Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Elton John Albums - Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Elton John Albums

Your picks include ‘Madman Across the Water,’ ’17-11-70′ and ‘Too Low For Zero’

Weekend Rock Elton John

Robert Knight Archive/Redferns

Picking Elton John's single greatest album is no easy task. The man worked like a maniac in the early 1970s, releasing 10 albums between 1970 and 1976. Those were his golden years, but he kept going and managed more than a few true creative comebacks in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. With the release of his new LP The Diving Board coming up, we asked our readers to vote for their favorite Elton John album. Click through to see the results.


Madman Across the Water Elton John

Courtesy of Polydor Records

2. ‘Madman Across the Water’

Elton and Bernie don't get enough credit for writing truly weird songs. The title track of Madman Across the Water is a quasi-prog-rock song written from the perspective of a psychopath in an asylum. "Levon" is one of their best sing-along songs, but what does it mean? We've listened to it 10,000 times and still couldn't tell you. And who is this Razor Face character? None of this really matters, though. Madman Across the Water has some of Elton's most enduring works, including "Tiny Dancer," a song that seems to become more beloved with each passing decade. It's impossible to listen to it without smiling. "Indian Sunset" seems like the greatest song that Neil Young never wrote, and "Holiday Inn" makes the discount hotel chain seem like a paradise. 

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Elton John

Courtesy of Mercury Records

1. ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road almost seems like a greatest-hits album. This 1973 double LP has "Candle in the Wind," "Bennie and the Jets," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." This was Elton at the peak of his popularity, when every kid on your street (and their parents) absolutely adored him. But even at his most commercial, he still released songs like "All the Girls Love Alice," the crazy tale of a dead 16-year-old lesbian prostitute with "a simple case of Momma-doesn't-love-me blues." The album kicks off with "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding," a song so prog-tastic that even Dream Theater covers it. The album is all over the place style-wise, but every bit of it works. It hit shelves just three years after "Your Song" hit radio, but this was still the apex of Elton-mania. He's been a superstar for nearly 45 years, but this was the peak. 

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