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A long unavailable curio in Elton John’s illustrious catalogue, Friends – released in March 1971 – is the soundtrack to a Paramount film, directed by James Bond and Alfie director Lewis Gilbert. Released between Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across The Water, it was recorded at Trident Studios in central London in late 1970. Elton recorded it with drummer Nigel Olsson, bassist Dee Murray and guitarist Caleb Quaye. Produced by Gus Dudgeon with strings arranged by Paul Buckmaster, it was the core line-up that had made that April’s much-loved Elton John album.
Elton John – Original Soundtrack Recording "Friends"
As Elton had suddenly been propelled to stardom in the US following his Troubadour shows in LA (as lovingly fictionalised in Rocketman), then-manager Ray Williams connected Elton & lyricist Bernie Taupin with director Gilbert through his son, John, who was the manager of British rock group, Family. Although the film – starring Sean Bury & Anicée Alvina – was to spawn a 1974 sequel, it was not a great commercial or critical success. Like the film, the album, which is mainly instrumental, has a dedicated cult following. One of the main vocal tracks, "Can I Put You On", was in Elton’s live set for most of 1971.
Overseen with customary forensic attention to details by Elton’s archive team, Friends is an absolute feast for fans of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Mastered in stereo at Abbey Road by Sean Magee, the album is presented in marbled coloured pink vinyl, to match its sleeve.
A1 Friends 2:20
A2 Honey Roll 3:00
A3 Variations On "Friends" 1:45
A4 Theme (The First Kiss) / Seasons 3:52
A5 Variations On Michelle's Song (A Day In The Country) 2:44
A6 Can I Put You On 5:52
B1 Michelle's Song 4:16
B2 I Meant To Do My Work Today (A Day In The Country) 1:33
B3 Four Moods 10:56
B4 Seasons Reprise 1:33