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Rare Masters

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Album Review

At the time Rare Masters was released in 1992, most of the selections on this 37-track double-disc compilation were indeed rare. They were issued on non-LP singles, B-sides, the Friends soundtrack, one-offs; some were buried on album tracks, and some even stayed in the vault. Since then, Elton John's catalog has been remastered and reissued, with much of the best of this material appearing as bonus tracks, but the album still was worthwhile, since it not only has some songs that never appeared elsewhere on disc (such as "Step Into Christmas"' B-side, "(Ho Ho Ho) Who'd Be a Turkey at Christmas"), but it also is a hell of a listen in its own right, showcasing great songs and forgotten gems from John's prime period. There aren't too many hits here, but the quality is startlingly high and consistent, showcasing John and Taupin's partnership at its peak — though they might not have hit the charts, "Bad Side of the Moon," "Rock & Roll Madonna," "Into the Old Man's Shoes," "Whenever You're Ready (We'll Go Steady Again)," "Screw You (Young Man's Blues)," and the radio staple "Madman Across the Water," plus "Grey Seal" (later re-recorded for Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) are among the finest songs of the era, and they're the linchpins on a rarities collection, not a proper album. It doesn't quite keep that same high level throughout, largely due to the pleasant but forgettable instrumentals from Friends, but it's still an essential part of any Elton John collection.

Customer Reviews

Wonderful oldies

A great album that includes some wonderful B-sides (I doubt young people know what they are). Modest production values but just solid well written songs from Elton's early work.

Well worth a listen.

Hidden gems

Like many archive trawling albums, this is just about unlistenable as a complete album, but Elton John fans will know the better songs hidden away on this.
A handful of songs from the soundtrack to the film Friends are from the peak of Elton and Bernie’s long songwriting career. Michelle’s Song and Friends wouldn’t be out of place on a best of. Seasons Reprise, Honey Roll, and Can I put you on are also worth downloading and a few of the b-sides such as Bad side of the Moon are also good.
Unfortunately the collection also highlights the duo at there worst, rare doesn’t mean the same as good, and there are some awful songs on this too, so I suggest just downloading the good ones.

Biography

Born: 25 March 1947 in Pinner, Middlesex, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In terms of sales and lasting popularity, Elton John was the biggest pop superstar of the early '70s. Initially marketed as a singer/songwriter, John soon revealed he could craft Beatlesque pop and pound out rockers with equal aplomb. He could dip into soul, disco, and country, as well as classic pop balladry and even progressive rock. His versatility, combined with his effortless melodic skills, dynamic charisma, and flamboyant stage shows, made him the most popular recording artist of the '70s....
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