Elton John's Greatest Hits Volume II

Elton John's Greatest Hits Volume II is the sixteenth official album release for English musician Elton John, and the second compilation. The original 1977 US version features one song from 1971 and two songs from 1974 that were not on the first greatest hits album. It also features several hit songs from 1975 and two hit singles from Elton's last year of performing in 1976.

Greatest Hits Volume II
Elton John - Greatest Hits Volume Ii-front.jpg
Greatest hits album by
Released13 September 1977
Recorded1971, 1974–1976
GenrePop rock
Length48:20 (DJM)
48:33 (MCA)
52:03 (Polydor)
LabelMCA (US)
DJM (UK)
Polydor (reissue)
ProducerGus Dudgeon
Elton John chronology
Blue Moves
(1976)
Greatest Hits Volume II
(1977)
A Single Man
(1978)

ReleaseEdit

There are several versions of the album. There were two original versions, one in the United States and Canada and another for Great Britain and the rest of the world, both released in 1977. The British version, released on DJM Records, included "Bennie and the Jets", a song that had appeared on the 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road but had only recently been released as a single (1976) in Elton John's home country. In North America, where the album was released by MCA Records, this song had already appeared on the first volume of Greatest Hits. It was replaced with "Levon", an even older song (from 1971's Madman Across the Water album) that had not yet been collected.

The album also contained two songs that would later be replaced, "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" both from 1976. These were the newest songs on the collection, and the only two not owned by DJM/This Record Company. They had been released on Elton John's own label named The Rocket Record Company and were owned by his own royalty collection company, Sackville Productions. They appeared on this DJM album by mutual agreement. In North America, all his records were released by MCA (the singles from 1976 as well as the Blue Moves album also carried the Rocket logo), so, at that time, no agreement was necessary.

The original album contained a booklet containing lyrics to the songs (even to the covers of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Pinball Wizard"), with illustrations or performance photos for each song.

In 1992, a new version was released worldwide. Elton John had moved to Polygram Records, who got the rights to all of his DJM recordings (pre-1976). MCA now controlled his post-DJM recordings, including his later work on Geffen Records which had been taken over by MCA. Geffen's Greatest Hits Volume III was deleted and replaced with Greatest Hits 1976–1986, which also contained "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" from the original version of Greatest Hits – Volume 2. On the new edition, those two songs were replaced with two singles not on the original version, 1971's "Tiny Dancer" and 1975's "I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)". Meanwhile, since the current edition of Greatest Hits Volume One now included "Bennie and the Jets" worldwide, Volume 2 now included "Levon" worldwide.

In the US, it was certified gold in September 1977, platinum in November 1977, 3× platinum in March 1993, 4× platinum in September 1995, and 5× platinum in August 1998 by the RIAA.

All of these versions contain "The Bitch Is Back", "Someone Saved My Life Tonight", "Philadelphia Freedom", "Island Girl", "Grow Some Funk of Your Own" and John's covers of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Pinball Wizard".

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [1]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[2]
Tom Hull – on the WebB+ (  )[3]

Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote:

"The two previously-unavailable-on-LP originals here are peaks, but the two covers are dippy. Plus the lead cut from Caribou and two hits from Rock of the Westies and leftovers from 1971 and 1976 and the climax of Captain Fantastic. Is this product necessary? Depends on who's doing the needing."[2]

Track listingEdit

Original North American versionEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)AlbumLength
1."The Bitch Is Back" (fades out early)Elton John/Bernie TaupinCaribou (1974)3:39
2."Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"John Lennon/Paul McCartneyNon-album single (1974)5:58
3."Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"John/TaupinBlue Moves (1976)3:43
4."Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (duet with Kiki Dee)John/Taupin
as Ann Orson/Carte Blanche
Non-album single (1976)4:23
5."Someone Saved My Life Tonight"John/TaupinCaptain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975)6:45
6."Philadelphia Freedom"John/TaupinNon-album single (1975)5:20
7."Island Girl"John/TaupinRock of the Westies (1975)3:43
8."Grow Some Funk of Your Own"John/Taupin/Davey JohnstoneRock of the Westies4:16
9."Levon"John/TaupinMadman Across the Water (1971)5:21
10."Pinball Wizard"Pete TownshendTommy soundtrack (1975)5:10

Original international versionEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)AlbumLength
1."The Bitch Is Back" (fades out early)John/TaupinCaribou3:39
2."Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"Lennon/McCartneyNon-album single5:58
3."Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"John/TaupinBlue Moves3:43
4."Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (duet with Kiki Dee)John/Taupin
as Orson/Blanche
Non-album single4:23
5."Someone Saved My Life Tonight"John/TaupinCaptain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy6:45
6."Philadelphia Freedom"John/TaupinNon-album single5:20
7."Island Girl"John/TaupinRock of the Westies3:43
8."Grow Some Funk of Your Own"John/Taupin/JohnstoneRock of the Westies4:16
9."Bennie and the Jets"John/TaupinGoodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)5:10
10."Pinball Wizard"TownshendTommy5:10

1992 Polydor reissueEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)AlbumLength
1."The Bitch Is Back" (fades out early)John/TaupinCaribou3:39
2."Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"Lennon/McCartneyNon-album single5:58
3."Tiny Dancer"John/TaupinMadman Across the Water6:13
4."I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)"John/TaupinRock of the Westies5:28
5."Someone Saved My Life Tonight"John/TaupinCaptain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy6:45
6."Philadelphia Freedom"John/TaupinNon-album single5:20
7."Island Girl"John/TaupinRock of the Westies3:43
8."Grow Some Funk of Your Own"John/Taupin/JohnstoneRock of the Westies4:16
9."Levon"John/TaupinMadman Across the Water5:21
10."Pinball Wizard"TownshendTommy5:10

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Elton John's Greatest Hits Vol II, Allmusic, retrieved 5 January 2012
  2. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: J". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 27 February 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  3. ^ Hull, Tom (22 June 2021). "Music Week". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved 24 June 2021.