Top 10 Elf Songs

Elf Songs

Feature Photo: Tinseltown /

Our top 10 Elf songs list looks at the body of work of an American rock outfit distinguished for its hard rock sound tinged with blues rock influences. The band was established by singer/bassist Ronnie James Dio in 1967, marking his “proper” foundational steps in the rock and roll scene. Joining him on the band’s lineup were drummer Gary Driscoll, keyboardist Doug Thaler, and guitarists David Feinstein and Nick Pantas. Initially, the band went under the moniker ‘the Electric Elves,’ with its members changing the name to ‘the Elves’ in 1968. Eventually, the band settled for the title ‘Elf’ in 1972, a year that also marked the band’s first major release.

Elf’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough

In 1967, as The Electric Elves, the band went on to release the single “Hey, Look Me Over” / “It Pays to Advertise.” The band would later return with the single “Walking in Different Circles” / “She’s Not the Same” in 1969 at a time its moniker had changed to The Elves. Still, as The Elves, the band issued its single “Amber Velvet” / “West Virginia” in 1970. The band went on to issue its eponymous debut studio album in 1972 which is by far the band’s most sought-after record. Elf issued two extra albums before disbanding in 1975, with most of its members joining the rock supergroup Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow.

Elf’s Album Releases over the Years

Elf, the band’s eponymous debut studio album, was issued on August 1, 1972, through Epic Records. Other artists that issued records through Epic Records in the same year include Donovan, Billy Paul, David Buskin, Crazy Horse, Looking Glass, Tammy Wynette, and Jeff Beck to name a few. Elf saw the band take on a blend of blues rock, hard rock, and boogie rock influences. At the time of this album’s issue, Elf was a foursome following the earlier departure of guitarist Nick Pantas.

Elf was also without the services of its original keyboardist Doug Thaler who succumbed to an accident. The band filled his void with keyboardist Micky Lee Soule. “Never More,” “I’m Coming Back for You,” “First Avenue,” “Gambler Gambler,” and “Sit Down Honey (Everything Will Be Alright)” are some of the best Elf songs from the album. Elf’s production work was handled by Roger Glover and Ian Paice of the heavy metal/hard rock outfit Deep Purple.

In 1974, Elf issued its sophomore studio album Carolina County Ball through MGM Records. Other acts/artists who issued records on MGM Records in the same year include The Osmonds, Eric Burdon, Hank Williams, Johnny Bristol, The Velvet Underground, and Sammy Davis Jr. to name a few. Carolina County Ball was the first album by Elf to feature Steve Edwards on the guitars as a replacement for David.

Another notable addition to this album was bassist Craig Gruber. His arrival relieved Ronnie from the bass roles, leaving him to concentrate on the lead vocals. Tasked with the production of this album is Roger Glover of Deep Purple. Once again, Elf gave its fans its blend of blues rock, hard rock, and boogie rock sounds. “Happy,” “Rainbow,” “Rocking Chair Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues,” and the album title track are the most popular musical gems by the band from Carolina County Ball.

In June 1975, Elf issued its third and final studio album Trying to Burn the Sun through MGM Records. Under the production of Roger Glover of Deep Purple, the band gave us its signature blend of hard rock, blues rock, and boogie rock inflections. Making a late entry in the band’s lineup was percussionist Mark Nauseef who partnered with other acts including Thin Lizzy, Jack Bruce, The Velvet Underground, and Phil Lynott. “When She Smiles,” “Black Swampy Water,” “Streetwalker,” and “Wonderworld” are the best Elf songs from Trying to Burn the Sun.

Elf’s Legacy

Despite the band’s short tenure in the music scene, Elf played a significant role in the rock scene, earning the approval of hard rock aficionados. The band was also revered for its blues rock and boogie rock inflections. Elf served as the “proper” musical vessel for Ronnie James Dio’s career in the rock scene. Ronnie went ahead to lead a successful career as a member of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, and Dio. Here we present the ten best Elf songs of all time.

#10- Dixie Lee Junction

Ushering us to the top ten Elf songs list is the excellent hit “Dixie Lee Junction.” The song is featured on the band’s eponymous studio album. “Dixie Lee Junction” is a classic blues rock ballad that finds the band embracing simplicity in its instrumentation, especially at the beginning of the song. Despite its slow and minimalist approach at the start, “Dixie Lee Junction” switches its tempo to a slightly faster one, with a tad bit heavier groove.

Mickey Lee Soule’s keyboard riffs dominate the better part of the song before David Feinstein delivers an alluring guitar solo. The guitar solo suggests the band’s ability to go even harder in its rock explorations. Ronnie also shifts from the smooth bluesy vocals to a tad bit aggressive (yet alluring) hard rock-inspired vocals.

#9- Black Swampy Water

“Black Swampy Water” is the first of the three songs from the album Trying to Burn the Sun that made it to our ten best Elf songs list. We are guilty of leaving out quality tracks like “When She Smiles,” albeit done with a purpose. “Black Swampy Water” is not of less quality either! Its is the grooving hard rock vibe of “Black Swampy Water” that makes it a solid pick for us.

Hard rock inflections in songs like “Black Swampy Water” formed Ronnie James Dio’s pillars of success in the hard rock/heavy metal scene. Similar hard rocking influences can be felt with the band’s second hit off the 1975 album Trying to Burn the Sun, “Prentice Wood.” “Black Swampy Water” serves as a perfect album opener to the band’s excellence in the hard rock scene.

#8- Gambler Gambler

Number eight on our ten best Elf songs is the phenomenal hit “Gambler Gambler.” The song is yet another track off the band’s 1972 eponymous debut studio album. “Gambler Gambler” is a rudimentary hard rock ballad with prominent boogie rock elements. The song also features some honky-tonk piano tunes that make it quite an appealing pick for boogie blues and blues rock purists. Gary Driscoll enjoys his moment with the sporadic brief solo runs that bring out his excellence on the drums.

#7- Streetwalker

“Streetwalker” is another outstanding hit by Elf off the band’s third studio album Trying to Burn the Sun. Despite being the last hit by Elf off Trying to Burn the Sun, “Streetwalker” proves to be one of the fan-favorite hits of all time. If we are being honest, “Streetwalker” feels like a jazz blues hit, especially at the beginning.

In fact, the song barely gets truly hard, finding comfort in the band’s blues rock/boogie rock influences. However, the catch in this song is the charming vocals of Ronnie James Dio. The song once again brings the best of Gary Driscoll’s drumming skills and Mickey’s excellence on the keyboard.

#6- First Avenue

Number six on our ten best Elf songs list is the imposing hit “First Avenue.” The song is featured on the band’s eponymous debut studio album. Ronnie’s musicianship is at its peak in this record. We cannot get tired of mentioning how great Ronnie’s vocals sounds on this record. “First Avenue” also brings out the best of Ronnie’s bass skills.

The song balances the hard rock, boogie rock, and blues rock influences. “First Avenue” is a beautifully composed lyrical gem, with the singer crooning about returning from the First Avenue, probably the Minneapolis entertainment hub, only to find his lover gone. The song is an attempt by the singer to bring his lover back home from ‘heartbreak city.’

#5- Carolina County Ball

Carolina County Ball, the band’s sophomore studio album, was quite a remarkable album. Its title track, which serves as the lead track to the album, is enough proof of the band’s solid musicianship and then-growing influence rock scene. This mid-tempo song is a flawless catchy tune owing to impressive instrumentation. Adding to the band’s rhythm section is Ray Swinfield with some impressive clarinet sounds.

“Carolina County Ball” brings out the band’s blend of blues rock/southern rock/boogie rock ballad. We cannot forget to mention the honky-tonk piano inflections in this song. Ronnie crowns this hit as a masterpiece with his outstanding vocal delivery. Joining Ronnie on the backing vocals are the female singers, Barry St. John, Helen Chappell, and Liza Strike, who adds glamour to the song’s vocal section.

#4- Wonderland

“Wonderland” is yet another magical ballad from the band’s third studio album, Trying to Burn the Sun. Elf excelled in the hard rock scene but still managed to bring us some of its blues rock inflections. “Wonderland” is one of the songs that manage to balance Elf’s hard-rocking signature sound with blues rock influences. The song provides a safe space where we can discuss the band’s musicianship.

“Wonderland” is a complete thriller starting from Ronnie’s alluring vocal delivery to the impressive instrumentation that yields haunting strong melodies. The keyboard riffs from Mickey Lee Soule make this song quite melodious! “Wonderland” feels a tad bit soft but melodiously rich like the hit “When She Smiles.” The string section in “Wonderland” adds to its allure.

#3- Rainbow

The third pick on our ten best Elf songs list is the intoxicating hit “Rainbow.” “Rainbow” is yet another hit from the band’s sophomore studio album, Carolina County Ball. The song is yet another exhibition of Elf’s solid musicianship and excellence in the blues rock scene. We cannot seem to get enough of Ronnie’s melodic and powerful bluesy vocals. Once more, Ronnie is joined by female singers Barry St. John, Hellen Chappell, and Liza Strike on the backing vocals in this song.

Ronnie’s success with his blues rock-tinged vocals is proof of his versatility in the music scene. Roger Glover and Ian Paice of Deep Purple must have felt a bit sad to see their former member Ritchie Blackmore outpace them in signing Ronnie. The predominant piano tunes on this song evoke influences of Elton John in Elf’s career.

#2- I’m Coming Back for You

Energetic and electrifying is the second pick of our ten best Elf songs list “I’m Coming Back for You.” The song is one of the most sought-after tracks by the band off its eponymous debut studio album. “I’m Coming Back for You” is probably the closest Elf ever got to releasing a picture-perfect hard rock record. The song is an unadulterated hard rock ballad that barely tells of any blues rock inflections by the band.

Ronnie unleashes some powerful vocals that tell more of a man who would become the powerhouse of several hard rock/heavy metal acts in the late’70s and the better part of the ‘80s. The song forms a perfect foundation for Ronnie’s later musical pursuits with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and his eponymous ensemble Dio.

#1- Never More

Number one on our ten best Elf songs list is the alluring hit “Never More.” The song is the high point of the band’s eponymous debut studio album. “Never More” is emblematic of Elf’s signature blend of hard rock material with blues rock influences. At some point, the song feels like a mid-tempo driving hard rock ballad before the groove makes a huge U-turn to blues rock inflections.

This haunting ballad brings the best of Ronnie’s vocal delivery. Additionally, Micky Lee Soule standing his ground in this hit as one of the most impactful rock keyboardists of the early ‘70s. “Never More” was among the songs that guided Ronnie to achieving his big break, opening him to the admiration by rock fans and artists like Ritchie Blackmore and Deep Purple Members, Roger Glover and Ian Paice.

Top 10 Elf Songs article published on Classic© 2022 claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Album Cover Photos are affiliate links and the property of Amazon and are stored on the Amazon server. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites. Protection Status

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Classic Rock Christmas Songs
Our 10 Favorite Classic Rock Christmas Songs
A Thousand Horses Albums
Complete List Of A Thousand Horses Albums And Songs
Blackmore's Night Albums
Complete List Of Blackmore’s Night Albums And Discography
Jeff Buckley Songs
10 Essential Jeff Buckley Songs
Can Albums
Top 10 Can Albums
Kiss Bootlegs
KISSteria on Vinyl: Ten’ 70s-era Bootlegs for Records Collectors
10 Essential Metal Albums Released Between 1970 and 1995
10 Essential Metal Albums Released Between 1970 and 1995
The River Album Bruce Springsteen Should Have Released
The River Album Bruce Springsteen Should Have Released
Comic Con 2023
Comic Con 2023 Rocks New York City
The Misunderstanding Of The Way AI Was Used In Now And Then
The Misunderstanding Of The Way AI Was Used In Now And Then
Beatles Song Now And Then
Just Saying “New Beatles Song Released Today” Is Breathtaking
Pete Mancini and Rich Lanahan
Pete Mancini And Rich Lanahan Release Gene Clark’s Gypsy Rider
Liberty DeVitto: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Liberty DeVitto: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Rob De Luca of Spread Eagle, Sebastian Bach & UFO: 10 Albums That Changed My Life From humble East Coast origins to grandest stages worldwide, veteran bassist Rob De Luca has seen and done it all. De Luca first hit the local Boston rock and metal scene in the late 80s after meeting guitarist Paul DiBartolo, bonding over Van Halen before forming Bang. Regional success came quickly, but eventually, the members of Bang went their separate ways, with De Luca and drummer Tommi Gallo heading to NYC and hooking up with Ray West and, later, DiBartolo to form Spread Eagle. By 1990, Spread Eagle was on the fast track, with a contract through MCA Records and a self-titled debut album poised to crush skulls. But poor timing and MCA's sad indifference left Spead Eagle out in the cold despite being a hard-boiled answer to Guns N' Roses's West Coast sleaze. Spread Eagle's first chapter came to an end in '95. As for Rob De Luca, his nimble fingers and gift for melody and songwriting kept him moving forward. Soon, he found a gig with former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach and the legendary outfit UFO. And in 2010, after coupling up with Ray West and his cousin Rik De Luca, Spread Eagle retook flight. During a break from Spread Eagle's increasingly busy touring schedule, Rob De Luca dialed in with to run through the ten albums that changed his life. But only after adding, "I made a playlist of these songs, including some I've written or co-written. Do you hear any of these albums' influence on me?" Listen here: 10) Gentlemen by Afghan Whigs (1993) Here's an entry that was so important to me. This may be the darkest break-up album of all time. Greg Dulli has been in many projects, but I feel Gentlemen is his zenith. Somewhat undefinable at times but always profound and honest. Listen to "Gentlemen," "Fountain and Fairfax," and "What Jail Is Like." 9) In on the Kill Taker by Fugazi (1993) By this time, I had been sucked in and spit out by the major-label record industry. Glam came and went; grunge was history, too. I was searching for new sounds. When I heard Fugazi's twin guitar approach, I knew this was what was missing. Fugazi may be considered a less polished sound than the albums above; however, once you "get it," it hits you like a ton of bricks, and there's no going back. From the moment I heard Fugazi, I went to every NYC show after. It's easily some of the best concerts of my life, and possibly my favorite bassist in Joe Lally. And their DIY ethics refused to charge us more than $5 a show! In on the Kill Taker is a powerful album demonstrated in songs such as "Smallpox Champion," "Great Cop," and "Public Witness Program." 8) Appetite for Destruction by Guns N' Roses (1987) I discovered many of these albums (sometimes long) after they were released. However, I was at the right place at the right time for this one. Steve Ostromogilsky had a Berklee College of Music lunch card and used to sneak out sandwiches for me. One day, he invited me to hang out at his place and listen to music. As we got off the train, he put Sony Walkman headphones on my ears and said, "Hey, check out this brand-new group." A song like "It's So Easy" was so different from the popular Sunset Strip sound at that time. Me and about 499 other informed rockers were lucky enough to see them on their first East Coast tour at the sold-out Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston (the same street Aerosmith started on). I saw Gn'R every tour after until I took a break when Buckethead joined. Gn'R is the band I've been lucky enough to see the most times live, almost 100! Everyone on this album is just stellar. Axl [Rose] had the tones, power, melodic sensibilities, and foresight to do what no other singer did then. Slash's playing was beyond memorable. Duff [McKagan] is one of the most underrated bassists in rock history, and learning his Appetite basslines is a masterclass. Steven [Adler] had the natural swing, and Izzy [Stradlin] was the secret weapon songwriter. Everything that's been heralded about this gem is deserved and true. Check out "It's So Easy," "Out Ta Get Me," and "Mr. Brownstone.' 7) Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (1975) Another contender for my favorite album and band of all time. Using The Beatles machine (same recording studio, engineer, record label), Pink Floyd made what I feel is their strongest, most cohesive album (my second favorite of theirs would be Animals). This list mainly consists of bands with an instantly recognizable sound. Floyd is certainly no exception to that! This album included a solid handful of undeniable rock radio classics, bookended by two halves of the mind-blowing song "Shine on You Crazy Diamond.' That song was written about former band member and founder Syd Barrett. It would be hard to live in a world without this album. Check out "Welcome to The Machine," "Shine on You Crazy Diamond (parts 6-9),' or even better yet, listen to the whole thing in one sitting! 6) Decade by Neil Young (1977) About this time, I started playing guitar. As a beginner, it was comfortable jamming to this album because the chord changes were simple—a great "first ten years" retrospective of Neil's stunning, unique songwriting. Neil is a treasure who always writes from the heart and stands up for what's right. Check out "Southern Man," "A Man Needs a Maid," "Down by The River," and "After the Goldrush." 5) Highway to Hell by AC/DC (1979) When I heard this album, I was firmly "me." My life would be 100% focused on hard rock music forever. AC/DC are like air; they're ubiquitous. Everyone knows them and their incredible songs. However, as a young teen in Wilmington, Delaware, I only had WMMR 93.3 FM Philadelphia and a few friends to inform me about the world of Rock outside my bedroom. AC/DC had not gone mainstream, and their albums were available primarily in the USA as imports. To put things more in perspective, I only knew two people in the world who had heard of AC/DC. A friend had an import that we played in Steve Buckley's basement, which sounded ripping. When Highway to Hell was released, WMMR started spinning the title track, and I immediately bought the album, listening to it every single day after school. Then WMMR announced AC/DC was coming to the Spectrum in Philly, supporting Ted Nugent! I liked Ted but loved AC/DC, so my good friend Mick Cummins and I bought tickets, and he drove us up to the Spectrum (where we saw most of our concerts). Bon Scott was in fine form, and the band went over great. Although the crowd knew Ted better, Angus [Young] wouldn't let anyone upstage him. I'll never forget it! Unfortunately, Bon would be gone in 6 months. Check out "Walk All Over You," "Touch Too Much," "Shot Down in Flames," and "If You Want Blood (You Got It)." 4) Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith (1975) By the time I heard this, I was now in my teens. I had a childhood friend up the street, Jim Linberg (we're still good buddies). His older sister had a great album collection, including Toys in The Attic. Once I heard that groove, my taste changed. I lost interest in rock music that didn't have some sort of "swing" feel to it. I think Rocks is a slightly better Aerosmith album (and possibly my favorite album of all time), but both are perfect or very close. Check out "Uncle Salty," "Adam's Apple," "No More No More," "Round and Round," and "You See Me Crying." 3) Alive! by Kiss (1975) When I was still a little kid, I asked for Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke album for Christmas. The entire family came over for an enormous feast, and I dropped the needle. When my mother heard the content, she turned off the album and said I had to exchange it. My mom was cool, but I was young and knew much more about life than she suspected. Anyway, the next day, she drove me back to the store. In the music section, promoted on an "endcap" was a Kiss Alive! display. I had never heard of Kiss, but that cover picture told me I had to have it! My first foray into hard rock. Check out “Strutter.” I went through my Kiss phase very quickly, I believe in a matter of months because I discovered the previous entry, Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic. 2) Honky Chateau by Elton John (1972) When I was a wee lad, my parents bought a used Volkswagen camper van from my uncle Ozzie. My favorite Elton John album is Yellow Brick Road, but Honky Chateau is great and easily one of his best. It sent me down a lifelong rabbit hole of loving everything about the 1970s partnership between Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin. The simple beauty of voice, the master songwriting, the perfect backing band, the clear, unobtrusive recordings, and always Bernie's incredible lyrics. The day this album was released, Elton became an unstoppable force that conquered the music industry. Check out "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" and "Rocket Man." 1) Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles (1967) Another tape that was included in the VW Camper. The van had a bunch of music tapes, and one was Sgt Pepper. I was too young to understand the sophistication of the music, but that was one of the many skills of The Beatles. They attracted listeners at every level, even little kids. I still feel that immediate connection to Sgt Pepper; now, I hear so much more. It's an album that changed the world and the world of music. Check out "Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds," "A Day In The Life," and "Fixing a Hole."
Rob De Luca of Spread Eagle, Sebastian Bach & UFO: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Jim Suhler Interview
Jim Suhler: The Interview
Bryan Bassett of Foghat: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Bryan Bassett of Foghat: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
The Raspberries Albums
Complete List Of The Raspberries Albums And Discography
Pixie Lott Albums
Complete List Of Pixie Lott Albums And Discography
Mick Ronson Albums
Complete List Of Mick Ronson Albums And Discography
Graham Nash Albums
Complete List Of Graham Nash Albums And Discography
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
25 Most Famous Female American Singers Now!
The Grateful Dead's Keyboard Players
A Look Back At The Grateful Dead’s Keyboard Players
The Chick Corea Elektric Band The Future Is Now' Album Review
The Chick Corea Elektric Band ‘The Future Is Now’ Album Review
In Harmony albums
A Look Back At Both ‘In Harmony’ Rock Star Children’s Albums
John Miles Rebel Albums Review
John Miles ‘Rebel’ Album Review
Aimee Mann’s Solo Debut Album "Whatever."
30 Year Look Back At Aimee Mann’s Solo Debut Album ‘Whatever’