Elton John seemed to arrive out of nowhere when "Your Song" exploded on American radio in 1970 and his self-titled LP flew up the charts.
Many presumed it was his first album, but the previous summer he had released Empty Sky in England. The eight-minute title track is a strong rocker and the beautiful ballad "Skyline Pigeon" remained a part of John's live repertoire for decades, but the majority of the album is simply too twee and slight. The production is thin and simply can't compare to the work that John crafted in the 1970s with the brilliant Gus Dudgeon. "Making the Empty Sky album still holds the nicest memories for me," John said years later. "I suppose it's difficult to explain the enthusiasm we felt as the album began to take shape." The rest of the world wouldn't share John's enthusiasm until his timeless second record hit shelves the following year.