Elton John ‎– Caribou

Label:
MCA Records ‎– MCA-2116
Format:
Vinyl, LP, Album
Country:
Released:
Genre:
Style:
 

Tracklist

A1 The Bitch Is Back 3:42
A2 Pinky 3:53
A3 Grimsby 3:47
A4 Dixie Lily 2:48
A5 Solar Prestige A Gammon 2:50
A6 You're So Static 4:49
B1 I've Seen The Saucers 4:45
B2 Stinker 5:16
B3 Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me 5:33
B4 Ticking 7:34

Companies, etc.

Credits

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Side 1 Etched, variant 1): BBB-MCA 500-W12
  • Matrix / Runout (Side 2 Etched, variant 1): BBB-MCA 501-W11
  • Matrix / Runout (Side 1 Etched, variant 2): BBB-MCA 500-W12. SX A 2
  • Matrix / Runout (Side 2 Etched, variant 2): BBB-MCA 501-W12. SX A I

Other Versions (5 of 96) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
DJLPH 439, DJLPH.439 Elton John Caribou(LP, Album) DJM Records (2), DJM Records (2) DJLPH 439, DJLPH.439 UK 1974 Sell This Version
I2 28158 Elton John Caribou(CD, Album, Club, RE, RM) The Rocket Record Company Ltd. I2 28158 US 1995 Sell This Version
MCAD-31189 Elton John Caribou(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records MCAD-31189 US Unknown Sell This Version
5738310 Elton John Caribou(LP, Album, RE, RM, 180) Mercury, UMC 5738310 Europe 2017 Sell This Version
MCA 37065 Elton John Caribou(LP, Album, RE, Glo) MCA Records MCA 37065 US 1980 Sell This Version

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streetmouse

streetmouse

January 2, 2018
edited 5 months ago

Perhaps the best place to being with Elton John’s album Caribou is with the cover art, where we find everything that was wrong in the 70’s embodied and exhibited in the image of Elton, where he’s superimposed in front of a painting by the amazing Maxfield Parrish, a painter and illustrator who had a revival of sorts in the 1970’s, whose work comes alive from within, and contains a comfortable warmth, something that the music on this album did not.

Despite the two major hits from this release, “The Bitch Is Back” and “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” there’s not much to say as Elton follows the yellow brick road into a world that shouts total excess and gayness … and is the last album we’d see Elton on without a hat until 1992 when eventually the hair transplants took. To say this album was recorded quickly would be an understatement, where in but nine days, it was recorded and put to bed before the band headed off for a tour of Japan, with producer Gus Dudgeon calling the album “ … a piece of crap,” saying, “The sound was the worst, the songs went nowhere, the lyrics weren’t even on par with good, Elton’s singing wasn’t there, the playing was haphazard, the production was simply lousy, even the sleeve came out all wrong,” and Dudgeon would then go on to add additional backing vocals, overdubs and horns, all while Elton had not only left the building, but the country, where what he’d left for Dudgeon to clean up, is what we were presented with. And to add insult to injury, or perhaps that people during the 1970’s couldn’t tell a real blonde from a fake, the album was on the top 100 shelf for 77 weeks in 1974, and has been certified double platinum.

The album’s only saving grace, and for which I was holding it in my hands during 1974, was because of the Tower of Power horn section, feeling that those folks could make anything smoke, along with the appearance of Carl Wilson (of Beach Boys fame), whose guest appearance wasn’t even laid down in the presence of Elton John, it was a complete afterthought, as was the work by Dusty Springfield.

During the 1970’s there was a ton of money being thrown around in the music business, and yes it was a business, where with this album, Elton John had signed the most lucrative musical contract of all time, a staggering eight million dollars as royalties alone on this and his next five albums, which the man immediately put up his nose, claiming that he could no longer fly over the Swiss Alps without taste of cocaine flashing back on him. People are going to try and tell you that what Bernie Taupin and Elton John assembled here were carefully crafted pop songs, yet all and all, the only thing they created was a fashion statement of bad taste and a lack of concern for their own reputations and giving fans something of value, rather than simply taking all he could get while delivering as little as possible.

There’s not a song on Caribou that doesn’t suffer from a lack of myopic focus, a lack of purpose and context, with the album sounding as if it were conceived with the ambiguity that only drug induced over indulgence can bring. And while this is all not being made up, the album climbed higher and higher in the charts, with writers and critics pushing all of the negativity aside, where they embraced Caribou as a catchy and whole lot of FUN.

So I’ll put it to you this way, once people come face to face with the fact, and know that there’s no one in the driver’s seat, that the waitresses are standing in for the cook, that the stereo’s not only turned on, but turned up to eleven and there’s nothing coming out of the speakers, why in the world would folks have shelled out enough money to have allowed Elton John to sell over two hundred million albums all totaled. “You want the answer?” It’s because dying radio had become listener frieindly, MTV was on the verge of breaking out, and people happily swallowed spoonful after spoonful of what came across the airwaves, regardless of its quality.

Yes, I’m no fan of punk, but my finger is pointing right here and saying Caribou, like it or not, The Bitch spawned punk.

Review by Jenell Kesler