Monday, January 10, 2011

Elton John - "Sugar On Floor"

Elton John's 1975 album Rock Of The Westies was, for many, the final glimmer of hope before his career began fading from its early 70's greatness. The album not only featured a completely new band from his earlier efforts, but also a complete change in sound. The thoughtful balladry and on-the-sleeve melodics of the earlier records were replaced by a much harder rocking sound. While John's songwriting is still firmly in tact on the record, there's no question that most of his auditory aesthetic was completely replaced for the new endeavor.

However, at this same time John had signed a new act to his label imprint, Rocket Records: Kiki Dee. Notably, John wrote a duet that spawned a hit and made Dee a household name, with "Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Apparently enthused to propel Dee to Stardom, Elton produced her record, and continued to write material for the singer. One of those songs was "Sugar On The Floor".

Ostensibly a demo, the recording is pure early-70's Elton John: outstanding piano, minimalist instrumentation, and enough vocal melody to knock you over. What's more, it's loaded with that unique brand of earnestness and angst that John manages to leverage without sounding pitiful. With occasional vocal nods to Ray Charles, a killer slide guitar line, and falsetto that will break your heart, its one of the last recordings to really represent the things that brought Elton John to fame and fortune.

Oh, and Kiki Dee? Yes, she recorded her own version, but in our opinion it's not really worth your time. You're much better checking out the original, below.

mp3: Elton John - Sugar On The Floor