I want you specifically to explore the connection between the success of Elton John with that of the early Bruce Springsteen. Add in some Billy Joel references to fill out the comparisons if you must, but you have to do this. You understand I would simply blog it myself, but then I care about hipster credibility and would never openly acknowledge having ever thought about any of those artists unironically. You, on the other hand, are totally free from such concerns, thanks to the whole "Creature of the night" shtick. Get too (sic) it!I resent the implication that my deviant lifestyle is mere "shtick," but aside from that it struck me as an exceedingly good idea.
As I was riding on a stationary bike, listening to my "Nils Lofgren Station" on Pandora, the fortuitous pairing of "Madman Across the Water" followed by the Boss' version of "Blinded by the Light" came on, and I couldn't help but notice the resounding mutual influence of "The Band" on each song. Serious Band influence there, both in the instrumentation and the song structure. The Band's most famous style is a rootsy brand of Americana (or Canadiana), with songs about the marginalized and defeated ("Rag Mama Rag," "The Weight," "When You Awake," and most of all the masterful "Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"), songs that are also marked especially by the piano and a certain semi martial snare drum style.
Now naturally, The Boss is a poor Irish/Italian boy from Jersey, while Reginald Kenneth Dwight emerged out of the Middlesex diaspora in England. Springsteen's music is drenched in a working-class Dylanesque quality, while Bernie Taupin's lyrics are often somewhat disposable and sentimental. But the real comparison here lies in the music, and this brings up the issue of Billy Joel. The parallels with both John and Springsteen are evident: for Bruce's Jersey, we get Billy's Long Island, whereas for all the sentimentality of "Daniel" and "Your Song" Billy counters with the devastating schmaltz of "Piano Man" and "She's Got a Way" (the last of which is truly one of my favorite songs ever).
If we were to chart some kind of trajectory for these three, obviously Springsteen would have the greatest amount of credibility, followed by Joel and then John. His recent "Seeger Sessions" and the 2001 album "The Rising" were both great. Elton has not been that much of a presence since the 90's and his crowning moment, namely, the death of Princess Diana. On the pure volume of money earned, I suspect Elton comes out on top, with Billy and Springsteen vying for second, though this is just pure speculation.
Somehow I wanted to tie in the meteoric rise of Bob Marley throughout the 70s, but the connection is evading me at the moment. In a future Notebook I will have to get back to you all on that one.