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Elton John | Honky Château [50th Anniversary Edition] (2023)


UMe announces the 50th-anniversary reissue of Elton John’s Honky Château. Available to pre-order now on 2CD, 2LP and limited-edition gold vinyl LP, the album is released on March 24th. “Rocket Man (Live at The Festival Hall, London 1972)” and “Mellow” (Session Demo) are also unveiled as the first instant grats available from Honky Château 50th Anniversary Edition. This live debut of “Rocket Man at the Royal Festival Hall” – recorded two months before its release as the album’s first single – is striking in its freshness and its ability to nearly replicate the studio arrangement on stage. The line-up of Davey Johnstone (guitar), Dee Murray (bass) and Nigel Olsson (drums) immediately established itself as the core of the “classic” Elton band, solidifying Elton’s studio and stage presence through his most prolific period. UMe

Elton John: Honky Château [50th Anniversary Edition]

Honky Château was Elton’s step into global superstardom, spawning classics such as the aforementioned “Rocket Man,” “Honky Cat” and “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.” Originally released in May 1972, his 5th studio album ushered in a to-this-day unparalleled hot streak of classic albums and was the first time he recorded at the now legendary Château d’Hérouville, a residential recording studio situated 25 miles north-west of Paris. It was here where he and Bernie Taupin were to write – and the band subsequently record – some of the biggest global hits of his career. Elton, Bernie and the band – performing together on record for the first time – decamped to the Château for week’s pre-production on Honky Château in January 1972. Bernie brought his typewriter; the band set up in the dining room. Bernie would write lyrics at night and leave them on Elton’s piano for him to work on in the morning.
As Elton recalls of their notoriously prolific output at the time, “The first morning we were there, I had three (songs) done by the time the band drifted downstairs looking for something to eat: ‘Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters,’ ‘Amy’ and ‘Rocket Man.'” The remainder of the album would follow suit; ‘Susie (Dramas),’ ‘Hercules,’ ‘Salvation,’ ‘Honky Cat,’ ‘Slave,’ ‘I Think I’m Going To Kill Myself’ and ‘Mellow.'”
A pivotal album in Elton’s ascent to superstardom, the album’s sepia-tinged cover belies the effortless grooves within of a band who had truly found their feet as a unit. By mid-1972, their live recordings now matched their hallowed live shows, and they effortlessly channeled a soulful sound that effortlessly drew together the deep south of America via Pinner and the Parisian suburbs.
Following the release of Honky Chateau, by June 1972, “Rocket Man” was in the UK pop charts at No 2. In the US, the single reached No 6. Honky Chateau became the first of six consecutive Billboard Hot 100 No 1 albums. It remains a firm fixture in the setlist of this record-breaking Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. “Honky Cat” showcased the extraordinary swagger that was to define all of Elton’s work for the following half-decade. His first up-tempo number to make the US Top 10, the track helped cement Elton’s reputation in America. UMe

Elton John’s 1972 album Honky Château celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, but we’re getting the 50th anniversary edition of the album this year. The CD version includes the original album, plus outtakes from the original session tapes, and eight live recordings from a show Elton and the band did at London’s Royal Festival Hall. It also comes with a 40-page booklet of photos and interviews with those who were there at the time. The two-LP set includes the album, outtakes, and an eight-page booklet of photos and interviews. Honky Château was the first of Elton’s six consecutive Billboard number-one albums. Elton, Bernie Taupin and the band decamped to a residential recording studio in France called Château d’Hérouville to make the album, hence the album’s title. abc AUDIO

Disc 1: Original album / Honky at the Château (Session Demos Part 1)

  • Honky Cat
  • Mellow
  • I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself
  • Susie (Dramas)
  • Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)
  • Salvation
  • Slave
  • Amy
  • Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
  • Hercules
  • Salvation (Session Demo)
  • Susie (Dramas) (Session Demo)
  • Rocket Man (It’s Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time) (Session Demo)
  • Mellow (Session Demo)
  • Slave – Alternate “Fast” Version (Session Demo)

Disc 2: Honky at the Château (Session Demos Part 2) / Live at The Royal Festival Hall, London – 2/5/1972

  • Honky Cat (Session Demo)
  • I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself (Session Demo)
  • Hercules (Session Demo)
  • Slave (Session Demo)
  • Susie (Dramas)
  • Salvation
  • Mellow
  • Amy
  • Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
  • Honky Cat
  • Rocket Man (It’s Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time
  • Hercules

Audio CD:


Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.59 x 4.88 x 0.39 inches; 4.34 Ounces
Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ Mercury
Original Release Date ‏ : ‎ 2023
Label ‏ : ‎ Mercury
Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 2

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