An early-'70s singer-songwriter classic and Elton's first #1! The John/Taupin mojo was workin' on this 1972 smash, producing the Top 10s Rocket Man and Honky Cat plus tender tunes like Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters .
By 1972, Elton John was already a star, although most casual listeners still identified him as part of the singer/songwriter explosion, thanks to the success of "Your Song" and "Levon". Honky Château
changed all that, beginning with the success of "Honky Cat", a rousing New Orleans-ish R & B powerhouse that kicks off this terrific collection of songs. This was the album that first revealed John as a pure-pop craftsman, and he's all over the musical map on this set, moving from country-ish rock to blues-based rockers. But the best things here still might be two gorgeous ballads: "Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters" (displaying the young vocalist at his best) and the hit single "Rocket Man" (which had many rock fans debating which was the better space odyssey of the day--this or Bowie's). And lyricist Bernie Taupin was revealing a new, slightly darker side here with tunes like "I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself". --Bill Holdship