones had just recorded Goats Head Soup there.[9]

Production on the album was started in Jamaica in January 1973, but due to difficulties with the sound system and the studio piano, logistical issues arising from the Joe Frazier-George Foreman boxing match taking place in Kingston, and protests over the political and economic situation in the country, the band decided to move before any productive work was done.[8][10]

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was recorded in two weeks at the Studio d'enregistrement Michel Magne, at the Château d'Hérouville near Pontoise, in France, where John had previously recorded Honky Château and Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player. While a version of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" was recorded in Jamaica, that recording was discarded; the released version of the song came from the sessions at the Château.

According to the album's producer, Gus Dudgeon, the album was not planned as a two-record collection. John and Taupin composed a total of 22 tracks for the album,[8] of which 18 (counting "Funeral for a Friend" and "Love Lies Bleeding" as two distinct tracks) were used, enough that it was released as a double album, John's first (three more such albums followed up to 2011). Through the medium of cinematic metaphor, the album builds on nostalgia for a childhood and culture left in the past.[8][11] Tracks include "Bennie and the Jets", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road",[12] the 11-minute "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding", and the Marilyn Monroe tribute "Candle in the Wind". "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" was inspired by memories of a Market Rasen pub Taupin frequented when younger. "Grey Seal", previously the B-side of the 1970 single "Rock and Roll Madonna", was re-recorded for the album.[13]

"Harmony", the album's final track, was considered as a fourth single, but was not issued at the time because the chart longevity of the album and its singles brought it too close to the upcoming releases of Caribou and its proposed accompanying singles. It was, however, used as the B-side of the American release of the "Bennie and the Jets" single, and was popular on FM playlists of the day, especially WBZ-FM in Boston, whose top 40 chart allowed for the inclusion of LP cuts and B-sides as voted for by listeners. "Harmony" spent three weeks at no. 1 on WBZ-FM's chart in June 1974 and ranked no. 6 for the year, with "Bennie and the Jets" at no. 1 and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" behind "Harmony" at no. 7. "Harmony" was released as a single in Britain in 1980 and failed to chart.


The album was released on 5 October 1973 as a double LP, with cover art by illustrator Ian Beck depicting John stepping into a poster.

The original 1973 LP, when released on CD, was released on two discs, while the 1992 and 1995 CD remasters put the album on one disc as it was slightly less than 80 minutes.[14]

The 30th anniversary edition followed the original format, splitting the album across two discs to allow the inclusion of the bonus tracks, while a DVD on the making of the album was also included. The album has also been released by Mobile Fidelity as a single disc 24 karat gold CD. The album (including all four bonus tracks) was released on SACD (2003), DVD-Audio (2004), and Blu-ray Audio (2014).[15] These high resolution releases included the original stereo mixes, as well as 5.1 remixes produced and engineered by Greg Penny.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[16]
Christgau's Record GuideB[17]
Rolling Stone(negative)[18]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[19]
Slant Magazine4.5/5 stars[20]
The Daily VaultA[21]

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is widely regarded as John's best album, and is one of his most popular;[8] it is his best-selling studio album. Three singles were released in the US: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", "Bennie and the Jets" and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting". In the UK, "Candle in the Wind" was released as a single instead of "Bennie and the Jets," which was used as the b-side.

In the US it was certified gold in October 1973, 5× platinum in March 1993, and eventually 8× platinum in February 2014 by the RIAA.

Track listing

All tracks are written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Side one
1."Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding"11:09
2."Candle in the Wind"3:50
3."Bennie and the Jets"5:23
Side two
1."Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"3:13
2."This Song Has No Title"2:23
3."Grey Seal"4:00
4."Jamaica Jerk-Off"3:39
5."I've Seen That Movie Too"5:59
Side three
1."Sweet Painted Lady"3:54
2."The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909–34)"4:23
3."Dirty Little Girl"5:00
4."All the Girls Love Alice"5:09
Side four
1."Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll)"2:42
2."Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"4:57
3."Roy Rogers"4:07
4."Social Disease"3:42
30th Anniversary deluxe edition (2003) Bonus tracks
1."Whenever You're Ready (We'll Go Steady Again)" (B-side of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting")2:52
2."Jack Rabbit" (B-side of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting")1:50
3."Screw You (Young Man's Blues)" (B-side of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road")4:42
4."Candle in the Wind" (2003 acoustic remix by Greg Penny)3:51
40th Anniversary deluxe edition (2014)
Disc two – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Revisited & Beyond
1."Candle in the Wind"Ed Sheeran3:19
2."Bennie and the Jets"Miguel featuring Wale5:09
3."Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"Hunter Hayes3:07
4."Grey Seal"The Band Perry3:38
5."Sweet Painted Lady"John Grant3:56
6."All the Girls Love Alice"Emeli Sandé3:34
7."Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll)"Imelda May2:49
8."Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"Fall Out Boy3:43
9."Harmony"Zac Brown Band2:57
10."Candle in the Wind" (Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1973) 4:04
11."Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1973) 3:07
12."All the Girls Love Alice" (Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1973) 7:18
13."Bennie and the Jets" (Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1973) 6:08
14."Rocket Man" (Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1973) 4:55
15."Daniel" (Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1973) 4:16
16."Honky Cat" (Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1973) 7:15
17."Crocodile Rock" (Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1973) 3:55
18."Your Song" (Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1973) 4:08
40th Anniversary super deluxe edition (2014)
Disc two – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Revisited & Beyond
1."Candle in the Wind"Ed Sheeran3:19
2."Bennie and the Jets"Miguel featuring Wale5:09
3."Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"Hunter Hayes3:07
4."Grey Seal"The Band Perry3:38
5."Sweet Painted Lady"John Grant3:56
6."All the Girls Love Alice"Emeli Sandé3:34
7."Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll)"Imelda May2:49
8."Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"Fall Out Boy3:43
9."Harmony"Zac Brown Band2:57
10."Grey Seal" (Piano demo) 3:20
11."Grey Seal" (1970 original version) 3:37
12."Jack Rabbit" (B-side of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting") 1:50
13."Whenever You're Ready (We'll Go Steady Again)" (B-side of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting") 2:52
14."Screw You (Young Man's Blues)" (B-side of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road") 4:42
15."Candle in the Wind" (2003 acoustic remix by Greg Penny) 3:51
16."Step into Christmas" 4:10
17."Ho! Ho! Ho! (Who'd Be a Turkey at Christmas)" (B-side of "Step into Christmas") 4:04
18."Philadelphia Freedom" 5:21
19."Pinball Wizard" (writer: Pete Townshend) 5:15

Note: The version of "Whenever You're Ready (We'll Go Steady Again)" appears to be taken directly from the 1980 compilation album "Lady Samantha" whereas it features the fade out of applause from the previous track on that album ("Rock 'n Roll Madonna") at the beginning of the track and the intro drum roll from "Bad Side of the Moon" at the end of the track. This is likely an error.

Disc three – Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1973: Part 1
1."Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding"11:52
2."Candle in the Wind"4:11
4."Rocket Man"5:01
5."Bennie and the Jets"6:27
7."This Song Has No Title"2:57
8."Honky Cat"7:14
Disc four – Live at Hammersmith Odeon 1973: Part 2
1."Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"3:22
2."The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909–34)"6:14
3."Elderberry Wine"6:23
4."Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (writer: Johnny Marks)1:15
5."I've Seen That Movie Too"5:45
6."All the Girls Love Alice"7:33
7."Crocodile Rock"6:34
8."Your Song"4:29
9."Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"8:22
Disc five – Elton John & Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye to Norma Jean and Other Things (DVD)
1."Elton John & Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye to Norma Jean and Other Things" (Documentary film by Bryan Forbes)45:00

Note: The DVD version of this film edits about 10 minutes from the original 1973 documentary, which ran for 56 minutes. Notable edits are all interview segments with John Reid, Dick James, and Elton's mother, as well as footage of Bernie Taupin with his wife Maxine, and two live clips of "All the Girls Love Alice" and "Crocodile Rock" at the Hollywood Bowl.


According to the album's liner notes. Track numbers refer to CD and digital releases of the album.



Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[37][unreliable source?] 5× Platinum 350,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[38] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[39] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[40] 8× Platinum 8,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  2. ^ "BBC Review".
  3. ^ John Tobler (1995). "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road".
  4. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame Award Archived 7 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 21 December 2012
  5. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 31 May 2012.
  6. ^ "The 100 Greatest Albums – Features – The Results". Channel 4. 26 February 2009. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Quintessence - Quarto Knows".
  8. ^ a b c d e Claude Bernardin, Tom Stanton (1996). Rocket man: Elton John from A-Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 123. ISBN 0-275-95698-9. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  9. ^ Radio Two: Johnnie Walkers Long Players, February 2012
  10. ^ Classic Albums: Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Documentary). UK: ISIS Productions, Eagle Rock Entertainment. 2001. Event occurs at approx. 16 minutes. Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  11. ^ "Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  12. ^ "The Aston Arms in Market Rasen has been singled out as a top spot for drinkers by Scottish whisky brand The Famous Grouse". Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  13. ^ Claude Bernardin, Tom Stanton (1996). Rocket man: Elton John from A-Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 177. ISBN 0-275-95698-9. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "High Fidelity Pure Audio showcase of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (40th Anniversary Edition)". Digital Lifestyle. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  16. ^ "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: J". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 27 February 2019 – via
  18. ^ Stephen Davis (22 November 1973). "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  19. ^ "Elton John: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 14 June 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  20. ^ "Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  21. ^ Clutterbuck, Jeff (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : Goodbye Yellow Brick Rosd". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  22. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  23. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Archived 21 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 29 October 2011
  24. ^ a b Billboard – 24 November – 1973. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1973" (in Italian). Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  27. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  28. ^ " Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Hung Medien. VG-lista. Archived from the original (ASP) on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  29. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (22 December 1973). Billboard – 23 December – 1973. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  30. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  31. ^ "AllMusic ((( Goodbye Yellow Brick Road > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  32. ^ "Album Search: Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  33. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1974". RPM. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  34. ^ "The Official UK Charts Company : ALBUM CHART HISTORY". Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  35. ^ " – Year End Charts – Year-end Albums – The Billboard 200". Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 11 October 2007.
  36. ^ "ARIA End of Year Albums Chart 2019". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  37. ^ "Top 200 Highest Selling Albums in Australia". Hung Medien. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  38. ^ "New Zealand album   certifications – Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  39. ^ "British album   certifications – Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  40. ^ "American album   certifications – Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

This page was last edited on 27 July 2020, at 21:13
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