Elton John will reissue his personal pick for his favorite concert recording, 17-11-70, on Record Store Day, with the gig’s entire performance available on vinyl for the first time.
The reissue, dubbed 17.11.70+, comes as John was anointed as the first Worldwide Record Store Day Legend to mark the annual celebration’s 10th anniversary.
“Happy 10th birthday to Record Store Day,” John said of the honor. “I love record stores, I can go to the record store in [Las] Vegas and spend three hours in there. Just the smell of it, the looking at it, the wonder of it, the memories.”
In a video recorded for Record Store Day, the singer talked about his love of vinyl and his most recent purchase, a bootleg copy of Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo that “cost a fortune.” John also admitted that he cried when Tower Records closed, but he’s heartened by the surge of vinyl sales and the support of independent record stores.
“I love vinyl so much,” John said. “The tactile nature, the ritual of it, looking at the sleeve … especially with the old albums and the liner notes – who played on them, the process of putting it on, the needle going on and the sound coming out. And it does sound better, I know it does. I’ve been around long enough to know, I’ve been in so many studios … It does sound better. So it’s just the wonder of having vinyl.”
John added that he sold his massive record collection in 1990 at auction for $ 250,000, which he donated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Two years ago, the singer decided to start a new collection and “slowly” began amassing records; fast-forward to today and his new vinyl collection contains over 7,000 pieces.
17-11-70, originally released in 1971 after the live radio broadcast of the performance was widely bootlegged, initially only included six tracks, including an 18-minute medley featuring John’s take on the Beatles’ “Get Back.”
A subsequent CD reissue tacked an additional song – “Amoreena” – back onto the track list, but the 2-LP Record Store Day version marks the first time the entire 13-song recording has been officially released.
“The album 17-11-70 was not meant to be a live one at all; we did one of the first-ever stereo radio broadcasts live at A&R Recording Studios in New York City in 1970 on the 17th of November,” John said of the live LP. “It was Phil Ramone’s studio, one of the greatest producers of all time, and we just went in the booth and played it as a three-piece: Nigel Olsson on drums and vocals, Dee Murray on bass and vocals, and myself.”
John continued, “There was a studio audience of about 100 sitting outside the booth, hearing it coming through the loud speakers, and we just played. I’m astonished by how good we were, listening to this record a lot of it was improvised, and you can do that when you’re a three-piece band because I’m really the lead instrument, and Dee and Nigel were so brilliant at following what I did. There’s a 16-minute track on it that was completely improvised, more or less, and I’m very proud of it: I think it’s one of the greatest live albums ever made. It wasn’t initially coming out as a live album, but there were so many bootlegs in those days that the record company put it out. I’m glad they did because it really is something I’m very, very proud of.”
17.11.70+ will be released as a 2-LP set on 180-gram vinyl, with all the recordings remastered by mastering engineer extraordinaire Bob Ludwig. Additionally, the version of “Amoreena” features a different mix than the controversial take that appeared on the 17-11-70 reissue.
17.11.70+ Track List
A1 “Take Me To The Pilot”
A2 “Honky Tonk Women”
A3 “Sixty Years On”
A4 “Can’t Put You On”
B1 “Bad Side Of The Moon”
B2 “Burn Down The Mission” (Incl. “My Baby Left Me” / “Get Back”)
C1 “Indian Sunset” *
C2 “Amoreena” (Newly remixed bonus track)
C3 “Your Song” *
D1 “Country Comfort” *
D2 “I Need You To Turn To” *
D3 “Border Song” *
D4 “My Father’s Gun” *
* Previously unreleased bonus track