Elton John doesn’t need much to stun his listeners: Equipped with a piano and his voice alone, he can create melodies that mesmerize and captivate. But that doesn’t mean he ignored the importance of having an impressive backing band to help him take his performances to the next level.
Early in his career, Elton worked closely with Davey Johnstone on guitar; Dee Murray on bass and vocals; and Nigel Olsson on drums and vocals. This group remained his remarkable studio and live band for nearly six years, arranging and backing Elton on some of his greatest albums, including 1973’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, arguably his best.
Nearly a decade later, the backing band reunited to support Elton on his 1982 Jump Up tour, marking the last time the four artists would all work together at once. Recorded near Albany, N.Y., this concert features a welcome dose of several of Elton John’s greatest hits, including several from the aforementioned Goodbye Yellow Brick Road record.
Begin below with Elton John’s performance of “Bennie And The Jets,” which features the band in expert form and an impressive extended piano solo from Elton. Thirty-six years and a retirement announcement later, this recording will make you wish had the chance to see him live one more time.