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To Be Continued...

To Be Continued...

5.0 1
by Elton John
Most box sets supplement a few scattered hits with album-side tracks and rarities. When it comes to cataloguing the second bestselling solo artist in the history of recorded music (behind Garth Brooks), however, questions about what to include and what to leave out become pretty tricky. Which brings us to the masterfully assembled four-CD


Most box sets supplement a few scattered hits with album-side tracks and rarities. When it comes to cataloguing the second bestselling solo artist in the history of recorded music (behind Garth Brooks), however, questions about what to include and what to leave out become pretty tricky. Which brings us to the masterfully assembled four-CD compendium of Elton John's songs, To Be Continued..., an elegant collection that sacrifices a few of the tunemith's hits to capture the amazing depth and breadth of his genius. First released in 1990 and finally restored to print in 2000, To Be Continued... is the definitive collection of Elton's and lyricist Bernie Taupin's work. The arsenal of hits, primarily wistful, elegant ballads ("Daniel," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word") and feel-good rockers ("Bennie and the Jets," "Crocodile Rock," "I'm Still Standing") is nothing short of staggering, but album-siders such as "Country Comfort," "Harmony," "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters," and "Tiny Dancer" (recently resurrected by the movie Almost Famous) make it clear that Sir Elton has recorded a warehouse full of Top 40-worthy rock classics that never got their chance to shine. As for the rarities, the lyrically challenged "Come Back Baby" (written by Elton alone when he was a member of the band Bluesology in 1965), the charmingly bashful demo of "Your Song," and the whimsical take of John Lennon's "One Day at a Time" (with Lennon on backing vocals) reveal the human side of Captain Fantastic. Lennon's figure looms throughout To Be Continued...; the set includes Elton's versions of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Give Peace a Chance," as well as Lennon's final live performance when he joined Elton at New York's Madison Square Garden to play the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There." Disc four's moving "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)" is Elton's Lennon eulogy. But Lennon is not the only friend paying a visit here. Stevie Wonder blows harmonica on "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues," Dusty Springfield lends her pipes to "The Bitch Is Back," and don't go forgetting a certain duet with Ms. Kiki Dee. The booklet includes color photographs of Elton (in all his outrageous glory) and Bernie and an extensive interview in which they reveal the stories behind the songs. (Did you know "Philadelphia Freedom" was inspired by Billie Jean King's professional tennis team?) If its title is any indication, To Be Continued... will be followed by another box, though it's hard to imagine them surpassing what's on these four discs.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Bruce Eder
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.

Product Details

Release Date:


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elton John   Primary Artist,Piano,Drums,Keyboards,Vocals,Mellotron
Casey Jones   Overdubs
Rick Wakeman   Organ
Millie Jackson   Vocals
Nik Kershaw   Guitar
John Lennon   Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Spinners   Background Vocals
Dusty Springfield   Background Vocals
Victor Feldman   Percussion
James Newton Howard   Synthesizer,Conductor,Electric Piano,Mellotron,fender rhodes
Robert John   Concert Master
Chris Spedding   Electric Guitar
Madeline Bell   Background Vocals
Bill Champlin   Background Vocals
Roger Cook   Background Vocals
Kiki Dee   Background Vocals
Lesley Duncan   Background Vocals
Herbie Flowers   Bass
Roger Glover   Bass
Tony Hazzard   Background Vocals
Davey Johnstone   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Mandolin,Vocals,Background Vocals
Clydie King   Background Vocals
Tim Renwick   Guitar
Sweet Pea Atkinson   Background Vocals
Shirley Lewis   Background Vocals
Ken Scott   Synthesizer
Kenny Passarelli   Bass,Background Vocals
David Paton   Bass
Brian Dee   Organ,Harmonium
Bob Babbitt   Bass
Guy Babylon   Keyboards
Leroy Bell   Guitar
Thom Bell   Conductor,Keyboards
Tony Bell   Guitar
Rex Bishop   Bass
Jacques Bolognesi   Trombone
Harry Bowens   Background Vocals
Stuart Brown   Guitar
Paul Buckmaster   Conductor
Tony Burrows   Background Vocals
Alan Carvell   Background Vocals
Lenny Castro   Conga
Jean Louis Chautemps   Saxophone
Charles Collins   Drums
Ray Cooper   Percussion,Conga,Cymbals,Tambourine,Vibes,Shaker
Paulinho Da Costa   Percussion
Terry Cox   Drums
Ian Duck   Harmonica
Bobby Eli   Guitar
Chuck Findley   Trombone,Trumpet
Carl Fortina   Accordion
Clive Franks   Bass
Kay Garner   Background Vocals
Mel Gaynor   Drums
Colin Green   Guitar
Alain Hatot   Saxophone
David Hentschel   Synthesizer
Jerry Hey   Flugelhorn
Clive Hicks   12-string Guitar
Steve Holly   Drums
Jim Horn   Piccolo,Alto Saxophone
Gordon Huntley   Steel Guitar
Mick Inkpen   Drums
Paul Jackson   Guitar
Mortonette Jenkins   Background Vocals
Marlena Jeter   Background Vocals
Ivan Julian   Trumpet
Michael Landau   Guitar
Jody Linscott   Percussion
Dennis Lopez   Percussion
Steve Lukather   Guitar
Fred Mandel   Synthesizer,Guitar,Keyboards
Reggie McBride   Bass
Donald Ray Mitchell   Background Vocals
Jonathan Moffett   Drums
Barry Morgan   Drums
Dave Murphy   Saxophone
Dee Murray   Bass,Background Vocals
Tony Murray   Bass
Gordon Neville   Background Vocals
Brian Odgers   Bass
Nigel Olsson   Drums,Background Vocals
Ann Orson   Background Vocals
David Paich   Organ
Lenny Pickett   Tenor Saxophone
Roger Pope   Drums
Caleb Quaye   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals
Dave Richmond   Bass
Barry St. John   Background Vocals
Liza Strike   Background Vocals
Thatcher   Acoustic Guitar,Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Larry Washington   Percussion
Maxine Willard Waters   Background Vocals
Oren Waters   Background Vocals
Alan Weighall   Bass
Romeo Williams   Bass
Stevie Wonder   Harmonica
Richie Zito   Acoustic Guitar
Diana Lewis   Synthesizer
Sunny   Background Vocals
Johnny Van Derek   Violin
Julia Waters   Background Vocals
Sue   Background Vocals
Frank Clark   Acoustic Guitar
Randy Jackson   Bass
Alvin Taylor   Drums
Winston O'Boogie   Guitar
Jessie Mae Smith   Background Vocals
Tony Barrows   Background Vocals
Deon Eustus   Bass
Sherlie Matthews   Background Vocals
Michael Mason   Synclavier
Tower Of Power Horns   Overdubs

Technical Credits

Elton John   Composer,Producer,Remixing,Arp String Ensemble
James Newton Howard   Composer,String Arrangements,Orchestral Arrangements
Robert John   Orchestra Leader
Davey Johnstone   Composer
Gene Page   Orchestral Arrangements
Ken Scott   Engineer
Thom Bell   Arranger
Michel Berger   Producer
Paul Buckmaster   Arranger
Gus Dudgeon   Producer,Simmons
Stuart Epps   Engineer
Clive Franks   Producer,Remixing
Jim Horn   Brass Arrangment
Marty Paich   Arranger,String Arrangements
Ann Orson   Composer
Gary Osborne   Composer
Bill Price   Engineer
Bernie Taupin   Composer
Don Was   Producer
Clive Thomas   Engineer
Chris Thomas   Producer
Greg Adams   Bass Arrangement
Steve Brown   Producer
Jack Baverstock   Producer
Dinah Card   Composer
Carte Blanche   Composer

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To Be Continued... 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is One Of The Greatest Box Set Of All Time. It's so big (like An Record Or LP). Rare Photos, Rare Songs like Pinball Wizard From Tommy. #1 Elton John Collection.