‘Peachtree Highway’: Elton John’s Assertion Of Survival

The customarily-underrated album that Elton John made partly in one among his adopted houses, Atlanta, and named after a road within the metropolis, Peachtree Highway, was launched on November 9, 2004. It holds a particular place in his catalog not just for the a number of lesser-known gems it comprises, however for being the one album on which Elton is credited as sole producer.

The twenty seventh studio launch of what was, by then, a discography that spanned greater than 35 years’ price of recording, Peachtree Highway took its title from the huge Freeway 141 that crosses Atlanta from south-west to north-east. The native studios that Elton used had been Silent Sound, to the north, and Tree Sound, within the northeastern nook of the town, a posh that has additionally performed host to Whitney Houston, Lenny Kravitz, and scores of others. The extra acquainted File Plant in Los Angeles additionally hosted a number of the periods.

These dates featured longtime workmates comparable to guitarist Davey Johnstone and drummer Nigel Olsson, in addition to later band members Man Babylon, Bob Birch and John Mahon. However there was one notably absent buddy, as mirrored in a particular entry within the album credit: Elton devoted the album to Gus Dudgeon, his early producer and devoted champion, and Dudgeon’s spouse Sheila, who had been killed in a automotive accident in 2002.

Amazed to be round

Peachtree Highway was removed from being one of many singer-songwriter’s greatest discs, however it has a deservedly devoted following amongst his fanbase, with its advantageous mix of Elton’s regular pop-rock type and a definite flavour of the American south. The album’s first single outdoors North America was “All That I’m Allowed (I’m Grateful),” a UK No.20 hit which typified the serene and reflective nature of a lot of Bernie Taupin’s lyrics for the set.

“Reply In The Sky” took the lead because the flagship monitor within the US, its opening strings seemingly a nod to the Seventies anthem “Philadelphia Freedom.” The religious sentiment sounded one other be aware of optimism, enhanced by a gospel-style choir of some eight singers. When Peachtree Highway arrived, that positivity shone via on the opening lower, “Weight Of The World,” on which Taupin, as so usually, managed to seize the voice of his longtime collaborator on a music about private salvation. “Fortune and fame is so fleeting today,” Elton sang. “I’m joyful to say I’m amazed that I’m nonetheless round.”

The recurring southern taste got here via on “Porch Swing In Tupelo” and the upbeat, playful “They Name Her The Cat.” Additionally of nice be aware was “Flip The Lights Out When You Go away,” a selected nod to the country-music custom that Elton and Bernie at all times beloved so effectively. So authentically did it seize the nation temper that John went on to carry out the music with Dolly Parton on the following yr’s CMA Awards.

Peachtree Highway additionally included the darkish, atmospheric, bluesy ballad “My Elusive Drug,” which recalled the late-night supper-club temper that the star has generally used, notably on tracks from Blue Strikes, such because the equally spectacular “Idol.” The affirmative contemplation returned on the love music “I Cease And I Breathe,” and elsewhere there have been A-list contributions from the revered horn part who co-founded the good American band Chicago, Walter Parazaider, James Pankow, and Lee Loughnane.

A press release of survival

Evaluations of the album had been constructive, principally noting that Peachtree Highway maintained the advantageous type of its predecessor, 2001’s Songs From The West Coast, and a few tracing a musical line all the way in which again to Tumbleweed Connection. Robert Hilburn, within the Los Angeles Instances, avowed: “There’s such a candy, melancholy edge to the CD’s finest songs that they may function an attractive centerpiece if John wished to boldly replace his reside reveals.

“‘Weight Of The World’ is an announcement of survival within the ‘I’m Nonetheless Standing’ custom, solely extra subdued and, finally, extra human,” Hilburn continued. “‘Flip The Lights Out When You Go away’ is such a wry and wacky nation breakup music that George Jones must document it as quickly as he can get right into a studio, whereas ‘Reply In The Sky’ is one among [John and Taupin’s] uncommon religious reflections.”

Peachtree Highway made it to No.21 in Elton’s dwelling nation and No.17 within the US, the place it was gold by the tip of 2004. A four-DVD field set entitled Dream Ticket was launched across the identical time because the album, containing three live shows and a brand new documentary masking 4 many years of Elton’s illustrious profession.

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The album itself had one thing of a lap of honor in 2005, when it was reissued with a special cowl, and with three bonus tracks from Elton’s subsequent songwriting venture, Billy Elliot: The Musical. An accompanying DVD supplied 9 reside tracks from the album, as carried out, appropriately, in Atlanta. The Billy Elliot ballad “Electrical energy,” a type of songs added to the album, grew to become a No.4 UK single that summer season.

Purchase or stream Peachtree Road.