Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
Kylie Minogue & Nick Cave at Glastonbury 2019
Nick Cave, Lizzo & Elton John Join Artists Supporting Australian Wildfire Relief
Cave joins fellow Australians Kylie Minogue, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Flume and others using their platforms to offer support for the devastating crisis in their home country
Australian experimentalist icon Nick Cave is one of the latest artists to offer a large donation to help communities affected by the blazing wildfires across Australia. The "Into My Arms" singer took to his Instagram yesterday to share he will be donating $500,000 "to some of the many organisations carrying out selfless and courageous work" and encourages "everyone to do whatever they can to help."
Knighted pop king Elton John, who's currently in the country on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, also recently took to social media to announce a big donation—$1,000,000 to the Brushfire Relief Fund. First-time GRAMMY nominee Lizzo is also on currently on tour in Australia and offered her support by volunteering her time packing emergency food baskets at Foodbank Victoria.
Cave joins fellow Australians Kylie Minogue, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, Flume and others using their platforms to offer public (and monetary!) support for the devastating crisis in their home country. Metallica, Pink and Kacey Musgraves are also among the musicians that have recently donated money to relief orgs and encouraged their fans to do so as well.
While fires have been breaking out across the country since September after an especially dry and hot season, global awareness around the fires has increased in the new year as the blazes worsen and celebrities, social media and news outlets build awareness. The two regions most gravely affected are New South Wales—Sydney is the capital—and the adjacent Victoria.
The latest numbers (via CNN, dated Jan. 8) state that the fires have burned 17.9 million acres of land, caused 27 deaths, including at least two volunteer firefighters. The fires have also affected an estimated one billion animals, with millions dead, including one-third of koala populations. Additionally, the fire, smoke, CO2 emissions and debris has already wreaked havoc on the environment and all its inhabitants, with contaminated air and water.
Many organizations have stepped in to offer disaster relief support, as well as the country's brave firefighters, the majority of whom work as volunteers. If you feel compelled to donate, check out NSW Rural Fire Service, Country Fire Authority, WIRES Wildfire Rescue, First Nations Communities Fire Relief Fund, RSPCA NSW Fire Fund or any other local org/fund for more info on how to help.
Here Are The Nominees For Best Pop Dance Recording At The 2024 GRAMMYs
Take a look at the inaugural list of nominees for Best Pop Dance Recording — one of three new categories at the 2024 GRAMMYs — which features hits from dance legends and pop superstars.
One of three new categories debuting at the 2024 GRAMMYs, Best Pop Dance Recording will be hotly contested in its first year.
The inaugural round of Best Pop Dance Recording nominees features not one, but two David Guetta collaborations ("Baby Don’t Hurt Me" with Anne-Marie and Coi Leray, and "One In A Million" with Bebe Rexha), and the long-awaited reunion of Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding on "Miracle." The new category also features two earworms from Australian pop dance exports: Kylie Minogue’s "Padam Padam" and Troye Sivan’s "Rush."
Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs on Feb. 4, 2024, get to know the five nominees in this newly minted category.
David Guetta, Anne-Marie & Coi Leray -"Baby Don't Hurt Me"
In a year defined by dance producers putting a modern spin on dance music’s past, David Guetta reached back to 1993 to interpolate Haddaway’s dance-pop hit, "What Is Love," for "Baby Don’t Hurt Me." The song is a fitting follow-up to Guetta and Bebe Rexha’s 2022 hit, "I’m Good (Blue)", which winkingly rekindled Eiffel 65’s Eurodance anthem, "Blue (Da Ba Dee)".
"Baby Don’t Hurt Me" brings Haddaway’s irresistible hook into 2023 with distinctive verses from British vocalist Anne-Marie (who memorably joined Marshmello on 2018’s smash "Friends") and fast-rising Boston rapper Coi Leray.
Paired with a video that references ‘90s clubbing and cult movie A Night at the Roxbury, "Baby Don’t Hurt Me" is a familiar sugar rush that plays to the individual strengths of its perhaps unlikely trio.
Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding - "Miracle"
Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding are a dance music dream team, having previously released "I Need Your Love" (2012) and "Outside" (2014). After waiting almost a full decade to reunite, the pair returned in 2023 with their third collaboration, "Miracle."
An out-and-out trance-meets-Eurodance throwback (think inspirations like Robert Miles' "Children"), "Miracle" aims straight for the nostalgic pleasure centers. Harris told Apple Music that he needed Goulding's "angelic" vocal talents, and the British singer skillfully plays off the song's maximal production. Working alongside his longtime studio partner Burns, Harris packs the rave euphoria into a crisp three minutes, right through to the unexpected breakbeat outro.
The non-album single signaled a new phase for Harris, and follows 2022's Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 as well as his ravier experiments as Love Regenerator. In July, Harris returned to the trance sounds of his teen years with "Desire" featuring Sam Smith, proving these faster tempos are not just a passing phase.
Kylie Minogue - "Padam Padam"
Now 16 albums into a glittering career, Kylie Minogue is a true icon of international pop. However, not even the most ardent Kylie fans could've predicted her 2023 glow-up, courtesy of viral sensation "Padam Padam."
The song first came to Minogue in a demo version by Norwegian singer/songwriter Ina Wroldsen and UK producer Lostboy, which immediately caught her ear. "Straightaway, I was in," she recalled to GRAMMY.com, noting that she knew it was "perfect for me."
The first single from the Australian singer's latest album, Tension, the instantly danceable beat and one-word hook of "Padam Padam" inspired countless TikTok videos and memes. "I finally get TikTok. Yes, I've been slow but I finally am there," Minogue admitted upon Tension's release.
Minogue also celebrated the queer community and Gen Z's embrace of her runaway hit. "I hope to continue having fun with that," she added. "It was really organic. I don't think you can force that. It happened and I loved every second of it."
Bebe Rexha & David Guetta - "One In A Million"
Ever since co-writing Eminem and Rihanna's "The Monster" in 2013, Brooklyn-born Bebe Rexha has mastered the art of collaboration. Over a prolific decade, including three albums of her own, the pop singer/songwriter has teamed up with a diverse range of artists, including Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, Florida Georgia Line and Dolly Parton, to feature on her songs.
In the pop dance world, French hitmaker David Guetta is Rexha's most reliable collaborator. After striking gold on 2022's "I'm Good (Blue)" — which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the top of 2023 — the pair returned with a new standalone single, "One In A Million."
With a piano line that evokes Guetta's own "When Love Takes Over," "One In A Million" channels the giddy feeling of new love over a racing beat. The song arrived in a typically whirlwind year of collaborations for Guetta, who also mined the past alongside Jason Derulo, Oliver Tree and Zara Larsson.
Troye Sivan - "Rush"
After a long wait between solo releases, Australian pop chameleon Troye Sivan boldly announced a new era with "Rush." Released at the height of summer as the lead single from Sivan's third album, Something To Give Each Other, "Rush" instantly hit its mark as a celebration of queer pleasure-seeking. In a statement, Sivan described the single as an accumulation of "all of my experiences from a chapter where I feel confident, free and liberated."
The song's lusty bassline, exultant piano-house keys and chanted chorus perfectly play off Sivan's falsetto, creating a heady mood of dance floor abandon. (Fittingly, the Berlin-shot music video is a parade of sweaty bodies in motion.) A ready-made anthem, "Rush" set the stage perfectly for the assured and life-affirming Something To Give Each Other, leaving no doubt that Sivan is thriving in 2023.
The 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, returns to Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT.
The Recording Academy and GRAMMY.com do not endorse any particular artist, submission or nominee over another. The results of the GRAMMY Awards, including winners and nominees, are solely dependent on the Recording Academy's Voting Membership.
10 Ways Cher's "Believe" Changed Pop Music
As Cher's GRAMMY-winning hit celebrates its 25th anniversary, blast "Believe" and dig into the many ways it became one of pop's all-time classics.
The incomparable Cher had already achieved iconic status long before she dropped the title track from her 22nd studio effort, Believe, at the tail end of 1998. After all, this was an artist who'd forged one of the most successful pop duos of the '60s, scored a record-breaking trio of number ones in the '70s, and reinvented herself as an MTV goddess in the '80s. Not to mention her contributions outside of music: the hit variety shows, Broadway runs, and Hollywood moonlighting — the latter of which saw her win an Oscar.
But the success of "Believe" was still unlike anything else Cher had achieved during her illustrious 35 years in the business. It reached No. 1 in 21 different countries across the globe (including a four-week stint at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.), sold 11 million copies, and cleaned up at everything from the International Dance Music Awards to the Ivor Novellos. For a good 12 months, it was practically impossible to avoid hearing its dance-pop beats, lovelorn lyrics and, of course, that famous robotic vocal effect.
But "Believe" didn't just significantly impact Cher's already glittering career — it also changed the face of pop music as we know it. From inspiring other divas to get their groove on to pioneering a piece of now-ubiquitous studio technique, take a look at 10 ways "Believe" impacted pop.
It Smashed Multiple Chart Records
It would almost be quicker to list which chart records "Believe" didn't completely obliterate. The song spent 21 weeks atop Billboard's Hot Dance Singles Sales, and was still in the Top 10 a full year later. It was also crowned the year-end No. 1 on both the Dance Club Songs and Hot 100 charts. And it produced the longest-ever gap between chart-toppers on the latter — 33 years and seven months, to be exact — as Cher's first No. 1 on the chart came in 1965 with her Sonny Bono duet "I Got You Babe."
"Believe" was just as successful across the pond, beating George Michael, U2, Culture Club, and Alanis Morisette in a famous five-way battle for No. 1. And with 1.8 million copies sold, it's still the U.K.'s highest-selling single by a female performer.
It Inspired Several Divas To Dance
Cher had initially resisted Warner UK label boss Rob Dickins' idea to pursue a dance direction, reportedly arguing that the genre wasn't conducive to "real songs." It's unlikely many of her peers took much persuading, however, after witnessing the monumental success of "Believe."
In fact, pretty much every pop diva on the other side of 50 seemed to take to the dance floor over the following 12 months: see Diana Ross' "Not Over You Yet," Tina Turner's "When the Heartache Is Over," and Donna Summer's "I Will Go With You (Con Te Partiro)." Madonna (Confessions on a Dancefloor), Kylie Minogue (Tension), and Cyndi Lauper (Bring Ya to the Brink) have all since proved middle age and dance music needn't be mutually exclusive terms with entire albums tailor-made for the clubs.
It Finally Gave Cher A Grammy
It seems hard to believe that Cher had to wait until the turn of the millennium to pick up her first GRAMMY. The pop veteran had previously been nominated alongside then-husband Sonny Bono in the Best New Artist category in 1966. The pair also received a nod in the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group in 1972 for "All I Ever Need Is You," the same year Cher was recognized as a solo artist with a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance nomination for "Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves." But on all three occasions, Cher went home empty-handed.
The star finally emerged victorious in 2000, however, when "Believe" won Best Dance Recording. (The song and same-named parent LP had picked up nods for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album, respectively, too). Peter Rauhofer was also crowned Best Remixer of the Year for his work on the track under the guise of Club 69.
It Paved The Way For An Exciting '00s Hit Factory
Nine different people, including Cher herself, are given songwriting/production credits on "Believe." But the most interesting behind-the-scenes name is Brian Higgins, the man who penned an early version of the track a full eight years before it was released. A virtual unknown when the finished product finally arrived, Higgins would go on to shape the following decade of British pop music thanks to his pioneering work as part of the production powerhouse known as Xenomania.
Best-known for guiding the career of their ultimate muses, Girls Aloud, the team also carved out weird and wonderful singles for Sugababes, The Saturdays, and Alesha Dixon.Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue, and Saint Etienne were just a few of the more established names who turned to Xenomania for hit-making assistance, too.
It Made Cher Relevant Again
Cher looked to have been consigned to heritage act status before "Believe" came to the rescue. She'd only scored one U.S. Top 10 hit in the 1990s ("Just Like Jesse James") and that was at the very start of the decade; her last studio effort, covers album It's A Man's World, had peaked at a lowly No. 64 on the Billboard 200. But Cher isn't known as a comeback queen for nothing. The Believe campaign not only saved her from the musical wilderness, but it also kickstarted the most consistent, if undoubtedly sporadic, chapter of her career.
Indeed, although "Strong Enough" and "Song for the Lonely" are her only Hot 100 entries since (No. 57 and 85, respectively), 2001's Living Proof, 2013's Closer to the Truth, and 2018's ABBA tribute Dancing Queen have all reached the top 10 of the Billboard 200. And while Cher was always a powerful live draw, the Believe era took things to new heights: 2002's long-running (and misleadingly-named) The Farewell Tour, grossed $200 million across a whopping 325 dates to become the highest-grossing concert series by a female artist at the time.
It Proved Age Ain't Nothin' But A Number
Bette Midler, Aretha Franklin, and Tina Turner had all previously reached the top of the Hot 100 in their forties. But no female artist had ever achieved such a feat until "Believe" came along. Cher was aged 52 years and nine months when the dance-pop anthem took her number one tally to four in March 1999. And while the annual return of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" saw a 53-year-old Mariah Carey surpass this milestone in 2022, Cher can still lay claim to being the oldest chart-topping woman with a newly released song.
The star will have to score a fifth, however, if she's to break the all-time record: Louis Armstrong was three months shy of his 63rd birthday when he knocked The Beatles off pole position with 1963's "Hello Dolly."
It Introduced The World To Auto-Tune
According to Pitchfork, a remarkable 99 percent of all contemporary pop music utilizes the pitch-altering recording technique known as Auto-Tune. And that's pretty much all down to The Cher Effect. Although designed to subtly correct a wayward vocal, the producers of "Believe" decided to make it blatantly obvious that studio trickery had been at play, transforming one of pop's most easily identifiable voices into that of a wobbly android.
Cher had to fight to keep the song's unique selling point, telling unconvinced label bosses they'd have to remove it "over my dead body." And her instinct proved to be right. The pioneering use of Auto-Tune was undoubtedly the catalyst for the song's phenomenal success, ultimately paving the way for everyone fromLil Wayne andT-Pain toDaft Punk andBlack Eyed Peas.
It Became A Pop Culture Fixture
You know a song has entered the nation's consciousness when it's been parodied by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. But South Park's incomprehensible version of "Believe," which appeared in season 3 episode "Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub," isn't the only way in which the chart-topper has permeated pop culture over the past 25 years.
It was also given the spoof treatment by MADtv, has become a lip-sync battle regular, and featured in the star-studded medley in Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga. More recently, it was mashed up with "The Muffin Man" by Adam Lambert for a That's My Jam performance that went viral.
It Brought Back Crying At The Disco
Cher had asked many questions through the medium of pop during her illustrious career: "Am I Blue?" "Does Anybody Really Fall in Love Anymore?" "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?" But it was undoubtedly "Believe" on which she posed her most pressing. "Do you believe in life after love?," she sings in the famously Auto-Tuned chorus, a clever turn of phrase which set the song up as the '90s answer to "I Will Survive"; follow-up single "Strong Enough" would go even further by essentially borrowing its string section.
The "crying at the disco" anthem had largely fallen out of favor since Gloria Gaynor's heyday. But "Believe" proved once again it was possible to pour your heart out and throw some shapes at the same time. Robyn ("Dancing On My Own"), Pussycat Dolls ("Hush, Hush"), and Madonna ("Sorry") are just a few of the artists who appeared to be taking note.
It's Become A Part Of The Modern American Songbook
What do tween collective Kidz Bop, punk rock supergroup Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, and Swedish synth-pop songstress Anna of the North all have in common? They've all put their own spin on the dance-pop masterpiece that is Cher's "Believe." And they're not the only ones, either.
In 2023, DMA's rendition wascrowned the all-time best cover to emerge from Aussie radio station Triple J's feature Like a Version.Manchester Orchestra,Lucy Dacus, and Jessie Ware have all interpreted the smash hit in their own distinctive ways over the past 18 months, too. And it's become a talent show staple thanks to ballad versions by the likes ofAdam Lambert,Jeffery Austin, andSheldon Riley. Should the Great American Songbook ever get modernized, then "Believe" is a shoo-in.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.
Photo: David Redfern/Redferns
Elton John's 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' Turns 50: A Track-By-Track Breakdown
Half a century on, Elton John's GRAMMY Hall Of Fame-winning, double-disc masterpiece is a glitzy, emotional, sprawling thrill ride for the ages.
When you hear Elton John's name, what do you think of? Perhaps glitzy showmanship, down-home rakishness, a very '70s opulence. (Oh, and about a dozen song songs implanted in our brains from birth.) For the five-time GRAMMY winner, only sweeping will do.
But that's not a studio-conjured mirage, a mere feat of technology. Because if you listen to John sing "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" alone with a piano — as you can on 2019's quietly issued Live from Moscow 1979 — John's signature hit still buries you like a ton of bricks.
On this astonishing version, John doesn't sound like a rock god; he sounds more mortal than ever, beseeching the heavens from below.
"When are you going to come down/ When are you going to land?" goes his signature intro; in this naked setting, hearing the words reverberate and fall over the audience is enrapturing.
And in the chorus, when he leans into the word blues in "singing the blues," the hair on the back of your neck might stand up. What follows is that cascading, wordless tag, a whirlpool of pure feeling. All the cultural trappings of John evaporate; you can only behold that sound.
John recently concluded his final tour, and it was named after "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" — "goodbye" switched for "farewell." In its wake, John's career — forged in tandem with his legendary lyricist, Bernie Taupin — increasingly looks like an enterprise to look back on.
And your communion could start with that piano, that voice, that song — and the classic 1973 album it named, which turns 50 on Oct. 5.
Featuring all-time knockouts from said title track to "Candle in the Wind" to "Bennie and the Jets" — as well as inspired deeper cuts ("Grey Seal") and a double album's requisite oddities ("Jamaica Jerk-Off"), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is an all-timer of AOR and arguably John's most sprawling, eclectic, memorable album.
In 2003, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame; three years prior to that, John had been named MusiCares' Person Of The Year. On top of his five GRAMMY wins, John's been nominated for a whopping 35 golden gramophones.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, here's a breakdown of all 17 tracks.
"Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding"
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road's opening track begins with wind sounds and eerie trills; it then efflorescences into Robert Wyatt or Tangerine Dream-style synths — the kind of music John wanted to hear at his own funeral.
Then, as the "Funeral for a Friend" section gives way to "Love Lies Bleeding," the track reveals itself to be a moody, theatrical statement of intent. "The roses in the window have tilted to one side," John yowls; "Everything about this house was born to grow and die."
"Candle in the Wind"
Everyone knows John and Taupin wrote "Candle in the Wind" as an ode to Marilyn Monroe; many remember its 1997 retrofitting as a tribute to Princess Diana.
But despite being half a century old, and its association with two glamour icons of yore, "Candle in the Wind" could have been written this morning. Which is due to both its celebrity-age applicability and luminous, searching melody.
"Bennie and the Jets"
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is decidedly front-loaded; after one world-tilting banger, John casually drops another.
Time and ubiquity have not dampened the ebullience of "Bennie and the Jets": whichever PA you hear it piped from, it's practically illegal to not answer his "Benny!" with your own.
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
This article may have led with love for the solo "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," but that's not to brush off the studio version.
On the album cut, John is backed by his subtle, coaxing, perennially underrated rhythm section of bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson — plus Leslie-ed out electric guitar from Davey Johnstone and an Abbey Road-like orchestral arrangement from Del Newman.
Part of Taupin's appeal as a lyricist is how he could transmute goofiness into splendor — and who else but Elton could beseech you to get back to the farm, "hunting the horny back toad," with such gravitas?
"This Song Has No Title"
As if he didn't just drop "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" on you, the album continues unblinking with this gorgeously rolling, mellotron-laced deep cut. "Let me drink deeply from the water and the wine," John sings. "Light colored candles in dark dreary mines."
In a catalog filled with head-scratching lyrics, "Grey Seal" is especially inscrutable; reportedly, Taupin barely understood its meaning, but simply adored how the words linked to the music.
Indeed, "Grey Seal" is a multifarious marvel of a four-minute rock song, as John throws out iridescent images with abandon — such as "I never learned why meteors were formed/ I only farmed in schools."
The Beatles' The White Album forever laid the groundwork for sprawling, messy double albums, so Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is entitled to its own "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." (Especially since he initially started recording the album in Jamaica.)
"I've Seen That Movie Too"
After the tropical anxiety attack of "Jamaica Jerk-Off," Goodbye Yellow Brick Road pivots to downcast and philosophical with "I've Seen That Movie Too."
Therein, John considers the cyclical nature of everything, through the lens of actors on a soundstage — which, if we were to further the White Album metaphor, would make this his "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
"Sweet Painted Lady"
John hasn't performed this ode to a harbor prostitute many times; in fact, he hasn't performed it in 23 years. But as an interstitial piece, it works in a pinch; sound effects of waves and gulls drive home the atmosphere.
"The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-1934)"
John and Taupin sure loved their old-timey narratives, and "The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-1934)" is no exception; it traces the life and death of a two-bit gangster.
"Some punk with a shotgun killed young Danny Bailey in cold blood in the lobby of a downtown motel," reports Elton at the jump — and what unspools is poetic, cinematic glory.
"Dirty Little Girl"
If glammy misogyny isn't your jam, you may want to swerve around "Dirty Little Girl" — in John's heyday, everyone from the Rolling Stones ("Stupid Girl") to Neil Young (also "Stupid Girl") got one of these songs.
But if you come in well-advised, it might be fun to roll around in its Neanderthal energy; with lyrics like "I'm gonna get buckshot in your pants if you step into my yard," John essentially hands you the controller to Grand Theft Auto V.
"All the Girls Love Alice"
After "Dirty Little Girl," John shakes off the muck for the swinging, swaggering "All the Girls Love Alice." While it's about "a young girl who gets seduced by the naughty ladies," the tune feels less mean than dryly tragic.
"Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n' Roll)"
As Goodbye Yellow Brick Road races to the finish line, it picks up retro headwinds: here, Elton John nailed his attempt at "a cross between surfing music and Freddie Cannon records."
"Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)"
In that regard, "Your Sister Can't Twist" is only a ramp-up: if "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)" doesn't get you shaking hips at your desk, we can't help you.=
Every TV-bound kid of John's generation remembers the King of the Cowboys. Although Roy Rogers was very much alive, John gorgeously eulogizes his run in film and TV, and weaves an Old West fantasia for the ages.
"My bulldog is barking in the backyard/ Enough to raise a dead man from his grave." So begins a self-effacing character study worthy of Randy Newman and John Prine, with a dash of hallucinogenic strangeness.
If you "dress in rags, smell a lot and have a real good time," you've found your personal anthem — complete with deliciously greasy sax and honky-tonk piano.
John concludes his wild, messy opus by raising a ragged flag, as the string section lifts the proceedings as if on balloons.
"I want to love you forever/ And dream of the never, never, never-leaving harmony," Elton sings at song's end, repeating the title until the song — and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road itself — evaporate in midair.