Honky Château

Last updated

Honky Château
Elton John - Honky Chateau.jpg
Studio album by
Released19 May 1972
RecordedJanuary 1972
Studio Château d'Hérouville, Hérouville, France; mixed at Trident, London
Genre Rock, pop
Length45:15
Label Uni (US), DJM (UK)
Producer Gus Dudgeon
Elton John chronology
Madman Across the Water
(1971)
Honky Château
(1972)
Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player
(1973)
Singles from Honky Château
  1. "Rocket Man"
    Released: 17 April 1972
  2. "Honky Cat"
    Released: 31 July 1972

Honky Château is the fifth studio album by English musician Elton John. It was released in 1972, and was titled after the 18th century French chateau where it was recorded, Château d'Hérouville. The album reached number one in the US, the first of John's seven consecutive US number one albums. [1]

Contents

Two singles were released worldwide from Honky Château, "Rocket Man" and "Honky Cat". A third single, "Hercules", was prepared for release, but this never materialised. [2] This was the final Elton John album on the Uni label in the US and Canada before MCA consolidated all of its various labels under the MCA brand. This and John's earlier Uni albums were later reissued on MCA Records.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 357 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was revised to number 359 in 2012, and raised to number 251 in a 2020 list. [3] It was certified gold in July 1972 and platinum in October 1995 by the RIAA.

Music

Honky Château was the first in Elton John's streak of chart-topping albums in the US, which culminated with 1975's Rock of the Westies . Writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine described the album as an eclectic collection of "ballads, rockers, blues, country-rock, and soul songs." [4]

It was also the first album to feature John's road band of Dee Murray on bass and Nigel Olsson on drums, along with new member Davey Johnstone on electric and acoustic guitars and other fretted instruments, as the core group of musicians. Previously, the record label insisted that John use them for only one track each on Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across the Water ; the rest of the songs on those two albums were performed by session players. Johnstone had played acoustic guitar, mandolin and sitar on Madman Across the Water, but on Honky Chateau, he would be invited to join permanently as a full-band member and he extended his contributions to electric guitar, banjo, slide guitar and backing vocals.

The opening track "Honky Cat" is a New Orleans funk track reminiscent of Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, and features a four-piece horn section arranged by producer Gus Dudgeon. Also of note is the on-record debut of the backing vocal combination of Johnstone, Murray and Olsson, who first added what would soon become their "trademark" sound to "Rocket Man". The trio's unique approach to arranging their backing vocal tracks would be a fixture on John's singles and albums for the next several years.

In 1995, Dudgeon remastered the album, adding only an uptempo, piano-based, rock and roll version of "Slave", that was originally sidelined in favour of the slower, guitar-based version on the original LP. This alternate version was originally due to be released as the B-Side to the ultimately unreleased "Hercules" single. [2]

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [4]
Christgau's Record Guide A– [5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [6]

Critical appraisal

Critically, Honky Château is regarded as one of John's finest records. Jon Landau of Rolling Stone approved the original LP as "a rich, warm, satisfying album that stands head and shoulders above the morass of current releases". [7] Other reviews were likewise mostly positive.

In a retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic has written that "it plays as the most focused and accomplished set of songs Elton John and Bernie Taupin ever wrote". [8]

Chart success

Honky Château became the first of a string of albums by Elton John to hit No. 1 in the Billboard Charts in the US. In Canada, the album peaked at No. 3 on the RPM 100 Top Albums Chart, reaching this position on 29 July 1972, dropping two places to No. 5, then returning to No. 3 for a further twelve consecutive weeks before falling to No. 9 on 4 November of the same year.

Track listing

All tracks are written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."Honky Cat"5:13
2."Mellow"5:33
3."I Think I'm Going to Kill Myself"3:35
4."Susie (Dramas)"3:25
5."Rocket Man"4:42
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."Salvation"3:59
2."Slave"4:22
3."Amy"4:03
4."Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters"5:01
5."Hercules"5:21
Total length:45:15
Bonus tracks (1995 Mercury and 1996 Rocket reissue)
No.TitleLength
11."Slave" (Alternate version)2:53
Total length:48:08

Personnel

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

Production

Charts

Related Research Articles

<i>Elton John</i> (album) 1970 studio album by Elton John

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 studio album in the United States; many people there assumed it was his first studio album, as Empty Sky was not released in that country until 1975.

<i>Tumbleweed Connection</i> 1970 studio album by Elton John

Tumbleweed Connection is the third studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John. It was recorded at Trident Studios, London, England in March 1970, and released in October 1970 in the United Kingdom and January 1971 in the United States. It is a concept album based on country and western/Americana themes. All songs are written by John and Bernie Taupin, with the exception of "Love Song" by Lesley Duncan.

<i>Madman Across the Water</i> 1971 album by Elton John

Madman Across the Water is the fourth studio album by Elton John, released in 1971 through DJM and Uni Records. The album was his third album to be released in 1971, at which point John had been rising to prominence as a popular music artist. The album contains nine tracks, each composed and performed by John and with lyrics written by songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.

<i>Dont Shoot Me Im Only the Piano Player</i> 1973 album by Elton John

Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player is the sixth studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John. Released in January 1973 by DJM Records, it was John's sixth normal studio album release, first of his two studio albums released in 1973, and was his second straight No. 1 album in the US and first No. 1 album in the UK.

<i>Goodbye Yellow Brick Road</i> 1973 album by Elton John

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is the seventh studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John, first released in 1973 as a double LP. The album has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and is widely regarded as John's magnum opus. Among the 17 tracks, the album contains the hits "Candle in the Wind", US number-one single "Bennie and the Jets", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" plus live favourites "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" and "Harmony".

<i>Caribou</i> (album) 1974 studio album by Elton John

Caribou is the eighth studio album by English singer Elton John, released in 1974. It was his fourth chart-topping album in the United States and his third in the United Kingdom. The album contains the singles "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", which reached number 16 in the UK Singles Chart and number two in the US, and "The Bitch Is Back", which reached number 15 in the UK and number four in the US. Both singles reached number one in Canada on the RPM 100 national Top Singles Chart, as did the album itself.

<i>Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy</i> 1975 studio album by Elton John

Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is the ninth studio album by Elton John. The album is an autobiographical account of the early musical careers of Elton John and his long-term lyricist Bernie Taupin. It was released in May 1975 by MCA in America and DJM in the UK and was an instant commercial success.

<i>Rock of the Westies</i> 1975 studio album by Elton John

Rock of the Westies is the tenth studio album by English musician Elton John, released on 4 October 1975. The title is a spoonerism play on the phrase "West of the Rockies", the album having been recorded at Caribou Ranch in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

<i>Here and There</i> (Elton John album) 1976 live album by Elton John

Here and There, released in 1976, is a live album by British singer-songwriter Elton John; it is his fourteenth official album release. The title refers to the two concerts represented on the album: "Here" is a concert recorded at the Royal Festival Hall in London during the summer of 1974; "There" is a concert recorded at New York City's Madison Square Garden on 28 November 1974.

<i>Blue Moves</i> 1976 studio album by Elton John

Blue Moves is the eleventh studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John. It was released in October 1976. It was John's second double album and the first to be released by his own label, Rocket Records Ltd. The album reached number 3 in the US charts, ending a long streak of chart-topping albums for John that began with Honky Château in 1972.

<i>A Single Man</i> (album) 1978 album by Elton John

A Single Man is the twelfth studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John. Released in 1978, it is the first album where Gary Osborne replaced Bernie Taupin as lyricist. It is also the first of two Elton John albums to not have any tracks co-written by Bernie Taupin on the original cut.

Candle in the Wind 1974 single by Elton John

"Candle in the Wind" is a threnody with music and lyrics by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. It was originally written in 1973, in honor of Marilyn Monroe, who had died 11 years earlier. In 1997, John performed a rewritten version of the song, "Candle in the Wind 1997", as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales.

Nigel Olsson Musical artist

Nigel Olsson is an English rock drummer and singer best known for his long-time affiliation with Elton John.

<i>Too Low for Zero</i> 1983 studio album by Elton John

Too Low for Zero is the seventeenth studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John. Released in 1983, the album marked a comeback for John, whose previous four albums had failed to yield many enduring international hit singles, and had disappointing sales compared to his string of hit records released during the first half of the 1970s.

<i>Ice on Fire</i> 1985 studio album by Elton John

Ice on Fire is the nineteenth studio album by Elton John. Recorded at Sol Studios and released in November 1985, it was his first album since Blue Moves produced by his original long-time producer, Gus Dudgeon. David Paton and Charlie Morgan appear for the first time on bass and drums respectively, replacing original band members Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson. Fred Mandel, who had played with John during the Breaking Hearts tour, also contributed guitar and keyboards. George Michael, then of Wham!, appears on two tracks on the album: "Nikita" and "Wrap Her Up". Other notable guests include Nik Kershaw, Sister Sledge, Pino Palladino, Mel Gaynor and Millie Jackson, who duetted with John on "Act of War". Roger Taylor and John Deacon of Queen play drums and bass guitar on "Too Young".

<i>Reg Strikes Back</i> 1988 studio album by Elton John

Reg Strikes Back is the 21st studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John. Released in 1988, it was his self-proclaimed comeback album, and his own way of fighting back against bad press. The "Reg" in Reg Strikes Back refers to John's birth name, Reginald Kenneth Dwight.

Davey Johnstone Musical artist

David William Logan "Davey" Johnstone is a rock guitarist and vocalist, best known for his long-time collaboration with Elton John.

Crocodile Rock 1972 single by Elton John

"Crocodile Rock" is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and recorded in summer 1972 at the Château d'Hérouville studio in France, where John and his team had previously recorded the Honky Château album. It was released on 27 October 1972 in the UK and 20 November 1972 in the U.S., as a pre-release single from his forthcoming 1973 album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, and became his first U.S. number-one single, reaching the top spot on 3 February 1973, and staying there for three weeks. In the U.S., it was certified Gold on 5 February 1973 and Platinum on 13 September 1995 by the RIAA.

Dee Murray Musical artist

Dee Murray was an English bass guitarist, best known as a member of the Elton John Band.

<i>17-11-70</i> 1971 live album by Elton John

17-11-70 is the fifth official album release for Elton John and his first live album.

References

  1. "Elton John Biography: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame". Rock Hall. Retrieved 3 December 2014
  2. 1 2 John, Elton (1992). Rare Masters (Audio CD sleevenotes). Rocket Records.
  3. "Honky Chateau ranked 251st greatest album by Rolling Stone magazine". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  4. 1 2 "Honky Château". Allmusic . Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  5. 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.
  6. "Elton John: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  7. Archived 19 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. https://www.allmusic.com/album/r1040357
  9. 1 2 Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 . St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN   0-646-11917-6.
  10. Library and Archives Canada. Archived 12 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 29 October 2011
  11. "dutchcharts.nl Elton John – Honky Château" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts . Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  12. Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN   4-87131-077-9.
  13. "norwegiancharts.com Elton John – Honky Château". Hung Medien. VG-lista. Archived from the original (ASP) on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  14. Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN   84-8048-639-2.
  15. "The Official Charts Company – Elton John – Honky Château" (PHP). UK Albums Chart . Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  16. "allmusic ((( Honky Château > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  17. "Album Search: Elton John – Honky Château" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 29 October 2011.[ dead link ]
  18. "Top Pop Albums of 1972". billboard.biz. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  19. "Top Pop Albums of 1973". billboard.biz. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  20. "American album certifications – Elton John – Honky Chateau". Recording Industry Association of America.