On This Day: Elton John Releases Honky Chateau

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Elton John‘s Honky Chateau was the singer’s first of seven albums in a row to go #1.

Released on May 19 1972, John’s fifth studio album was titled after the 18th century French chateau where he recorded (‘Château d’Hérouville.’)

It’s still regarded as a classic album today: Rolling Stone ranked it #359 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

To celebrate the anniversary, we’re looking at the album track-by-track:

“Honky Cat” – 5:13

“Honky Cat” reached the Billboard top 10 when released as a single, but only reached #31 in Britain. It’s still hard to escape this song when listening to the radio today!

“Mellow” – 5:32

A song about, um, bedroom escapades, and the feeling of nirvana that follows. According to our statistics, thousands of babies were made to this track.

“I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself” – 3:35

John wrote this song as a tongue-in-cheek parody of the thoughts angst-filled teenager. For a song that deals with suicide, the instrumental is surprisingly uplifting.

“Susie (Dramas)” – 3:25

“Well she sure knows how to use me
Pretty little black-eyed Suzie
Playing hooky with my heart all the time
Living with her funky family”

Susie really took Elton for a ride on this track!

“Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)” – 4:45

According to Elizabeth Rosenthal’s book His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John, “Rocket Man” was inspired by Taupin’s sighting of either a shooting star that may have been an airplane.

Rolling Stone lists it as #245 of its 500 greatest songs of all-time.

“Salvation” – 3:58

This John-Taupin inspirational number (much like Elton’s classic “Border Song”) contains gospel overtones that make this song one of the standout tracks.

“Slave” – 4:22

To us, there’s not much wiggle room for interpretation: this is a story of a slave who is getting fed-up with his situation. It’s powerful statement that begs for repeat listens.

“Amy” – 4:03

Elton tries hard to impress a girl named Amy, who likes running around with ‘the big boys.’ If you ever need an unrequited love anthem, this is it.

“Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” – 5:00

Bernie Taupin handled the lyrics, writing the song after hearing a gun go off near his New York City hotel window during his first visit. It’s one of Elton John’s all-time favourites.

“Hercules” – 5:20

An ode to the vices of the world (“women and wine”) and the love Elton feels for a girl who runs around with “a muscle boy.” Here, Elton finds power in feeling inferior.

What’s your favourite song from Elton’s Honky Chateau? Let us know in the comments below!

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