Elton and Bernie's partnership was less than a decade old in 1975, but they were already looking back at their pre-fame days of struggle with a powerful sense of nostalgia. Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy was recorded during the peak of Elton's fame, but he wanted to make a concept record about that early period. Much to their label's chagrin, they made virtually no effort to write radio-friendly songs, though the lone single "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" did become a hit.
The album takes the listener on a journey to late-1960s England, when a struggling piano player met an equally struggling songwriter. They were cold, hungry and occasionally even suicidal but, in the end, they discovered that their love for each other and their music would be their salvation. "We wrote it and I played it," Elton sings on "We All Fall in Love Sometimes." "Something happened/ It's so strange, this feeling."