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Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy

Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is the ninth studio album by British singer/songwriter Elton John, released in 1975. It debuted at number 1 on the U.S. Pop Albums chart, the first ever to do so, and stayed there for seven weeks. It has gone on to be certified as triple platinum. On the UK Albums Chart, it peaked at number 2.

History

Captain Fantastic is a concept album that gives an autobiographical glimpse at the struggles John (Captain Fantastic) and lyricist Bernie Taupin (the Brown Dirt Cowboy) had in the early years of their musical careers in London (from 1967 to 1969). The lyrics and accompanying photo booklet are infused with a specific sense of place and time that would otherwise be rare in John's music.

"Someone Saved My Life Tonight", the only single released from the album (and a number 4 hit on the U.S. Pop Singles chart), is a semi-autobiographical story about John's disastrous engagement to Linda Woodrow, and his related 1969 suicide attempt. The "Someone" refers to Long John Baldry, who convinced him to break off the engagement rather than ruin his music career for an unhappy marriage. It was generally viewed as the best track on the album; Rolling Stone writer Jon Landau said, "As long as Elton John can bring forth one performance per album on the order of 'Someone Saved My Life Tonight', the chance remains that he will become something more than the great entertainer he already is and go on to make a lasting contribution to rock.

The 2006 album "The Captain & The Kid" is the sequel, and continues the autobiography where "Captain Fantastic" leaves off.

Later releases

Both "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "Philadelphia Freedom" were originally released as non-album singles, but years later both songs, along with "Lucy"'s B-Side, the John Lennon-penned "One Day at a Time", were included as bonus tracks on the remastered Captain Fantastic CD reissue.

A deluxe 30th Anniversary edition CD was released September 2005, containing the complete album and the bonus tracks included on prior reissues and adding the "House of Cards", "Someone Saved My Life Tonight"'s B-Side, which had previously only appeared on CD on the 1992 Rare Masters collection. Also included is a second disc containing the complete album performed live at Wembley in 1975.

In September 2005, Elton John and his band again performed the entire album (minus "Tower Of Babel" and "Writing") in a series of sold-out concerts in Boston, New York City and the tour's final stop, Atlanta, in October. These "Captain Fantastic Concerts" were a part of the Peachtree Road Tour and were the longest concerts in Elton's career, lasting nearly three and a half hours. The songs from Captain Fantastic were aired by Capital Gold Radio in a broadcast taken from the September 16, 2005 performance in Boston.

Track listing

All songs by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, except where noted

Side one

  1. "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" – 5:46
  2. "Tower of Babel" – 4:28
  3. "Bitter Fingers" – 4:35
  4. "Tell Me When the Whistle Blows" – 4:20
  5. "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" – 6:45

Side two

  1. "(Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket" – 4:01
  2. "Better Off Dead" – 2:37
  3. "Writing" – 3:40
  4. "We All Fall in Love Sometimes" – 4:15
  5. "Curtains" – 6:15

Bonus tracks (1995 CD reissue)

  1. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (John Lennon & Paul McCartney) – 6:18
  2. "One Day At a Time" (Lennon) – 3:49
  3. "Philadelphia Freedom" – 5:23

Bonus tracks (2005 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Disc one (Follows original album)

  1. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 6:18
  2. "One Day (At a Time)" (Lennon) – 3:49
  3. "Philadelphia Freedom" – 5:23
  4. "House of Cards" – 3:12

Disc two (Live from "Midsummer Music" at Wembley Stadium, June 21, 1975)

  1. "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" – 7:02
  2. "Tower of Babel" – 4:38
  3. "Bitter Fingers" – 5:06
  4. "Tell Me When the Whistle Blows" – 4:39
  5. "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" – 7:17
  6. "(Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket" - 7:19
  7. "Better Off Dead" – 3:01
  8. "Writing" – 5:30
  9. "We All Fall in Love Sometimes" – 3:57
  10. "Curtains" – 8:48
  11. "Pinball Wizard" (Pete Townshend) – 6:31
  12. "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" – 7:40

B-sides

Song Format
"House of Cards" Someone Saved My Life Tonight 7" (US/UK)

Personnel

Production

  • Producers: Gus Dudgeon, Greg Penny
  • Engineer: Jeff Guercio
  • Mixing: Greg Penny
  • Remixing: Gus Dudgeon, Phil Dunne
  • Remastering: Tony Cousins
  • Assistant: Mark Guercio
  • Digital transfers: Ricky Graham
  • Surround sound: Greg Penny
  • Orchestral arrangements: Gene Page
  • Art direction: David Larkham, Bernie Taupin
  • Graphic conception: David Larkham, Bernie Taupin
  • Cover design: Alan Aldridge
  • Package design: David Larkham
  • Illustrations: Alan Aldridge
  • Liner notes: John Tobler

Charts

Album
Year Chart Position
1975 UK Album Chart 2
1975 US Billboard Pop Albums 1
1975 Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart 1

Singles

Year Single Chart Position
1975 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds UK Singles Chart 10
1975 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds US Billboard Pop Singles 1
1975 Philadelphia Freedom UK Singles Chart 12
1975 Philadelphia Freedom US Billboard Black Singles 32
1975 Philadelphia Freedom US Billboard Pop Singles 1
1975 Someone Saved My Life Tonight UK Singles Chart 22
1975 Someone Saved My Life Tonight Pop Singles 4

References

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