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Elton John-Diamonds 3CD box set unboxing/review

  November 16, 2017

After writing a long post explaining all the reasons I wasn’t going to buy this, I went ahead and bought this. At first glance, the song selection on the first two discs (and the 2 disc version) really resembles the 1970-2002 Greatest Hits collection, except for leaving out a few things like “Levon,” which I would’ve included rather than something like “Honky Cat.” Some have also noted how this, once again, seems to completely ignore the fact that the Tumbleweed Connection album exists, which is odd considering how critics just love to compare every album he comes out with with it. It also replaces the studio version of “Don’t let the sun go down on me” with the live version with George Michael.

Some other complaints might be that the songs are not in chronological order, and above all, that this has been done before. It’s basically tacking on a few extra songs that are more recent. I liked that it has “Song for guy,” but it’s disappointing that it leaves off things like “funeral for a friend.” I could probably go the rest of my life without hearing “Your song” or “Crocodile Rock” again, but I suppose they’re the ones everyone knows. I can’t go to the grocery store without hearing “Bennie and the Jets.” On the other hand, “Victim of Love” was certainly a weird thing to include.

Even though this was the anniversary of Elton and Bernie having worked together for 50 years, this does seem like just another rehashed greatest hits collection with nothing new. If you have all his albums, you probably have all or most of this, despite the fact that a few collaborations aren’t on his studio albums. I checked, and I have every single song on at least one other release.

Collections are great for casual fans who only know him from the radio or the Lion King or something, but it’s hardly interesting for die hard fans with eleven copies of Captain Fantastic and the Brown dirt cowboy on various formats. And yet I bought it anyway, because I’m apparently a sucker and was lured in by the book and the fact that Amazon’s price was half as much as the price on the official site. How many Greatest hits collection does a person need though? I realize Elton has an unusually large number of songs that would qualify, but why not just rerelease the older ones if there is no huge difference?

Still, the packaging is nice. The postcards are nice, but I’d still rather have actual photos I haven’t seen instead of artistic renderings. The book has pictures of the singles and annotations of each of them. I’m not even sure I’m going to listen to this, since I prefer listening to albums in their entirety rather than collections. I still think To Be Continued and Rare Masters are the only decent and interesting collections, and would rather havehad a continuation of either of these. There are still Elton John songs that were only ever released on vinyl as b-sides, why not release some of those? And there must be plenty of demos and live recordings in the vaults, so why not release some of that as bonus discs? It just feels like a missed opportunity, since no real new material has been released.

Still, nice packaging, worthwhile if you like collections, only like his more popular songs, or don’t have all his albums. I can’t really justify recommending longtime fans to buy this because they won’t be getting anything new.