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    Elton John’s debut Empty Sky was released in 1969 in the UK, but it took until 1975 for it to see a release in the States (with the alternate cover featured here), after John had already achieved international success. The album marks the beginning of John’s career-long relationship with lyricist Bernie Taupin and reveals the budding potential of their songcraft talents in its strong pop melodies. The songs range from Leonard Cohen-influenced ballads to Stones-like rockers and reflect the era’s psychedelic style in their instrumentation. The enduring “Skyline Pigeon” even features John playing a harpsichord. As it was so early in John’s career, the musicians featured on the album were all friends from other bands: Hookfoot’s Caleb Quaye (guitar) and Roger Pope (drums), The Troggs’ Tony Murray (bass), and Plastic Penny and Spencer Davis Group member Nigel Olsson (drums on “Lady What’s Tomorrow”). Even the producer, Steve Brown, was John’s friend. Though John has described the album as naïve, he writes in the reissue’s liner notes: “I remember when we finished work on the title track – it just floored me. I thought it was the best thing I’d ever heard in my life.”

    Empty Sky Catalog Number: MCA-2130

    Empty Sky Track Listing:

    Side One

    1. Empty Sky – 8:29

    2. Valhalla – 4:09

    3. Western Ford Gateway – 3:12

    4. Hymn 2000 – 4:30

    Side Two

    1. Lady What’s Tomorrow – 3:06

    2. Sails – 3:29

    3. The Scaffold – 3:13

    4. Skyline Pigeon – 3:31

    5. Gulliver/Hay Chewed – 6:58

    Get Empty Sky on Vinyl:

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