July 11, 2009 – 4:07 am

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

The Madman Sessions Demos [3378645, 1CD]

I was about to listen to my copy of Elton’s Rare Masters when I discovered that the 1992 2CD set had spiderweb-like smudges on both the discs. I wanted to find out if the version of Rock Me When He’s Gone on Rare Masters was as good as on this “sessions” bootleg.*

In any case, the rest of the tracks on this rare bootleg are all previously unreleased. It’s just Elton accompanying himself on the piano. The tempo on most tracks is slower and he’s in great form. Lively vocals, with a lot of feeling. Check out Levon, always a slow, sensitive ballad. Now you get to hear, Elton in his prime, belting the song solo.

According to Elton’s schedule, the Madman song was first attempted for the Tumbleweed Connection album in 1970. A first “original” version is tacked onto the new deluxe edition of Tumbleweed Connection. But this version here is supposedly the demo, no strings, no band, just the piano.

The remainder of the songs, Rotten Peaches and Goodbye are all played solo in the same enthusiastic fashion. The Madman album was Elton’s fourth, it was a big production with Paul Buckmaster putting up an epic soundstage with strings and horns. It also was the first album with Davey Johnstone on guitar. In England, the album languished at #41 but surged to #8 in the U.S.

In the movie, Almost Famous, Tiny Dancer was the movie’s theme about the fragile nature of fame. Likely Madman Across The Water was Elton’s most ambitious album at the time. It secured his status as a cult artist from across the pond. He gained a larger, loyal following but lost his cult status as he launched himself as a superstar with the hard rock Honky Chateau, targeting an American audience. He would never make an album like Madman again.

Like the album, this boot is an acquired taste. Thanks to yogilou who shared this on Dime. Thanks also to Ziggyt for the artwork.
- Professor Red

*NOTE: The Rare Masters version of Rock Me When He’s Gone is a full band version. While this is the piano demo.

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

These tracks are no longer available for download. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you want to download them at a later date.

Track 01. Rock Me When He’s Gone
Track 02. Levon
Track 03. Madman Across The Water
Track 04. Rotten Peaches
Track 05. Goodbye

TT: 20:24m

Solo, Elton with piano.

The fully produced album can be yours. Buy a copy here.


  2. Wow, thanx for a worthwhile peek at a priceless musical great.

    By Timmy on Jul 11, 2009

  3. Hummmm,Great!
    It is interesting to getting too,Elton (1970) demos and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) demos.The first years of Elton are simply superb!Great music!
    Thanks bigo’s team ;-)
    Have a nice weekend too :-)

    By Rochacrimson on Jul 11, 2009

  4. Elton John is a very good musician and has been my idol ever since..`’

    By Julian Cooper on Jun 30, 2010

  5. Elton John is actually a living legend, what a great musical artist he is.”`’

    By Charlie Wilson on Jul 20, 2010

  6. thanks for the re-up, bigO!


    By I-) on Aug 16, 2012

  7. Once again…the BigO delivers! Thanks

    By JB on Feb 10, 2013

  8. I missed these the first few times around. A wonderful set of demos from a great album

    By California Jim on Jul 24, 2015

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