On October 5, 1973, MCA Records released Elton John's seventh studio album (and ninth overall, up to that point, if the soundtrack to "Friends" and the live "11-17-70'" albums are included). "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" was a sprawling 2-record set which continued Elton's dizzying ride on the charts by becoming his third consecutive #1 album in America. The release spent 8-weeks at #1 in the U.S. and hit #1 in England, Canada, and Australia.
Presenting songs that ran the gamut from "Candle in the Wind," the delicate ode to Marilyn Monroe and the pressures of superstardom, to the rollicking "Love Lies Bleeding", the album's success was assured by three massive hit singles: "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," "Bennie and the Jets," and the title track. In England, "Candle in the Wind" was also released as a single (and later re-recorded as a tribute to Princess Diana in 1997). The re-recording is the second biggest selling song of all time, behind "White Christmas."
Elton took his band to Jamaica in early 1973 to record his new album and found the studio there to be severely lacking in its equipment and operation. While staying at the Pink Flamingo Hotel in Kingston, Elton composed the music in less than a week, but despite the fast pace, ended up wasting all that time gained trying to make progress in the decrepit recording studio. He decided to bail and relocate the sessions to Chateau d' Herouville Studio in France, where he had previously recorded an album he titled after his nickname for the place: "Honky Chateau."
After that, the recording went very quickly as the band worked hard to make up for all the time lost in Jamaica. Two weeks was all it took to do the bulk of the work on the 18 basic tracks. Ultimately, none of the tapes that the musicians recorded in the Caribbean were used. There was a barely-passable sounding version of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," but Elton decided to recut the track in Frace, and that's the one you know.
Elton's "Goodbye Yellow Brick" may be his most popular album; to date it has sold 8 times Platinum in the U.S. and 30 million copies around the globe (including Jamaica).