Diverting from his glam, singer-songwriter cliche ever so slightly, Elton John opens up his magnum opus Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by shooting his fans in the face, defecating on their corpses and riding over them with a Harley. Admittedly, Funeral For A Friend isn’t exactly Frank Zappa, but this dramatic, synth-heavy depiction of his future funeral song was not of the same universe as the folky Your Song that brought him to fame. This was Elton locking and loading, refusing to take prisoners, and entreating the worthy remaining few to enjoy a sprawling double album testing his limits.

The song does oddly segue into Love Lies Bleeding, apparently simply because they were both written in the key of A, but it’s not immediately obvious. The tension builds throughout both songs, aided by the muscular guitar that pervades throughout. Elton’s vocals are at his best, and the music jives in the way that only the profoundly camp piano man can make it.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road would go on to be Elton’s best-selling album, most likely due to the fact that Candle in the Wind immediately followed this cathartic rampage. Just don’t expect to see it in any Greatest Hits collection.

Advertisements