Skip to main content

Elton John’s trippy 1968 Beatles rip-off makes us want a full psych-rock album from the Rocket Man

Elton John
(Image credit: UMC/EMI)

There’s a huge new Elton John box set coming in November, featuring previously unreleased tracks, early B-sides and a deep cuts chosen by the man himself. Featuring 60 previously unreleased tracks from 1967 - 1969, the years in which John’s songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin, Jewel Box promises to be a fascinating listen.

John has just released a taster of the set, in the form of the psychedelic Regimental Sgt. Zippo. The title track of an unreleased debut album, recorded and produced in May 1968 at the DJM studios, the same building that housed the Beatles' publishing company, Northern Songs, the song is described as “an affectionate nod to Sgt Pepper and the era.”

The ultimate exploration into Elton John's extensive back catalogue, Jewel Box features a number of rarities, and deep cuts discussed in John’s acclaimed 2019 memoir, Me. The eight discs come in a hardcover book, enclosed in an outer slipcase. Each section contains extensive notes and, for Deep Cuts, there is track-by-track commentary by the singer.

Elton says: ‘To delve back through every period of my career in such detail for Jewel Box has been an absolute pleasure. Hearing these long lost tracks again, I find it hard to comprehend just how prolific Bernie Taupin and I were during the early days. 

“The songs just poured out of us and the band were just unbelievable in the studio. I always want to push forward with everything I do and look to the future, but having time during lockdown to take stock and pull these moments from my memory from each era has been a joy. 

“As a devout record collector myself, this project has really excited me and I couldn’t be happier with the level of craft involved in such a carefully curated, lovingly constructed box set. I’m sure my fans will enjoy it as much as I have.”

Jewel Box is released via UMC/EMI on November 13.

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.