10 Most Underrated Elton John Songs

10 Most Underrated Elton John Songs

Photo: By Heinrich Klaffs (Elton John 1603720019) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The greatest part of buying an Elton John album was discovering all the great songs that would never become hits. The reason the songs would never become hits or be released as singles is because Elton kept putting new albums out every six months. Just like The Beatles, Elton John released albums and singles at a non stop pace for a good seven year period. Many of these great songs were never even played in concert as Elton John was pretty much obliged by his fans to play the hits. However there were so many great songs that Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote during the nineteen seventies and many of them have never been heard by the casual fan. So enjoy this lists and hopefully it will entice some casual Elton John fans to go hardcore Elton.

Off course there are many hardcore Elton John fans that will raise questions as to why we did not list such fantastic songs such as “High Flying Bird, Ballad of Danny Bailey, All The Girls Love Alice, Ticking, Bitter Fingers,” and especially “Harmony.” Well, we just did. In the end it’s all just for fun!

# 10 – Indian Sunset

From the Madman Across The Water album that gave us “Tiny Dancer,” and “Levon,” “Indian Sunset,” was so often overlooked. The song “Indian Sunset,” opened side two of the album. The performance of “Indian Sunset,” delivered some of the most passionate vocals Elton John has ever laid down on tape. Elton great line about Geronimo is one not to be forgotten. The  Madman Across The Water album was released in 1977. Madman Across The Water was Elton John’s fourth album. The record was produced by Gus Dudgeon.

# 9 – Seasons

The song “Friends,” has always been the most popular track from the Friends Motion Picture Soundtrack. However, the track “Seasons,” has always been just as a beautiful a song as “Friends,” was. The first half is mostly instrumental, but when Elton starts to sing, its simply captivating. The strings on the song were arranged and conducted by Paul Buckmaster.

ALBUM: Soundtrack to the Motion Picture Friends -1971

# 8 – Cold as Christmas

The opening track from the great and underrated Too Low For Zero album. The album was released in 1983 and contained two monster hits, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” and “I’m Still Standing.” “Cold As Christmas,” was the album’s opening track. The Too Low For Zero album stands as a transitional album for Elton John. While he had a huge hit the following year with “Sad Songs,” from Breaking Hearts, the sound of Elton’s voice was growing deeper. Because of the change in his voice, his songs would take on new melodic structures that no longer explored the high notes that he sang on songs like “Bennie and The Jets,” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

ALBUM : Too Low for Zero 1983

# 7 – White Lady, White Powder

This killer track opened side two of the great 21 at 33 album. The song was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The song was released during a time period when Elton John was recording songs with lyrics written by other writers besides Bernie Taupin. During the late 1970s and early 1980s Elton John wrote songs with writers Gary Osborne, Tom Robinson, Judie Tzuke and Tim Rice. The latter who would become a major collaborator with Elton John on the Disney movie soundtrack Elton John scored.

# 6 – Hercules

Elton John’s Honky Chateau delivered the two big hits in “Rocket Man,” and “Honky Cat”. If Elton had not released another album only six months later,  “Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters,” along with “Hercules,” would have been big hit singles. The problem was we just could not keep up with Elton John.

ALBUM: Honky Chateau

# 5 – Cage The Songbird

There were so many great songs on Elton John’s Blue Moves album that the general public probably have never heard. “Cage the Songbird,” was one of the best. Edith Piaf’ was the singer whom Elton John was referring to in the song.

ALBUM : Blue Moves 1977

# 4 –  I’ve Seen the Saucers

Elton John’s Caribou may be the Elton John album that contained the most underrated Elton John songs. Songs like “Pinky,” “Ticking,” “Your so Static,” and “Grimsby,” were just such killer cuts. Nonetheless, the one that always stood out was, “I’ve Seen the Saucers.” Another one of those great passionate Elton John vocal performances.

ALBUM : Caribou 

# – 3 The Boy in the Red Shoes

Elton John never released this song as a single. The record company instead released “I Want Love,” that featured Robert Downey Jr. in the video. We think that record company made a mist by not releasing this amazing song as a single.  “The Boy in the Red Shoes,” was released on the album in 2001. It sounded like vintage Elton John from 1972. Easily the greatest song Elton had written in twenty years. Why was this song not a huge hit? Even Elton was really mad that the record company failed to promote this. At least that’s what he told us at one of the concerts that he performed while promoting the album.

ALBUM : Songs from the West Coast

# 2 – Madness

Elton John’s “Madness,” may have contained the coolest piano playing Elton has ever recorded on vinyl. This one was released on the A Single Man album. It was a period in which we began to see a musical transformation from Elton John from the glory years of the 1970s into the various phases he explored in the 1980’s.

Album : A Single Man

# 1 –  Blues for Baby and Me.

One of the all time great Elton John songs is probably one of the least known. “Blues for Baby and Me,” stands at the front of The Top 10 Greatest Elton John Songs you may have never heard. From the great Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player album which contained the mega hits “Daniel,” and “Crocodile Rock.” The album also contained fan favorites, “Elderberry Wine, Midnight Creeper, Teenage Idol and Teacher I Need You.” What an incredible album!

ALBUM : Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player 1973

Updated Nov 26, 2020

10 Most Underrated Elton John Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2013

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