Will there ever be an official release of Elton John's Dick James Demos?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by daleyguy, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. daleyguy

    daleyguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Alberta, Canada
    There are a ton of early demos by Elton, many not released on the bootleg collections. Do we have to wait till Elton is "gone" to have quality releases of this material. I wonder if anyone has ever asked Elton about this issue. His fans would love to have this material.
    seg763 likes this.
  2. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    Will there ever be any decent Elton reissues again? It's not looking promising so far.
    EddieT likes this.
  3. seg763

    seg763 Forum Resident

    Captain Fantastic was the first LP I ever bought and just today I learned of the song Scarecrow, its connection to Curtains and the early unpublished Elton Bernie demos. listening to them on youtube right now.
    I'd love to see this stuff available.
    Randon Ton likes this.
  4. javilu77

    javilu77 Forum Resident

    Buenos Aires
    After the Deluxe Cpt Fantastic/Elton John/Tumbleweed/Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (with the idiotic cover versions no one cares about as bonus) the deluxes stopped.
    Perhaps it's lack of sales, perhaps it's something else. I would have enjoyed a "Madman across the Water" deluxe with the Friends soundtrack as bonus, as well as "Empty Sky" with 2 discs filled with demos.
  5. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :-plnktn-: Here are a few song titles (listen in the back of Philip Norman's biography of Elton John) that have yet to appear on any bootlegs from the 1967-1968 Dick James demos period:

    Swan Queen Of The Laughing Lake
    Year Of The Teddy Bear
    Mirrors Of My Mind
    Lemonade Lake
    You're My Woman
    Watching the Planes Go By
    Chinese Lady

    :kilroy: Have they been lost? Who knows. What is known is that a couple of lines of another Dick James demo entitled "Girl On Angel Pavement" surfaced at the beginning of this documentary, so presumably it exists in it's entirety somewhere:

    phillyal1, fredblue and mrjinks like this.
  6. kollektionist

    kollektionist Forum Resident

    The Friends soundtrack is on the Rare Masters set. Do we really need this again...?
    But definitely two thumbs up for the demos being released, further deluxe versions, a compilation of non-CD B-sides, BBC performances,... Still many options with the EJ catalog !
    fredblue and mrjinks like this.
  7. graystoke

    graystoke Forum Resident

    I did a double take on the thread title and burst out laughing!!!
    Scope J and mc7t like this.
  8. ranasakawa

    ranasakawa Forum Resident

  9. mrpleasant

    mrpleasant Music hoarder.

    The Dick James Demos are entirely different. The Legendary Covers are songs he sang and/or played piano on for low priced releases of the hits of the day in the late 60s and early 70s, some of them quite fun. The Dick James Demos are almost entirely Elton John compositions with varying levels of studio polish, and most of the songs entirely unreleased by anyone. Again, some of them are quite good.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
  10. javilu77

    javilu77 Forum Resident

    Buenos Aires
    Well, perhaps we can get a remastered stand alone release of the Friends Soundtrack?
    kollektionist likes this.
  11. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

  12. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    The weird part is that 3 of them were actually released on a Portuguese Ep that goes for hundreds of dollars for a crappy sounding copy.

    I like the songs for the most part, a few are very twee and simplistic. But For Rebecca and Angel Tree are really great songs.

    For the most part, I noticed that many of the unreleased bonus tracks were songs that he gave away or alternate recordings of a song he issued (like Slave). It has been suggested here that there are no (or few) outtakes from the albums, only demos, but regardless, I think Elton has a pattern established of 'no unreleased songs'.
  13. daleyguy

    daleyguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Alberta, Canada
    They really need to be officially released as I would think the sound quality would be much better than with the bootlegs. Plus there are a lot more demos than what's listed above.
  14. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: Well, here's at least one early John/Taupin composition of which, to the best of my knowledge, no Elton John demo has yet to emerge:

    fredblue likes this.
  15. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident

    I am rather late to this thread but I agree these demos need to be released.

    In order for them to retain ownership these do need to be released over the next year or so based on the 50 year copyright law in Europe.

    Even if they don't do this you can be sure other record companies will release them as is their right as they will be in the public domain.
    phillyal1 and mrpleasant like this.
  16. Todd W.

    Todd W. It's a Puggle

  17. Mr. L. Shade

    Mr. L. Shade New Member

    About a year ago, I stumbled on an archived EBAY listing for the long rumored Elton John Philips LP. It looked pretty legitimate. The disk (or disks) were from the estate of fairly successful British film director (Sorry I can't recall his name) to whom Elton had given him the copy to at some point.
    The funny thing was that the auction (which had a base price of 15000 pounds) was withdrawn by either EBAY or the listing seller, but obviously hung around long enough to get cached by another site. The tracks on the lp were as follows:
    Side 1
    1 When I Was Tealby Abbey
    2 And the Clock Goes Round
    3 Sitting Doing Nothing
    4 Turn To Me
    5 Angel Tree
    6 The Regimental Sgt Zippo
    Side 2
    7 A Dandelion Dies in the Wind
    8 You’ll Be Sorry to See Me Go
    9 You’re My Woman (aka Nina)
    10 Tartan Coloured Lady
    11 Hour Glass
    12 Watching the Planes Go By

    The listing seller embedded a java-based mp3 player featuring 30-45 second clips of all of the tracks, except for two. You're My Woman and Watching the Planes Go By were included as 2 minute clips. Enough so that I could get most of the lyrics to Planes down (You're My Woman was pretty awful and I never got around to transcribing that one). My big regret was that I did not record the cuts, as I had no facility (or knowledge of any software out there) to rip the audio off a streaming site. The tracks were on the site until they mysteriously disappeared about mid March 2017. When I went to search for the site this morning (after reading this post), I realized I could no longer find the Japanese web posting with the cached EBAY page on it. So, you are welcome to flame me for that oversight :-/. By the way, the recording is a full arrangement with horns and strings, guitar, bass, an EJ on piano and vocal. The arrangement is even more lush than the Tide Will Turn for Rebecca and in my opinion, the performance was the most spot on of any of the EJ's unreleased demos. THIS ONE SHOULD HAVE BEEN RELEASED!

    I did manage to post (most of ) the lyrics (with some errors, I am certain - I corrected a couple here but I am certain there are more)

    Look up in the sky,
    There's a dust speck(?) flying by.
    I Look up, and I don't know why,
    Seems that I spend most of my time,
    Watching The Planes Go By.

    The windows open and the curtains blow,
    Around my room where the lights are low.
    I've been to Bournemouth(?) and watched the stars,
    Wondering just how far away you are from me.

    I've been out of here. You're somewhere.
    Somewhere out there too far from me.
    And I want it to be,
    Like it was when the summer was here.
    Instead of just sitting here,
    Watching the planes go by.
    Mr.Sean, fredblue, mrjinks and 2 others like this.
  18. daleyguy

    daleyguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Alberta, Canada
    Thanks for the great info. I remember reading about the rumoured LP in one of the paper back biography's about Elton way back in the 70's. All this early material needs to be released!
  19. mrpleasant

    mrpleasant Music hoarder.

    It's been said before, I'll say it again: if Elton and Universal don't release this material soon, the 50 year copyright protection will end and someone will release it in much poorer sound than it undoubtedly exists in in the vaults. Sure hope Elton and Universal come to their senses and put out a nice package.

    I'm sure someone here or at one of the respected reissue sites (SDE, theseconddisc, etc.) would love to curate it.
  20. Mr. L. Shade

    Mr. L. Shade New Member

    Thanks for the nice comment, Daleyguy! BTW, Chinese Lady (or at least part of it) is available on YouTube

    Several posters contest as to whether or not it is really Elton singing and playing on it or someone's attempt at a cover. While the arrangement is totally unlike any of EJ's 67-69 work, the voice is too distinctive to be anyone but EJ.

  21. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: Just for the record, he made two different demos of "The Tide Will Turn For Rebecca." One a simple voice & piano recording and the other, the one you speak of. Here's the voice & piano version:

  22. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: And of course, there was this legitimately released version:

  23. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged

    Boise, ID.
    Interesting. This one that doesn't entirely convince THIS long-term Elton fan that it's him (thanks for posting, regardless)...

    What say others in this thread?
  24. kollektionist

    kollektionist Forum Resident

    I agree. The voice sounds nothing like Elton. The composition, the piano...possibly.
  25. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    I think there are a good number of decent songs on these releases, but the sound quality is miserable, with tons of unpleasant wow/flutter. A legit release from either tape or else professionally dubbed from acetates would be much appreciated.
    daleyguy and mrjinks like this.

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