Saturday, November 20, 2010

357. Honky Chateau. With a conservative looking heterosexual on the cover.

Album: Honky Chateau
Artist: Elton John
Year: 1972
Genre: Pop


1 Honky Cat
2 Mellow
3 I Think I'm Going To Kill Myself
4 Susie (Dramas)
5 Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be A Long, Long Time)
6 Salvation
7 Slave
8 Amy
9 Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters
10 Hercules

Elton John is one of the unbelievably famous artists that I've actually been forced to sit down and listen to as a result of taking on this project. He's a household name and of course I'm fully aware of his existence but prior to taking on this blog my experience with him was limited to radio songs, headlines and of course his Muppets appearance (appearing on The Muppets is an instant increase in prestige as far as I'm concerned). I've now heard three of John's albums all the way through and it's allowing me to hear him as a performer who released albums instead of just a funny-looking guy the English press adore.

Honky Chateau is his fifth release and much better than the previous two which appeared on this countdown. Saying it's my favourite Elton John is definitely faint praise but it's still a positive step from how scathing I've been about him in the past. There are two things which make me appreciate Honky Chateau more than his previous work. The first is the absence of strings. Back in 1972 Elton saw himself as the leader of a rock band which suits his style a lot more. The second was the addition of Jean-Luc Ponty on electric guitar. Jean Luc is great and it says something about my music tastes that I've got a hell of a lot more Ponty in my collection than I do Elton John. He's only on two tracks which is a pity and they're not his finest moments but he does lift the album when he appears.

The biggest track on Honky Chateau is definitely Rocket Man which is one of Elton's biggest tunes. I'm not sure about you but I've never been a huge fan of Rocket Man. It's always struck me as a bit daft and does nothing to move me at all. It's still a bit too over-produced for my money. The bass is nice but the backing vocals almost make me wonder if Elton ditched strings from this release as a cost-cutting rather than artistic measure. Personally I prefer the song Mona Lisa's and Mad Hatters which is a nice ballad that I quite enjoy, although it has to be said I prefer the Indigo Girls version which I reccomend you hunt out (and while you're there check out the Indigo Girls version of every cover they've ever done)

Honky Chateau is my favourite Elton John album, but then I hate the other two I've heard and the finest moments are provided by a guest musician and it's greatest song is much better when sung by someone else- that's praise so faint you can barely see it on the paper.

Influenced by: A lyricist (I'm not knocking it. I think the musician/lyricist combination is actually a great idea)
Influenced: A lot more people than you might think.

Highlight: Mona Lisa's and Mad Hatters
Lowlight: Amy

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: Elton John is a legend of rock music since the 70's.Honky Chateau it's wonderful. Elton make a great folk-rock songs."Rocket Man" it's was the 2 mundial hit( the 1 was Your Song) but "Honky Cat" it's another massive hit.The album is make the top in Billboard Chart and was one of my favorite albums.

-I don't want to knock a non-native English speaker but I have to ask what a mundial hit is?

So is your chateau honky or not? Let me know below.


  1. He was doing some pretty decent stuff from here for a few years. Great band he had around him as well. It was when he started wearing all those goofy glasses that all started to go wrong.

  2. What, you don't like the goofy glasses? Isn't Elton the bloke that sang 'Crocodile Rock'? He wore goofy glasses then, and I don't that song is too bad.
    By the way, no dictionary entries for 'mundial' that I could see.