DELUXE EDITION DREAMLAND: Elton John – Madman Across The Water

In 2008, Universal Music reissued both of Elton John’s 1970 albums (‘Elton John’ and ‘Tumbleweed Connection’) as part of their ongoing Deluxe Edition series. These classic albums joined an excellent 2CD edition of ‘Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy’ and a long-out of print double disc Super Audio CD of the much loved ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, giving hope for future reissues.

A decade later, the only further reissue to hit the shelves was a multi-disc box set version of ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, reprising the earlier material and expanding it with two some excellent live material, some pointless – and unwelcome – modern day covers by other artists and a DVD.

Elton has only ever looked forward and embraced new projects, which has left other potentially worthy deluxe sets – including ‘The Fox’ – unlikely to appear.

Fans finally received some consolation in November 2020 when, as a result of a pandemic lockdown, Mr. John went through his extensive archive and compiled ‘Jewel Box’, a beautifully put together eight disc set that offered five discs’ worth of previously unreleased and rare material. As fantastic as that may be, Captain, fans remain particularly disappointed that 1971’s ‘Madman Across The Water’ has never been afforded a decent deluxe edition, especially since the remastered ‘Classic Years’ CD was bereft of any bonus tracks. Surely a double disc set featuring the album and a UK CD release of the ‘Friends’ soundtrack from the same year would be a more than obvious contender for the deluxe market?

The answer is, obviously, a resounding yes, but the potential for a deluxe Madman runs even deeper than that. There is actually enough extra material to reissue the album in a five disc configuration to rival 2014’s 40th Annivsary ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ box set…only better.

Below, we take a closer look at what such a box set could – and should – include. However, between Elton’s often unwillingness to look back and repackage, along the visual material needing the BBC to allow access to their archives, the fans will be left to dream…

Disc 1: ‘Madman Across The Water’ + bonus audio

Tiny Dancer
Levon
Razor Face
Madman Across The Water
Indian Sunset
Holiday Inn
Rotten Peaches
All The Nasties
Goodbye
Rock Me When He’s Gone
Razor Face (unedited 6:42 version)
Holiday Inn (piano demo)
All The Nasties (piano demo)
Razor Face (piano demo)
Madman Across The Water (piano demo)

Disc 2: The ‘Friends’ soundtrack, recorded with Paul Buckmaster
[Eventually released as part of the ‘Rare Masters’ compilation, this soundtrack has never had a stand alone CD release.]

Friends
Michelle’s Song
Seasons
Variation on Michelle’s Song (A Day In The Country)
Can I Put You On
Honey Roll
Variation on Friends
I Meant To Do My Work Today
Four Moods
Seasons Reprise

Discs 3 & 4
Live at Tokyo Koseinenkin Hall, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan on October 11, 1971.
[Recorded on the sixth date of the ‘Madman’ tour, this recording – possibly recorded for a later radio broadcast – exists in perfect quality, yet has never had an official release]

It’s Me That You Need
Your Song
Rock Me When He’s Gone
Come Down In Time
Skyline Pigeon
Indian Sunset
Ballad Of A Well Known Gun
Friends
The King Must Die
Holiday Inn
Can I Put You On
Country Comfort
Honky Tonk Woman (partial)
Border Song
Madman Across The Water
Amoreena
Take Me To The Pilot
My Baby Left Me
Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

Disc 5: DVD

1: Sounds For A Saturday: Live At The BBC
Tiny Dancer
Rotten Peaches
Razor Face
Holiday Inn
Indian Sunset
Levon
Madman Across The Water
Goodbye

2: Old Grey Whistle Test 1971
Tiny Dancer
All The Nasties

3: Elton John & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Festival Hall, 5 February 1972
Your Song
Take Me To The Pilot
The Greatest Discovery
Tiny Dancer
Sixty Years On
The King Must Die
Indian Sunset
Border Song
Madman Across the Water
Burn Down The Mission
Goodbye

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