Written By Maxx Principale

Elton John’s Honky Château displays signs of his inspirations of rock and country through his tone of closeted femininity (Honky Cat) and gifted piano playing. Elton’s arrangement of instruments is completely different from anyone else’s. He uses the piano as a lead guitar, the guitar as a background melody with various licks, and this album was one of the first to point at how important the bass is. Notably in songs (Mellow, Salvation, Slave, Amy, Susie). A song that is different and completely personable for the era would be ‘I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself’ as it describes teenage depression and anger towards the smallest things. Elton personified his femininely animated blues shuffle through 8 out of 11 songs in the album, most direct in Hercules, Honky Tonk, and I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself. From these songs you can slightly pick up on singing similar to Queen’s lead singer. Elton shows his country in Susie, but more notably leads and melodies at the same time in Amy, Susie, and Mellow which is remarkable considering no one else was doing this at the time. Finally, Elton slows things down on Rocket Man and ‘Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters’. Rocket Man feels like an extended version to Tiny Dancer. With background singers harmonizing in a 60’s manner. While Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters has lyrics that remind me of Jim Croce’s hatred for New York and a piano progression that reminds me of a guitar progression from Cat Stevens ‘Mona Bone Jakon’. Again, another time where Elton uses his piano as a lead guitar, but in this case as an acoustic. Throughout this album, mainly on the softer songs, Elton uses multiple guitars with violins in an orchestra manner in the background like Holiday Inn while on the country songs it reminds me of Tumbleweed Connection. Elton is genuinely unique and is only inspired by himself or a vastly general genre.

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