Big-time Father John Misty fan Elton John has been in career retrospective mode for a good long while now. He released a saucy memoir and oversaw his own fantastical biopic. He launched a three-year-long farewell tour, now in limbo due to the pandemic. And today he has announced Elton: Jewel Box, a box set featuring rarities, B-sides, and deep cuts from across his career.
The set spreads 60 tracks — some of them previously unreleased — over eight CDs housed in a hardcover book. Sean Magee remastered all the tracks at Abbey Road Studios. The first two discs feature some of John’s favorite deep cuts and are accompanied with track-by-track commentary. Discs three, four, and five included some of John’s earliest work with co-songwriter Bernie Taupin from 1965 to 1971. The sixth and seventh discs feature select B-sides from 1976 to 2005, and the eighth includes the songs mentioned in John’s memoir Me.
John shared this statement along with the announcement:
To delve back through every period of my career in such detail for Jewel Box” has been an absolute pleasure. Hearing these long lost tracks again, I find it hard to comprehend just how prolific Bernie and I were during the early days. The songs just poured out of us, and the band were just unbelievable in the studio. I always want to push forward with everything I do and look to the future, but having time during lockdown to take stock and pull these moments from my memory from each era has been a joy. As a devout record collector myself, this project has really excited me, and I couldn’t be happier with the level of craft involved in such a carefully curated, lovingly constructed boxset. I’m sure my fans will enjoy it as much as I have.
The first track shared from Jewel Box is “Sing Me No Sad Songs,” a 1969 demo that previously was only available in muddy lo-fi on YouTube. The sound has been cleaned up quite nicely here, all the better to pick up lyrical references to future John songs “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “Sad Songs (Say So Much).” Listen below.
Elton: Jewel Box is out 11/13 on UMe. Pre-order it here.