December 12, 2008 – 3:36 am

Elton John had six Christmas shows over five days at the Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1973. He brought the house down again in 1974.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Christmas Party 1974 [no label, 2CD]

Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, December 24, 1974. Very good radio recording.

There was a time, not so many years ago, when the year-end period brought forth special Christmas releases and TV specials. There are memorable Christmas albums by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Motown even had a string of notable Christmas albums. Older fans still talk about Christmas TV specials by Kate Bush, The Carpenters (1976-1980) and, of course, Elton John (1974, 1982).

By year-end 1974, Elton John was probably as big a star as he thought he would have been, with hit albums such as Madman Across The Water, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player and the then megahit, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. On stage he was chatty and personable (even giving props to John Peel). The songs amounted to a greatest hits package (of the day) and, for that something extra, he had Rod Stewart and Gary Glitter join him on White Christmas.

Part of this Hammersmith Odeon show was broadcast live on the Old Grey Whistle Test on BBC and simulcast on radio. Fans might want to track down Elton John’s Christmas In London (Retro-Tone DVD), said to be an excellent video recording of the TV broadcast, save for the time code at the bottom of the screen. However, the video broadcast omits the songs between Skyline Pigeon and Candle In The Wind. It’s possible someone might put the entire show on YouTube but for those of us who are cinematically challenged, we’ll just have to settle for this sleigh ride down memory lane.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibit/s). As far as we can ascertain, this recording has never been officially released.

These tracks are no longer available for sharing.

Disc 1
Track 101. Skyline Pigeon
Track 102. I Need You To Turn To
Track 103. Border Song
Track 104. Country Comfort
Track 105. High Flying Bird
Track 106. Burn Down The Mission
Track 107. Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding
Track 108. Candle In The Wind
Track 109. Grimsby
Track 110. Rocket Man
Track 111. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Track 112. Daniel
Track 113. Grey Seal

Disc 2
Track 201. Bennie And The Jets
Track 202. Introductions
Track 203. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Track 204. I Saw Her Standing There
Track 205. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Track 206. Honky Cat
Track 207. Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
Track 208. Crocodile Rock
Track 209. The Bitch Is Back
Track 210. Your Song
Track 211. White Christmas (with Rod Stewart and Gary Glitter)
Track 212. Outro

Fans might also like to check out the Elton John Christmas Party compilation, where he kicks off the album with Step Into Christmas. Other acts include the The Flaming Lips, The Ventures, Kate Bush and U2. Click on the link to order the album.

  1. 19 Responses to “‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 1974”

  2. any informations about the musicians in the band?

    By Walter on Dec 13, 2008

  3. Broadcast live by BBC TV’s Old Grey Whistle Test and Radio One. The band is:
    Davey Johnstone - guitar
    Dee Murray - bass guitar
    Nigel Olsson - drums
    Ray Cooper - percussion/organ
    and a brass section

    By Admin on Dec 13, 2008

  4. Great stuff. Interesting guest appearances. (Rod Stewart there is helping get me psyched for the Faces reunion allegedly in the works).

    Thanks again

    By SocietysPliers on Dec 13, 2008

  5. Track 111 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road say “no permissions to read file”

    By matt on Dec 14, 2008

  6. Matt, try again. The server may have been busy. It works when I try it.:)

    By Society's Pliers on Dec 14, 2008

  7. thanks for sharing this great show

    By Matt on Dec 15, 2008

  8. Jolly good, thanx!

    By Timmy on Dec 16, 2008

  9. Great show, and great to have it for my archives. Thanks for this, and the others.

    By jb on Dec 16, 2008

  10. Vintage Elton in his prime!..My very first concert was a few weekes before this show…Elton in Philadelphia..Kiki Dee opened…good times!

    By mike traynor on Dec 17, 2008

  11. Something Amazing!

    By Lucille on Dec 19, 2008

  12. Great early Elton John. He was at his best in the early 1970s. It seemed that, after Yellow Brick Road there was a sliding scale where the more he “flamed” the sappier his music got. Thanks for this one. It was a last chance to be great, I guess…

    By O.B. Dan on Dec 20, 2008

  13. Saw Elton with Elvis Costello on EC’s great new show “Spectacles” and loved his dissection of influences. He is at his peak here and on the “There and Back” 2CD set recorded around this same time in NYC and London. Thanks for the post!

    By Johnny Kinkdom on Mar 16, 2009

  14. Thank you very much! Great show!
    Your blog is still the best.

    By tony lauber on Dec 10, 2009

  15. Why didn’t Elton have more live albums from this time in his career. “Here and There” is a combination of two different shows. His live shows were part of his legend.

    By Ike Iszany on Jan 16, 2011

  16. thank you again. This site is amazing

    By nick on Dec 2, 2011

  17. Great collection of tunes. Thank you very much for sharing.

    By Formosa Coweater on Nov 26, 2012

  18. An amazing show. I never knew Elton did I Saw Her Standing There again after he did it with Lennon at Madison Square Garden on Thanksgiving 1974. Thanks Big O!

    By Ernie Clark on Dec 7, 2013

  19. Continuing w the John Lennon - Elton John connection….there is a version of Give Peace a Chance done at the Music Hall Cleveland OH Nov 26, 1970. Just before the holidays. http://tinyurl.com/k4ly5je

    By OtisApplepie on Dec 8, 2013

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  2. Dec 23, 2008: Christmas With Elton « The Hits Just Keep On Comin’

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