Elton John

Chartbusters Go Pop! 16 Legendary Covers from 1969/70 as Sung by Elton John

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The title is no joke, but dead-on truth in advertising. Circa 1970, John helped pay the rent and gain studio expertise as a session vocalist for British quickie budget exploitation LPs that "re-created" the sound of current hit singles. John takes on such vintage AM mothballs as "In the Summertime," "Up Around the Bend," "My Baby Loves Lovin'," "Yellow River," and "Signed Sealed Delivered" here, along with a few songs that were only hits in the U.K.. These records were never intended to be taken seriously as artistic statements, and one suspects that the studio players were having fun at someone else's expense on "In the Summertime," with farting raspberry noises and ridiculous orgiastic grunts by John during the instrumental break. Most of the time, though, he played it straight, his supple pipes proving to possess the necessary versatile anonymity required of such projects. This reissue, complete with scholarly liner notes, aspires to do nothing more than preserve this footnote in the budding superstar's career, of interest mostly to completists and novelty seekers. As far as unintentionally funny moments go, the highlight has to be John extolling, "To be young, gifted and black, that's where it's at!" on his cover of the Nina Simone classic.

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