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Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection – October 30, 1970
Around March of 1971, after ten months of Free-Form Hippie Shenanigans financed by savings from my government art department job; I had just turned twenty and moved-in with my longtime girlfriend to a nice little duplex on the border of Westchester and Inglewood.
I drove and delivered the LA Times newspaper from a distributor in Hawthorne to Los Angeles International Airport terminals exclusively as a graveyard job and sold the candles my good buddy and I made during the day to local retailers and department stores.
While doing all this we listened to KPPC; one of the original “Tom Donahue” underground FM stations.
(Click here for a quick and groovy post about KPPC and insight into just one of many profitable industries of today that were originated or made possible by Hippies.)
While we made candles in our wooden troughs of sand; Elton John, Carol King, Little Feat, the Doobie Brothers, and other “new” bands were in the mix with classic Hendrix, Joplin, Cream and the Doors – this was the totally cool world of underground FM radio stations.
Elton John’s “Tumbleweed Connection” had been out for a few months and was getting airplay.
We all know now that Elton is a Rocker through and through, no doubt, but back then he was seen as this brilliant vocalist and musician more in the Pop Rock groove of the Beatles.
Like Dylan’s “John Wesley Harding” in ’67 and the Band’s “Music from Big Pink” in ’68, Elton took an Old West / Civil War concept and developed one of the most interesting and amazing LPs of his career. How Elton and his Brit lyricist counter-part Bernie Taupin could evoke the authentic feelings about and from those early American times through infectious rockin’ tunes is truly amazing AND there’s not a weak track on the LP.
It always amazes me at how I remember nearly every word from all of these LPs! I know that’s really nothing compared to the brain’s true capacity and ability but still it amazes me. And “Tumbleweed Connection” is one of those LPs – I just listened to it for this post and wow, all the words and music come back immediately and it all acts as a catalyst for ambient and specific memories of that time period. Trippy!
The title “Tumbleweed Connection” denotes the Western theme in a clever play on the ever important counter-culture “weed connection” and my “connection” was through the LA Times newspaper “distributor”. Me and my candle-maker buddy would buy kilos and sell lids from our Hippie Candle Factory profits – see link above.
I’m a fan of Elton, who isn’t? What’s there not to like, the guy’s made some of the most memorable and unique music for decades with solid rockers mixed in with his heart-rending ballads sung with a remarkably unique voice who has become an industry unto himself and a great humanitarian; we are fortunate to have Elton John in our lives.
Within all of the acclaim and awards for his albums and music; for me it’s all about this little LP that proved Elton’s real genius.
A truly amazing album from a truly amazing artist,
ELTON JOHN – TUMBLEWEED CONNECTION
- “Ballad of a Well-Known Gun” – 4:59 “Come Down in Time” – 3:25 “Country Comfort” – 5:06 “Son of Your Father” – 3:48 “My Father’s Gun” – 6:20
- “Where to Now St. Peter?” – 4:11 “Love Song” (Lesley Duncan) – 3:41 “Amoreena” – 5:00 “Talking Old Soldiers” – 4:06 “Burn Down the Mission” – 6:22
CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE TOP 79 HISTORIC & CLASSIC 1970s ROCK ALBUMS!