Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Elton John Greatest Hits 1970-2002

When I first came across this album many years ago in my Dad's CD collection, (most of which I've now acquired) I remember how it caught my eye. It was so simple, so empty, so different than all the others. Here was this 2-disc set covering more than 30 years of musical genius and that's the cover? An incomplete, hand drawn portrait of a young Sir Elton John with giant yellow sunglasses and a title?

That's right. There's the cover and it's absolutely brilliant. The negative space surrounding the illustration truly allows us to focus on the musician who has been placed just slightly off centre. The designer of this album has chosen an iconic representation of Elton John's career in the form of yellow sunglasses. Any EJ fan would tell you that he is known for his lavish costumes and accessories and this cover art is no exception. This one element summarizes an entire career while revealing a lot about Elton John himself. Through the glasses however, we can still clearly see the telling eyes of a young Sir Elton John. At the risk of sounding a little bit out there, it's almost as if the sunglasses symbolize the music which in turn allows us (the listeners) to truly see Elton John as a human being.

At the age of 12, no, I did not have a sense for how great this cover really was. Looking at it today however, I can appreciate it much more for its subtleties.

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