Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - 30th Anniversary Edition

Published: Thursday, January 29, 2004 at 4:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 29, 2004 at 4:46 p.m.

Every singer, artist or band has a single masterpiece in which all of their other works are compared. The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody are just a few examples. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was Elton John's one album that continually stands out above his other output.

Universal Records went all out on this 30th anniversary release of the album. The songs have been remixed and remastered for CD, SA-CD stereo and SA-CD multi-channel from using the original analog tapes. The end result is candy to the ears.

The last remastering of this album during the mid-90's was a great mix, but after hearing this new mix, the ears can hear the dullness of the older one. This is evident from the beginning of the album with the opening track Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding. The creepy organ and wind sound effect never sounded better. As the opening track grows in orchestration it's as if it is coming to life.

When hearing this on SA-CD stereo the sound becomes warmer and brighter, yet not too bright. You might as well be sitting with Elton in the studio watching and listening to him perform.

The surround sound mix is one of the best I have heard to date. It's aggressive, yet rightfully so. This album is so full of sounds and instrumentation that it has been screaming to break beyond two speakers for 30 years. Most of the lead vocals come from the front center speaker, and a lot of the background vocals can be heard from the rear. Occasionally, lead vocals could be heard from the rear as well, but it works.

The sound quality only enhances the amazing album that this is. Each song is a story, a fairytale. There is the title track about a boy who just wants to go back to his simple life. Sweet Painted Lady is a cute little song about sailors returning to a town to find some fun at a whorehouse.

This album also spawned a few hits with Candle in the Wind, Bennie and the Jets and the heavy rocker Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting.

Apart from the 17 original tracks on the album, there are four bonus tracks. One includes an acoustic mix of Candle in the Wind. This mix alone might be worth it for Elton fans to purchase this new release. This version of the song might even be better than the original mix.

If you're a new Elton fan, this album is without question the best place to start. If you've been a fan of his for sometime now, what are you waiting for? Trade, sell, or give away your old version of the album.

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