To my mind, Elton did only release two “truly” essential albums in the ‘80s. Obviously, “Too Low For Zero” (1983) was one of them – the album saw him reunited with Bernie and his classic band in full for the first time, and many successful singles were released – “I’m Still Standing”, “Kiss The Bride” and “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”. The other album I hold in true esteem from that period, though, did not produce any radio hit. I suppose that is the reason it is always neglected on “Best Of” packages, while other (inferior) albums from the ‘80s at least have one or two cuts in. I am talking about “The Fox”, issued in 1981 after “21 At 33” and the tepid “Victim Of Love”.
The previous disc saw Elton reunited with both Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson, and they were carried into this release and into succeeding albums. Guitars were to be handled by Ritchie Zito (who you might know for his work as a producer for bands like Cheap Trick, Heart and Poison), and lyrics were penned both by Gary Osborne and Bernie Taupin. One track (“Elton’s Song”) was co-written with Tom Robinson – the song was banned in some countries on grounds of homosexuality. Well, the video was just that little too explicit, wouldn’t you say?
The disc also marked Chris Thomas’ first collaboration with Elton. Thomas was to occupy the producer’s chair for a considerable number of records, effectively becoming the second main shaper of John’s sound after Gus Dudgeon. Continue reading