Forgotten Music: Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John
One album that does not get the recognition it deserves is Elton John’s Album ‘Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy’.
I know Elton John is not unheard of. In fact he is the fifth highest selling musical artists off all time. So why is it that we only know Tiny Dancer, Crocodile Rock, Your Song (thanks to Ellie Goulding) and The Lion King?
Sir Elton has been a pioneer of many different genres, all while maintaining a grounding in a rock n’ roll/country combo. The album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has somehow survived being eclipsed, with songs such as ‘Candle in the Wind’, ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’, ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ and ‘Harmony’ living on.
However, his, and his lyricist Bernie Taupin’s, autobiographical 1975 concept album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is, in my opinion, much better, yet much less well-known. It is about the struggles Elton John and Bernie Taupin encountered in their journey to success in the music industry, playing on Elton’s flamboyant glam image (Captain Fantastic) and Taupin’s life-long dream to be a cowboy (the Brown Dirt Cowboy). I actually struggle to choose a worst song, and if I had to, it would only be because it is less good than the others.
The song ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’ is my personal favourite song on the album, and was the only single to be released from the album, peaking at a mere number 4 in America and 22nd in the UK!
Other songs such as (Gotta Get a) Meal Ticket and Tower of Babel are pure excellence and the song Writing is a piece of lyrical genius, starting with “is there anything left, maybe steak and eggs, waking up to washing up, making up your bed” with the music perfectly moulding on top of this.
So give it a listen, and when you have a new favourite album, you’re welcome.