The Best Song From Every Elton John Album
Elton John has released more than 30 studio albums over the course of his career. By conservative estimation, at least 10 of those are stone-cold classics, 10 more are solid ground-rule doubles with hit singles and a few quality deep cuts. And the rest? Well, cocaine is a hell of a drug.
Yet even on the worst of those, one can find gems, as you'll see on our list of the Best Song From Every Elton John Album below.
You can neatly divide John’s output into a few distinct periods. From 1970 to 1975, he was untouchable on the charts and nearly unimpeachable as an artistic force. It’s not all wine and roses, as he’d be the first to admit; there are some songs that are forgettable and the occasional clunker. But it remains an astounding series of creative achievements, one after the other, sometimes with less than a year between them.
Some fans chart his decline at his first album without Bernie Taupin, 1978's A Single Man; others might date it back to 1975’s Rock of the Westies. However you measure, the late '70s and '80s are a dry spell for quality John albums.
With 1991’s The One, he entered into an elder-statesman phase of his recording career, even if his live shows proved him to be far from elder or statesman-like with their energy and intensity. Though there were some questionable production decisions in the '90s, by the '00s John and Taupin could be relied upon to release a sturdy long-player of piano-driven pop rock every few years.
After decades of personal turmoil and drug abuse, John settled into his skin as a proudly gay man, found a life partner and adopted two kids — while he didn’t start recording love songs and songs about his kids exclusively, his new lifestyle seems to have stabilized his musical output.
If you’ve been looking for the right entry point to some of John’s albums, or just an excuse to create a monstrous playlist on Spotify, we’ve run down the best song on each of those albums. We've restricted our list to only his studio output, so live records like 11-17-70, as well as soundtracks (The Lion King) and Broadway (Billy Elliot) are not included. Check it all out below.