By 1990, Elton John had had more success in his 20 - year career than anybody could ever have expected. So it was no surprise thta the boxed set "To Be Continued" was released. It contained four discs filled with big hits, rarities and four new studio tracks made to entice hardcore fans (which still doesn't make them bad). The results were great, to say the least.
Disc 1 contains mostly rarities and album tracks along with a few hits singles. The rarest track here, a song Elton recorded in 1965 while he was a member of Bluesology. He also wrote the song, and despite his own criticism, his lyrics aren't that bad (I'm beginning write my own songs, and you should see how bad mine are), but the melody is better (and proof that Elton can write music in his sleep). There are more rarities here: "Lady Samantha", "It's Me That You Need", the demo of "Your Song", the first version of "Your Song", "Friends", "Bad Side Of The Moon" and "Rock And Roll Madonna". The album tracks here are also very good: "Border Song" (actually a single), "Take Me To The Pilot", "Sixty Years On", "Country Comfort" (surprisingly, the only representatice of "Tumbleweed Collection" here), and "Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters". As for the hits, they're the usual: "Your Song", "Levon", "Tiny Dancer", "Rocket Man" and "Honky Cat". Despite the fact we've heard these songs thousands of times, they're still great. I did find it a little bothersome that "Burn Down The Mission" wasn't included.
Disc 2 and the first part of disc 3 contain all of Elton's biggest 1970s' hits: "Crocodile Rock", "Daniel", "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", "Bennie And The Jets", "The Bitch Is Back", "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", "Philadelphia Freedom", "Someone Saved My Life Tonight", "Island Girl", "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (with Kiki Dee) and "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word". Disc 2 also contains some excellent rarities like the piano version of "Skyline Pigeon", "Jack Rabbit", and the seasonal "Step Into Christmas". Two essential songs are missing, though: the studio versions of "Candle In The Wind" and "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me".
The second half of disc 3 contains Elton's most obscure works, such as "Ego", a bonechilling live version of "I Feel Like A Bullet (In The Gun Of Robert Ford)", "Song For Guy", "Donner Pour Donner" (with France Gall) and "Chloe" are great songs yet to be discovered. Also, a few big late 1970s' and early 1980s' hits are included: the soulful "Mama Can't Buy You Love" (this song, a collaboration with "Philly soul" producer Thom Bell, was a surprise top 10 hit in August, 1979, peaking at number 9), the whimsical and wondeful "Little Jeannie" and the lush "Blue Eyes".
Disc 4 begins with the haunting John Lennon tribute "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)". This disc documents his 1980s' comeback, when he scored a huge string of classic hits: "I'm Still Standing", "I Guess That's Why Call It The Blues", "Sad Songs (Say So Much)", "Nikita", a chilling live version of "Candle In The Wind" and "I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That" (represented in a exhillerating 12" dance remix). As usual, there are great rarities here: a novelty version of "Give Peace A Chance", "Act Of War" (with Millie Jackson) and a pretty live version of "Carla Etude".
The bonus tracks are an excellent touch. "Made For Me" is a great rocker sing with gusto by Elton. "You Gotta Love Someone" is an uplifting gospel number used in the movie "Days Of Thunder". The chorus at the end is thrilling. "I Swear I Heard The Night Talkin'" is good if not all that memorable". The closer (of the disc and the set) is the best of the four. "Easier To Walk Away" is a soulful, Motown - style number with a great beat and equaly soulful vocals.
There are few complaints I must make about this set. First, there are several albums tracks I would have liked to have seen included: the previously mentioned "Burn Down The Mission", "Where To Now, St. Peter", "Amoreena", "Talking Old Soldiers", "This Song Has No Title", the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" version of Grey Seal", "Solar Prestige A Gammon", "Cage The Songbird", "White Lady, White Powder", "Hoop Of Fire", "Paris", "I Fall Apart", "Amazes Me" and "Blue Avenue". And as one reviewer, several lesser singles are missing. They are:
"Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" (studio version) (number 2)
"Grow Some Funk Of Your Own" (number 14)
"Bite Your Lip (Get Up And Dance)" (number 28)
"Part Time Love" (number 22)
"Vicitm Of Love" (not needed since it's the title track to his disco album) (number 31)
"Sartorial Eloquence (Don't You Wanna Play This Game No More)" (number 39)
"Nobody Wins" (number 21)
"Kiss The Bride" (number 25)
"Who Wears These Shoes" (number 16)
"In Neon" (number 38)
"Wrap Her Up" (number 20)
"Heartache All Over The World" (not needed since it's from "Leather Jackets") (number 55)
"Flames Of Paradise" (with Jennifer Rush) (number 36)
"I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That" (studio version, thogh dance version should still be kept) (number 2)
"A Word In Spanish" (number 19)
"Through The Storm" (with Aretha Franklin) (number 16)
"Healing Hands" (number 13)
"Club At The End Of The Street" (number 28)
Still, you can't have everything. Get this boxed set. It's a must - have collection for all music fans. Let's hope another Elton boxed set (maybe a live one) is released soon and spans up to today.