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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


the friends soundtrack is amazingly beautiful and haunting. it also shows off the unequalled talents of paul buckmaster, elton's great orchestrator. because it's called 'rare masters' a lot of people will miss out on these classic songs. oh, well. at least WE know.

great, but beware!!! (read below)

Well, this is a collection of rare songs by EJ. This was meant to replace the To Be Continued boxed set, but To Be Continued was always more popular. Rare Masters was discontinued when EJ's albums were remastered and nearly every song on here has ended up as a bonus track that you get free by downloading EJ's other albums from the 70s. The only exception is the Friends (an early 70s movie, not the hit sitcom) Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, appearing here as tracks 10-19. (It used to be its own album). Friends, Michelle's Song, Can I Put You On, and Honey Roll are worth downloading. The rest of Friends is soundtrack filler. Again, many of these rare songs are well worth having, but they're available as bonus tracks on some of the best albums ever released---so go download those instead!


The friends soundtrack is a pure gem. And "I meant to do my work today" is just magic. Good movie too!


Born: March 25, 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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