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To Be Continued...

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Elton John 10/31/2000

Review

This four-CD set has had a somewhat confused history, mostly owing to licensing changes and the mergers and acquisitions of various record labels. Prepared in the late '80s by MCA Records, which had the rights to Elton John's U.S. catalog, To Be Continued... marked a major improvement over the sound of his extant CDs of the period. But MCA's rights lapsed in the 1990s, and the Elton John catalog reverted to Polydor Records, which put it back out in upgraded editions on the Island Records label. This set was deleted by 1994, and was soon selling for serious amounts of money as a collector's item. Then, in 1999, MCA's parent company, Universal Music, bought Polydor, and suddenly this box reappeared. As to its virtues, the 68 songs here include all of the highlights of the first 25 years of Elton John's career -- not just the hits and the notable album tracks, but outtakes, unissued live tracks, and demos. Disc one opens with the first original song that Elton John ever recorded, a solo composition called "Come Back Baby," cut with Bluesology, his mid-'60s band, and also includes the solo demo of "Your Song" and a previously unissued outtake of "Gray Seal"; their presence alone ensures that most fans will regard this set as a must-own item. There's nothing quite as compelling as those early treasures, but disc two and disc three do pull together all of the essential sides from across ten years of history, including John's work with John Lennon, Kiki Dee, and France Gall, and includes a previously unissued live version of "I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)." Disc four, covering the years 1982-1990, is highlighted by the single mix of "Act of War," featuring Millie Jackson, and a previously unissued live version of "Carla Etude." The accompanying booklet includes some very interesting reminiscences by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, but obviously not enough on the specific tracks -- the producers felt compelled to add in a free-standing sheet detailing recording dates and personnel. Astonishingly, the sound on this set has held up extremely well, despite its dating back to the 1990 -- one can hear Caleb Quaye and Les Thatcher's guitars cleanly on the outtake of "Gray Seal," and the piano, bass, and orchestra on "Friends" are close and vivid. And the more recent stuff sounds even better. It's a rare occurrence in pop music reissues, especially with all of the upgrades in sound, sources, and technology going on all of the time, but producer Andy McKaie built something to last with this box. ~ Bruce Eder
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Come Back Baby Elton John 2:43
  3. 2 Lady Samantha Elton John 3:2
  4. 3 It's Me That You Need Elton John 3:59
  5. 4 Your Song Elton John 3:31
  6. 5 Rock & Roll Madonna Elton John 4:16
  7. 6 Bad Side of the Moon Elton John 3:10
  8. 7 Your Song Elton John 3:59
  9. 8 Take Me to the Pilot Elton John 3:43
  10. 9 Border Song Elton John 3:20
  11. 10 Sixty Years On Elton John 4:55
  12. 11 Country Comfort Elton John 5:6
  13. 12 Grey Seal Elton John 3:33
  14. 13 Friends Elton John 2:22
  15. 14 Levon Elton John 5:20
  16. 15 Tiny Dancer Elton John 6:13
  17. 16 Madman Across the Water Elton John 5:55
  18. 17 Honky Cat Elton John 5:11
  19. 18 Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters Elton John 4:58
  20. 1 Rocket Man Elton John 4:39
  21. 2 Daniel Elton John 3:51
  22. 3 Crocodile Rock Elton John 3:53
  23. 4 Bennie and the Jets Elton John 5:17
  24. 5 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Elton John 3:13
  25. 6 All the Girls Love Alice Elton John 5:6
  26. 7 Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding Elton John 11:5
  27. 8 Whenever You're Ready (We'll Go Steady Again) Elton John 2:51
  28. 9 Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting Elton John 4:52
  29. 10 Jack Rabbit Elton John 1:49
  30. 11 Harmony Elton John 2:44
  31. 12 Young Man's Blues Elton John 4:39
  32. 13 Step Into Christmas Elton John 4:27
  33. 14 The Bitch Is Back Elton John 3:41
  34. 15 Pinball Wizard Elton John 5:12
  35. 16 Someone Saved My Life Tonight Elton John 6:41
  36. 1 Philadelphia Freedom Elton John 5:36
  37. 2 One Day (At a Time) Elton John 3:46
  38. 3 Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds Elton John 6:9
  39. 4 I Saw Her Standing There Elton John 3:38
  40. 5 Island Girl Elton John 3:43
  41. 6 Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word Elton John 3:45
  42. 7 Don't Go Breaking My Heart Elton John 4:29
  43. 8 I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford) Elton John 3:31
  44. 9 Ego Elton John 3:56
  45. 10 Song for Guy Elton John 6:37
  46. 11 Mama Can't Buy You Love Elton John 4:1
  47. 12 Cartier Elton John 0:52
  48. 13 Little Jeannie Elton John 5:5
  49. 14 Donner Pour Donner Elton John 4:23
  50. 15 Fanfare/Chloe Elton John 6:17
  51. 16 Retreat Elton John 4:42
  52. 17 The Blue Eyes Elton John 3:25
  53. 1 Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny) Elton John 5:7
  54. 2 I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues Elton John 4:40
  55. 3 I'm Still Standing Elton John 2:59
  56. 4 Sad Songs (Say So Much) Elton John 4:7
  57. 5 Act of War [Single Mix] Elton John 4:40
  58. 6 Nikita Elton John 5:40
  59. 7 Candle in the Wind [Single Edit] Elton John 3:58
  60. 8 Carla Etude Elton John 4:47
  61. 9 Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me Elton John 5:36
  62. 10 I Don't Wanna Go on With You Like That [12" Shep Pettibone Mix] Elton John 7:20
  63. 11 Give Peace a Chance Elton John 3:45
  64. 12 Sacrifice Elton John 5:4
  65. 13 Made for Me Elton John 4:19
  66. 14 You Gotta Love Someone Elton John 4:54
  67. 15 I Swear I Heard the Night Talkin' Elton John 4:28
  68. 16 Easier to Walk Away Elton John 4:22

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