Elton John - Madman Across the Water

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  "Madman Across the Water" is the fourth studio album by British singer-songwriter Elton John, released in 1971 through DJM Records.

John, Johnstone, Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson, who would be the main musicians on the next album (Honky Chateau), would soon join with percussionist Ray Cooper and form the best-known line-up of his mid-1970s band. As with all John songs during this period, the lyrics were penned by his writing partner, Bernie Taupin. This was the last album to be recorded at London's Trident Studios. They relocated to Château d'Hérouville for the next three albums. Caleb Quaye and Roger Pope wouldn't play with John again until "Rock of the Westies" in 1975, following Murray and Olsson's departure from the band.

Upon its release, "Madman Across the Water" was almost ignored in John's homeland, barely reaching #41 on the UK Albums Chart and spending only two weeks there. It has been the lowest-charting album of his career to date. The album fared better in North America, peaking at #8 on the U.S. Billboard Top Pop Albums and placing at #10 on the year-end list of 1972. It received Gold by the RIAA in February 1972, achieving $1 million in sales at wholesale value just in the United States. In 1998, the album was certified Multi-Platinum, representing shipments of over 2 million units in the U.S.

The title song was set to be released on John's previous album "Tumbleweed Connection". However, it was set aside and would eventually be re-recorded and serve as the title track of this album. Previous versions of the song (from the Tumbleweed sessions with Mick Ronson on guitar) can still be found, specifically on the remastered Tumbleweed Connection CD.

When it was released in 'The Classic Years' collection, it was the first album not to feature any bonus tracks. One known track recorded at the time, "Rock Me when He's Gone," was released on the 1992 compilation "Rare Masters". The song was written for and recorded by one of John's long-time friends, Long John Baldry. This was John's first album in which he plays his piano and no other keyboards and the first album in which Davey Johnstone played on, a role that would continue for decades, and he contributed acoustic guitar, mandolin and sitar; he would join John's band full-time for "Honky Chateau".

Track listing

All music composed by Elton John, all lyrics written by Bernie Taupin.

Side one
  1. "Tiny Dancer" – 6:15
  2. "Levon" – 5:22
  3. "Razor Face" – 4:44
  4. "Madman Across the Water" – 5:56
Side two
  1. "Indian Sunset" – 6:45
  2. "Holiday Inn" – 4:17
  3. "Rotten Peaches" – 4:56
  4. "All the Nasties" – 5:08
  5. "Goodbye" – 1:48


  • Elton John: piano, vocals
  • Roger Pope: drums (Tracks 1, 3 & 6)
  • David Glover: bass guitar (Tracks 1, 3 & 6)
  • Caleb Quaye: electric guitar (Tracks 1–3), acoustic guitar (Track 6)
  • BJ Cole: steel guitar (Track 1)
  • Davey Johnstone: acoustic guitar (Tracks 1, 4 & 7), mandolin (Track 6), sitar (Track 6)
  • Lesley Duncan, Sue & Sunny, Barry St. John, Liza Strike, Roger Cooke, Tony Burrows, Terry Steele, Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson: backing vocals (Tracks 1, 6 & 7)
  • Paul Buckmaster: arrangement (Tracks 1, 2, 4–6, 8 & 9)
  • Barry Morgan: drums (Track 2)
  • Brian Odgers: bass guitar (Track 2)
  • Brian Dee: harmonium (Track 2)
  • Rick Wakeman: organ (Tracks 3, 4 & 7)
  • Jack Emblow: accordion (Track 3)
  • Terry Cox: drums (Tracks 4, 5 & 7)
  • Herbie Flowers: bass guitar (Madman Tracks 4, 5 & 7)
  • Ray Cooper: percussion (Track 4), tambourine (Tracks 7 & 8)
  • Chris Spedding: electric guitar (Track 4), slide guitar (Track 7)
  • Diana Lewis: ARP synthesizer (Tracks 4 & 7)
  • Chris Lawrence: double bass (Track 5)
  • Cantores em Ecclesia Choir: backing vocals (Tracks 5 & 8)
  • Nigel Olsson: drums (Track 8)
  • Dee Murray: bass guitar (Track 8)


  • Producer: Gus Dudgeon
  • Engineer: Robin Geoffrey Cable
  • Remastering: Tony Cousins
  • Editing: Gus Skinas
  • Digital transfers: Ricky Graham
  • Surround sound: Greg Penny
  • Assistant: Crispin Murray
  • Orchestra contractor: David Katz
  • Choir director: Robert Kirby
  • Arranger: Paul Buckmaster
  • Art direction: David Larkham
  • Design: David Larkham
  • Artwork: Gill, Yanis
  • Illustrations: David Larkham
  • Photography: Bob Gruen, David Larkham
  • Cover photo: David Larkham
  • Liner notes: Gus Dudgeon, John Tobler

Elton John - Madman Across the Water

UK DJM DJLPH 420 (1971)

Album produced by Gus dudgeon

The vinyl record has remained in excellent condition.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean and unmarked.

The albums textured hinged cover is in excellent condition, displaying only minor signs of wear.

The covers 10 page booklet is excellently presented, and correctly adhered in place.



Chart (1972) Position
U.S. Top Pop Albums 10
Italian Albums Chart 54


Region Certification
United States (RIAA)

2× Platinum

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