Friday, June 19, 2015

29. Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

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This work is a combination of the front of the original album cover art design and part of the back cover. The brick wall at centre was cut and pasted at left to complete the 18X10 screensaver.
So here we have the artist stepping into the yellow brick road which is actually just a picture while looking back on the outside which has his own picture on the wall.

We read about the Yellow Brick Road in The Wizard of Oz from 1939.
We heard "this boy's too young to be signing the blues" back in 1973.
"Candle in the Wind", originally composed in honour of Marilyn Monroe, was re-written in 1997 as a to tribute Diana, Princess of Wales.

This is the original album cover art design.

No. 80, Entertainment Weekly, 100 Greatest Albums Ever; No. 81, Rate Your Music, The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time; No. 86, The Virgin All-Time Album Top 1000;
No. 91, Rolling Stone, 500 Greatest Albums of All Time; No. 171 Billboard, The 300 Best-Selling Albums of All Time.

Illustration by Ian Beck. Album produced by Gus Dudgeon. MCA (US) DJM (UK) 1973.

In 1973 there was no indication that one day Elton John would become one of the leading Friends of Dorothy, but he unintentionally hinted at the yet-to-be-invented
codeword with the metaphors in the title and on the cover of his album. The album’s title, also the name of the lead single, seems to be at odds with the artwork
on the cover. Both song and cover, take their imagery from The Wizard Of Oz, in which the yellow brick road played as much a central role as any thoroughfare
ever did in the movies. Where the song tells of disillusion at the end of that road, the cover promises the beginning of an escape from reality as Elton steps
into a poster and on to a yellow brick road.

The poster is on a tatty wall, covering a previous poster (the font of which suggests that it might have advertised a music hall), with chimneys in the background
telling of a drab existence, quite at odds with Elton’s flamboyant get-up. The cover was drawn by Ian Beck, who was 26 at the time. Beck has since illustrated
magazines, greeting cards, packaging and a few children’s books. He has also written a few novels. Beck came to LP cover design through John Kosh, whose
credits included the Abbey Road cover.

Beck was given tapes of the songs (which included future classics like Benny And The Jets, Saturday Night Is Alright For Fighting, Candle In The Wind and the
title track), and typed lyrics sheets, and began working on a concept. His friend, fashion illustrator Leslie McKinley Howell, stood in as a model for Elton
John in polaroids which Beck took (hence the long legs) in preparation for his watercolour, pastel, and coloured crayon pencils artwork. The piano on
the front cover and the teddy bear at the back were placed there at the request of Elsie, as Beck only later realised Elton was known to his staff.

(A) Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding - Candle in the Wind - Bennie and the Jets

(B) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - This Song Has No Title - Grey Seal - Jamaica Jerk-Off - I've Seen That Movie Too

(C) Sweet Painted Lady - The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34) - Dirty Little Girl - All the Girls Love Alice

(D) Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll) - Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting - Roy Rogers - Social Disease - Harmony

The Tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales from musicaltranslator1 on YouTube.