Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Elton Has 3rd Most Successful Tour, Rolling Stone Interview

The Top 20 Global Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows Worldwide. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.

1. Taylor Swift; $4,311,565; $110.91.
2. Madonna; $2,587,487; $121.54.
3. Elton John; $1,906,287; $128.98.
4. The Weeknd; $1,368,999; $77.08.
5. Dead & Company; $1,187,307; $81.36.
6. Juan Gabriel; $1,060,559; $119.46.
7. "The Illusionists"; $1,036,339; $84.69.
8. Muse; $971,373; $59.45.
9. Andre Rieu; $900,922; $82.56.
10. Florence + The Machine; $760,913; $58.88.
11. Simply Red; $736,161; $67.93.
12. Jerry Seinfeld; $726,798; $100.33.
13. Trans-Siberian Orchestra; $719,160; $55.82.
14. Motley Crue; $709,108; $71.77.
15. Def Leppard / Whitesnake; $640,238; $68.66.
16. Zac Brown Band; $629,213; $51.27.
17. Imagine Dragons; $497,900; $46.46.
18. "Nitro Circus Live"; $489,149; $54.78.
19. The Prodigy; $410,033; $54.96.
20. Scorpions; $395,505; $62.59.

- Daily Mail

Elton john has spent the past few years making mostly reflective and piano-based albums like 2010's Leon Russell collaboration The Union and 2013's sparse, sombre The Diving Board. But early last year, he decided to head in a radically different direction. "I was in Honolulu playing a show with my band, and I said to my guitarist Davey [Johnston], ‘Go out and buy 12-string guitars'," he says. " ‘I want to hear lots of them on this record. We're going to make an up record.' "

John asked longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin to come up with a batch of joyful, uplifting lyrics. "I think he felt there's enough pain and suffering in the world without my contributing to it," says Taupin. "I wanted to write things that were really hook-driven. It was an adventure we haven't investigated since the loud, brash pop rock of our mid-1970s albums."

Working with producer T Bone Burnett in L.A., John and his touring band banged out the 10 songs on Wonderful Crazy Night (due February 5th) in just 17 days. Sticking to his tradition, John entered the studio without so much as glancing at Taupin's lyrics or coming up with a single note of music. He would sit at the piano and read Taupin's words for the first time, and melodies would come pouring out. "It's crazy to watch," says Burnett. "It's the same improvisational courage that Dylan used for Highway 61 Revisited."

The process is mysterious even to John. "I haven't analysed it," he says. "I just think, ‘Well, that's the way it works.' I'm very lucky. When it comes, it all comes out." During this process, which takes about an hour or so per song, John's band is listening through headphones from the control room, preparing to flesh out the material. Most tunes on the LP were nailed within two or three takes. "You can overcook the egg," says John. "You can lose energy and the adrenaline, and that's so important."

Wonderful Crazy Night is full of euphoric love songs, with a couple of notable exceptions. "I've Got 2 Wings" tells the story of Elder Utah Smith, a musical preacher who performed all over the South in the 1940s with giant white wings strapped to his back. "I'm a bookworm," says Taupin. "And American musical history is my basic thing." "A Good Heart" is about raising young children (John has two kids). "Elton and I are radically different characters," says Taupin. "But one thing that ties us together is having young kids, and we both understand the perils, pitfalls and joys of raising them."

John and Taupin were thrilled with the finished product, but executives at Capitol Records, John's label, didn't see commercial potential. They refused to put it out and dropped John from the label. (Capitol declined to comment for this story.) "I was gutted, I have to say," says John. "I knew it was a fucking good record." He ended up signing with Island Records, which is enthused about the project. "I can ask for no more," John says. "I follow the charts and know everything about this business. I'm not expecting to sell a million records."

Taupin understands many Elton fans simply want to hear the old favourites in concert, rather than a new LP. "There is a nostalgia about our [old] work that can be debilitating," he says. "You can be Billy Joel and stop making records, but if you have that drive and passion, you're going to do it whether it sells or not. It's there inside of you, and if you don't get it out, you're going to explode."

- Rolling Stone Australia

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