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Elton John is the second studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John, released on 10 April 1970 by DJM Records. It was released by Uni Records as John's debut album in the United States; many people there assumed it was his first album, as Empty Sky was not released in that country until 1975. Elton John includes his breakthrough single "Your Song", and helped to establish his career during what was considered the "singer-songwriter" era of popular music. In the US, it was certified gold in February 1971 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In the same year, it was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

Elton John
Elton John - Elton John.jpg
Studio album by
Released10 April 1970 (1970-04-10)
RecordedNovember 1969 - January 1970
StudioTrident Studios
(London, England)
ProducerGus Dudgeon
Elton John chronology
Empty Sky
Elton John
Tumbleweed Connection
Singles from Elton John
  1. "Border Song"
    Released: April 1970
  2. "Your Song" / "Take Me to the Pilot"
    Released: 26 October 1970
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideB[2]
Rolling Stone(not rated)[3]

This was the first of a string of John albums produced by Gus Dudgeon. As Dudgeon recalled in a Mix magazine interview, the album was not actually intended to launch John as an artist, but rather as a collection of polished demos for other artists to consider recording his and co-writer Bernie Taupin's songs.[4]

In 2003, the album was ranked number 468 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. On 27 November 2012, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame as an album cited as exhibiting "qualitative or historical significance".[5]

The song "No Shoe Strings on Louise" was intended (as homage or parody) to sound like a Rolling Stones song.[6][7]

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Side one
1."Your Song"4:02
2."I Need You to Turn To"2:35
3."Take Me to the Pilot"3:47
4."No Shoe Strings on Louise"3:31
5."First Episode at Hienton"4:48
Side two
1."Sixty Years On"4:35
2."Border Song"3:22
3."The Greatest Discovery"4:12
4."The Cage"3:28
5."The King Must Die"5:23

Bonus tracks (1995 Mercury and 1996 Rocket reissue)Edit

11."Bad Side of the Moon"3:15
12."Grey Seal (Original version)"3:35
13."Rock and Roll Madonna"4:17

Bonus tracks (2008 deluxe edition)Edit

Disc one – original album

Disc two

  1. "Your Song" (Piano demo) – 3:35
  2. "I Need You to Turn To" (Piano demo) – 2:12
  3. "Take Me to the Pilot" (Piano demo) – 2:36
  4. "No Shoe Strings on Louise" (Piano demo) – 3:33
  5. "Sixty Years On" (Piano demo) – 4:21
  6. "The Greatest Discovery" (Piano demo) – 3:58
  7. "The Cage" (Piano demo) – 3:21
  8. "The King Must Die" (Piano demo) – 5:24
  9. "Rock and Roll Madonna" (Piano demo) – 3:11
  10. "Thank You Mama" (Piano demo) – 3:20
  11. "All the Way Down to El Paso" (Piano demo) – 2:49
  12. "I'm Going Home" (Piano demo) – 3:05
  13. "Grey Seal" (Piano demo) – 3:19
  14. "Rock And Roll Madonna" (Alternate take) – 2:55
  15. "Bad Side of the Moon" – 3:13
  16. "Grey Seal" (Original version) – 3:36
  17. "Rock and Roll Madonna" – 4:17
  18. "Border Song" (BBC session) – 3:21
  19. "Your Song" (BBC session) – 4:01
  20. "Take Me to the Pilot" (BBC session) – 3:33


  • On the album released in Portugal, a French horn is used in the introduction to "The Greatest Discovery" instead of a cello as is found on all other versions. An extended version of the introduction to "Sixty Years On" is available on the 1990 box set To Be Continued.
  • The original German release from 1970 (Hansa 80807) opens with the song "Rock and Roll Madonna", and the song "I Need You to Turn To" does not appear on the LP. The rest of the tracks and the running order remain the same as the worldwide release.
  • The album was remastered as a multichannel Super Audio CD in 2004.


Song Format
"Bad Side of the Moon" "Border Song" 7" (US)
"Into the Old Man's Shoes" "Your Song" 7" (UK)


Track numbers refer to CD and digital releases of the album.

  • Gus Dudgeon – producer, liner notes
  • Robin Geoffrey Cable – engineer
  • Gus Skinas – editing
  • Darrell Johnson – original mastering
  • Tony Cousins – remastering
  • Ricky Graham – digital transfers
  • Greg Penny – surround sound
  • Steve Brown – production coordinator
  • David Larkham – art direction
  • Stowell Stanford – photography
  • Jim Goff – artwork
  • John Tobler – liner notes


Grammy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1971 Elton John Album of the Year[8] Nominated
Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male[9] Nominated



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[17] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine "Elton John". Allmusic.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ [1] Archived 2 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Clark, By Rick. "Gus Dudgeon, 1942-2002". Mixonline.
  5. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame Award. Retrieved 21 December 2012
  6. ^ J (18 April 2015). "Won't you please excuse my frankness but it's not my cup of tea: Elton John – Elton John (1970)". Archived from the original on 3 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016. The side is rounded off with the 'Rolling Stones country' tinged 'No Shoe Strings on Louise' (even Elton's phrasing is similar to Jagger's at times – "All those city women want to make us poor men and this land's got the worse for the worrying")...
  7. ^ Bernardin, Claude (1995). Rocket Man: Elton John From A – Z. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood/Praeger. p. 186. ISBN 0-275-95698-9. He tried to impersonate Mick Jagger. The song is about loose women.
  8. ^ "GRAMMYs' Best Albums 1970–1979". Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Grammy Awards: Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male". Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  10. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 14, No. 26". RPM. 13 February 1971. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  12. ^ " Elton John – Elton John" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  13. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  14. ^ "Elton John > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 1 May 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  15. ^ "Allmusic: Elton John : Charts & Awards : Billboard Albums". Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  16. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1971" (in Dutch). Archived from the original (ASP) on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Elton John – Elton John". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.