Songs from the West Coast

Songs from the West Coast is the twenty-seventh studio album by British singer/songwriter Elton John, released worldwide on 1 October 2001. Many critics have said that this album brought John back to his piano-based musical roots. He once again collaborated with long-time lyricist Bernie Taupin. Elton also brought back former band members including drummer Nigel Olsson. This album marks the first time Elton John and collaborator Bernie Taupin wrote together in person. From the album, "I Want Love" was a single and a Grammy nominated song, and "Original Sin" and "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" also became hits. Stevie Wonder, who played harmonica on "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" 18 years earlier, played harmonica and clavinet on "Dark Diamond".

It was the first non-soundtrack studio album from John to be released after PolyGram and Universal Music Group merged, consolidating distribution rights to his entire catalogue.

Rufus Wainwright sings backing vocals on the track "American Triangle", which is about Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was brutally murdered in 1998.

The restaurant shown on the album's cover is Rae's Restaurant, which is frequently used as a location for many Los Angeles-based film shoots, including 1993's True Romance and 2005's Lords of Dogtown. John's partner David Furnish and his Director of Operations Bob Halley appear on the album cover: Furnish as a cowboy at the bar and Halley as the man getting handcuffed.

Elton has said that the inspiration for many of the songs on this album came from when he listened to Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams.

In an interview with Jon Wiederhorn in 2001, Elton revealed that the album was recorded using analogue tape as he believes "the voice and instruments sound warmer".

The album was dedicated to Matthew Shepard and Oliver Johnstone, Davey Johnstone's late son.

In 2005, the album was repackaged as a special edition containing a bonus disc with remixes, b-sides and non-album singles from the time of its release.

Contents


Track listing

All songs by Elton John/Bernie Taupin.

  1. "The Emperor's New Clothes" – 4:28
  2. "Dark Diamond" – 4:26
  3. "Look Ma, No Hands" – 4:22
  4. "American Triangle" – 4:49
  5. "Original Sin" – 4:49
  6. "Birds" – 3:51
  7. "I Want Love" – 4:35
  8. "The Wasteland" – 4:21
  9. "Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes" – 4:52
  10. "Love Her Like Me" – 3:58
  11. "Mansfield" – 4:56
  12. "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" – 4:39

2005 reissue bonus disc track listing

  1. "Your Song" (With Alessandro Safina) – 4:21
  2. "Teardrops" (With Lulu) – 4:46
  3. "The North Star" – 5:32
  4. "Original Sin" (Junior's Earth Mix) – 3:55
  5. "Your Song" (With Alessandro Safina) (Almighty Mix) – 4:31

B-sides

Song Format
"God Never Came There" (3:51) I Want Love CD (UK)
"The North Star" (5:28) I Want Love CD (UK)
"Did Anybody Sleep with Joan of Arc" (4:20) This Train Don't Stop There Anymore (UK)

Music videos

The music video for the song "I Want Love" was directed by Sam Taylor and featured actor Robert Downey Jr. lip-synching to the song. He was the only one to appear in the video that appears to have been shot in one take, as there are no edits.

The music video for the song "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" featured Justin Timberlake portraying a young Elton.

The music video for the song "Original Sin" featured Elizabeth Taylor and Mandy Moore. It also featured John playing the father of Moore's character and the husband of Taylor's character. Moore was the centre of the video, who plays a huge Elton John fan from the 1970s who is transported by a dream (a la The Wizard of Oz) to one of his concerts, where she socialises with various celebrities of the period (played by look-alikes). Then at the end she wakes up and Elton's character asks, "Who is this Elton John, anyway?" It also has more of an upbeat dance mix to the music.

Personnel

  • Rusty Anderson: Guitars, Electric Guitars, Bozouki
  • Gary Barlow: Backing Vocals
  • Jay Bellerose: Percussion
  • Paul Buckmaster: Horn and String Arrengments, Conductor
  • Paul Bushnell: Bass, Backing Vocals
  • Matt Chamberlain: Drums, Percussion
  • David Channing: Acoustic Guitar, DOBRO
  • Bruce Gaitsch: Acoustic Guitar
  • Elton John: Piano, Harmonium, Vocals
  • Davey Johnstone: Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Backing Vocals
  • Kudisan Kai Backing Vocals
  • Patrick Leonard: Hammond B-3 Organ, Mellotron, Keyboards
  • Nigel Olsson: Drums, Backing Vocals
  • Billy Preston: Electric and Hammond B-3 Organs
  • Tata Vega: Backing Vocals
  • Rufus Wainwright: Harmony Vocals
  • Stevie Wonder: Clavinet, Harmonica

Charting status

Certifications: UK #2 (Platinum x2)http://www.bpi.co.uk/certifiedawards/search.aspx; US #15 (Gold)http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?table=SEARCH_RESULTS&artist=Elton%20John&format=ALBUM&go=Search&perPage=50

References