Elton John: Wonderful Crazy Night

Sir Captain Fantastic wings in for album No.32.

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Reanimated by 2010’s The Union, his fine collaborative effort with Leon Russell, Elton John declared he was only interested in making honest and personal records from now on. Follow-up The Diving Board (2013) was certainly a striking return to the piano-centric economy of his early days.

Wonderful Crazy Night finds him forging another link to the past by reuniting core members of his classic band from the 70s – namely guitarist Davey Johnstone, drummer Nigel Olsson and percussionist Ray Cooper – on a set of songs whose freshness reflects the spontaneous manner in which they were recorded.

Having overseen those previous two albums, producer T Bone Burnett is back too, John transmuting the words of Bernie Taupin into lusty R&B, Memphis soul and a little southern blues. The terrific In The Name Of You and Claw Hammer both smoulder as much as rock; Guilty Pleasure is an ebullient bout of hairy pop‘n’roll. Elton’s late-period purple patch continues.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.