Best Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy Album Deep Tracks

Our Favorite Elton John's Captain Fantastic Album Deep Tracks

Feature Photo: spatuletail / Shutterstock


Our Favorite Elton John Captain Fantastic Album Deep Tracks article takes a listen to some of the most special tracks recorded for the album. For many Elton John fans including this one, Elton John’s Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy album remains our favorite Elton John album of all time. Even Elton John himself has been quoted saying that Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy is his best album. The Beatles Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album is often recognized as the Beatles’ peak of creativity. That is despite years of number-one singles and hits after hits. Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is very similar in that fashion to Elton John’s career as Elton John was also an artist who had just enjoyed many years of hit singles.

Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy was not an album filled with hit singles. In fact, MCA records released only one single from the album, the six-minute track “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.” Despite being six minutes long which is incredibly rare for a hit single the song was a top 10 hit in the United States. The album’s opening track on side two “(Gotta Get a) Meal Ticket,” was heavily promoted also, but was never released officially as a single.

Elton John’s album Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy was the last album to feature the Elton John Band. Elton John fired his band after the album was released and recorded his next two albums Rock of the Westies and Blue Moves with a new set of musicians.

When Elton John’s album Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy was released it went straight to number one. It stayed on the top of the charts for almost 2 months. They weren’t many other single artists in the music business at the time that were as popular as Elton John was. Of course, Paul McCartney was still on top, David Bowie was huge and Bruce Springsteen was being regarded as the future of rock and roll.

Nonetheless, at the time, Elton John was still the king of pop music. Yet, despite his popularity, the Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy album was not recorded for the purpose of hit singles, but rather to present an autobiographical story of the life of Elton John and Bernie Taupin defining their struggles to make it in the music business. It was their deepest album where both songwriters rose to their highest level of songwriting they would ever achieve in their glorious and remarkable careers.

Below we pay tribute to some of the songs that caught our attention right away and have long remained our favorite tracks on the Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy album. These are the deeper tracks than “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” and “Meal Ticket.”

# 1 – Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy

The album’s opening song and title track remain probably our favorite song from the record. It’s hard to beat this one. This is clearly the most autobiographical song on the record and it sounds like it’s the dearest to their hearts. The sound of those guitars that opens the song defines just how good Elton John’s records always sounded.

# 2 – Tower Of Babel

The album’s second track opens immediately with Elton John’s vocals. The song’s melody and chord changes sounded like nothing else that we had ever heard before. After the brilliance of the opening track, Elton John and his record company knew they had to follow that one up with another great song which they did with this killer cut.

# 3 – Bitter Fingers

You will hear a lot of Elton John fans say that “Bitter Fingers,” is their favorite track from this album. Elton John’s piano playing is front and center right away with a great keyboard lick. However, it’s the change from the verse to that memorable chorus that just blew us all the way on this one.

# 4 – Better Of Dead

“Better Off Dead,” followed up the album’s second side opening track “(Gotta Get a) Meal Ticket.”  The song “(Gotta Get a) Meal Ticket,” was a great rocker, but it was the follow-up track “Better Off Dead,” that really stood out on side too. The bouncing piano riff that Elton John wrote perfectly countered and aligned with Bernie Taupin’s funny and devious lyrics. The band was simply amazing on this track as they were pretty much every other song on the album. But it was on this one where they really shined especially with the backing vocals.

# 5 – Writing

The song “Writing,” was sort of the sleeper track on this record. There was nothing bombastic about it. The arrangement was quite simple, but the melody, the words and the groove of the song pretty much just summed it all up as to what Elton John and Bernie were all about as musical partners. This is a beautiful song that is often overlooked in John’s catalog.

Our Favorite Elton John’s Captain Fantastic Album Deep Tracks article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar Layne Partin March 28, 2023
    • Avatar Brian Kachejian March 28, 2023

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