ELTON JOHN

 

 

 

 

Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cow-Boy
Gouache on paper
80 cm x 45 cm
1974

In June 1974 Elton John boarded on the SS France liner to the United States.
The musician was due there to prepare and rehearse for his upcoming 1974 US Tour.
The tour was to start at the Dallas Convention Center on September 25, 1974, with the last date of its 45 venues on the American territory scheduled at the Philadelphia Spectrum
on December 3, 1974. Later in the same month, the 1974 US Tour ended in apotheosis with the five legendary concerts given in the UK at the London Hammersmith Odeon.
During his Atlantic crossing on the SS France, Elton John wrote the compositions of the album that would become his ninth one,
Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy, a recording that evoked the beginning of his collaboration with his life time song-writing partner, the lyricist Bernie Taupin.

I was fortunate enough to be part of the entourage that accompanied Elton John in Southampton for his embarkation aboard the French ship.
This is where and when I heard about the title of the upcoming album, and took knowledge of its theme.
Based on the information which had been given to me, I resolved to try my luck and to offer my own vision for the sleeve’s artwork of the future album.
I sent my creation to Elton John’s management during the Fall of 1974, after that I had previously made a reproduction of it (a very rough quality picture, reproduced here above).
I never got any reaction to my shipment. At the time, I deduced that my work had simply not met the decision makers’ favors, just telling myself that right from the start I always knew that my attempt could fail -which was the case, obviously-, and thus I just quickly forgot the episode, and never raised the subject again.

When the album was finally released in May 1975,
it is of course with some great excitement and curiosity
that I discovered the record (unquestionably one of Elton John’s best efforts), and its packaging as well, showing the British artist Alan Aldridge’s artwork. Which is :