24 months passed between the recording sessions for Crazy Water, and those for Elton's next (major) single, the angry, jagged Ego. From the sound of the record, Elton hadn't been able to find much solace in the interim. Ego twists with the energy of a tantrum. It's dark and humourous, petulant and self-mocking, all at once.
Backed with Flintstone Boy, a lightly subversive slice of queer country music, this single was Elton's state of the nation address for Spring 1978, and a real artistic statement. Unfortunately for Elton, punk had come, the new wave was in the ascendancy, and younger record buyers were not looking in his direction. For their part, Elton's own fanbase were alienated by the lack of a singable hook in the song. Released 40 years ago today, Ego stalled at number 34 on both sides of the Atlantic.
This episode is a celebration of this vital single release. Part biography, part musical analysis, the episode looks at 1977/1978 Elton, and these two songs, from every conceivable angle.
The episode takes some of its shape from the excellent Elton John biography 'Captain Fantastic' by David DeCouto.
The two centre extractions that I talk over can be heard in full on my new YouTube channel.