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26 Apr 2008

The Eltonite's Day (XV): the one and only... Amoreenaaaa J!!!!

Hi Amoreena J, I am glad you accept it, it’s an honour for me to interview you. I really like your thoughts on eltonjohn official website forum and I am sure you will help me to find a bit of light in the “Leather Jackets” sessions, because not all the album was too bad, I believe.

But first… Could you tell us, more, who are you and where are you from?

I’m Amoreena, from South Australia - I was “Made in England”, but have lived most of my life in various places in New Zealand and Australia.

Thank you! And when you became an Eltonite? Remember the first time you heard Elton’s music and what moves you to buy his music?

The first time I really listened to Elton was when a school teacher played “Funeral for a Friend” to us, over and over – she must have played it 10 times and more. I vaguely remember thinking “how spooky” on the first play, but by the end I was really sick of it! She nearly scarred me for life. Luckily I did discover Elton properly later on. It was not an instant thing; I grew to love his music over time. I do remember listening to a radio interview sometime in the late ‘70s; they played Elton songs in the breaks. I remember being impressed with how knowledgeable Elton was, and how much he loved music – and I quite liked some of the songs. I think I bought his Greatest Hits Vol 2 shortly after this, and then A Single Man.

Perfect! What was it like seeing Elton for the first time and how many concerts have you been?

The first Elton concert I went to was in 1982. I went with a young man I liked very much, but we were so far from the stage, and he talked through almost every song. Aaargh!!! Thankfully the rest of my concert experiences have been much happier. Elton is just superb live, and if anything he is getting better with time. I’ve seen Elton nine times.

Well, as you know this is the “Leather Jackets” Week. Which are your feelings about this album? In Australia it was a number one record... but worlwide was disastrous in sales terms.

A lot of people are very harsh on this album. I enjoyed it back in the day – and I still enjoy it today. It has a thread of humour running through it that I quite like (‘Angeline’, ‘Don’t Trust that Woman’, Heartache All Over the World’). ‘Paris’is a really beautiful, wistful song. ‘Slow Rivers’has a nice melody – I am not a fan of Cliff Richard, but his voice combines beautifully with Elton here. ‘I Fall Apart’ is a track I like, you can really hear anguish in Elton’s emotional delivery. ‘Hoop of Fire’is another strong, and soulful, song. The title track is very catchy; maybe it would have made a better first single than ‘Heartache All Over the World’. And ‘Go it Alone’ has some pretty mean piano, and the guitar really comes through too.

I even like the photo of Elton and the boys as bikers on the back cover – funny!

All in all, I think it is a fun album, with some great mid to up-tempo songs, and some pretty ballads. It sold well in Australia, I really don’t know why it didn’t elsewhere. The CD is hard to find these days, and goes for quite a price on ebay.

This album is exacerbated by an overuse of synthesizers, in my opinion, maybe trying to be in the mood of early 80s predominant music. Do you think so? Next was the “Melbourne Symphony Orchestra” album... maybe Elton be aware of his mistake?

Well, it was the ‘80s, everything was synthesizers. I don’t mind the synths, but it would be interesting to hear some of the songs with different instrumentation -especially more piano. The Elton John Live in Australia CD/TV special may have been an attempt to relaunch Elton’s career with a new label, using some great material from his heyday. But I understand the MSO had approached Elton a couple of years before about doing a concert series, so it was already in the pipeline. It is a fantastic album – even if Elton’s voice is showing some sign of the pain he must have been in.

Ok!!! And what about Elton’s voice? If he said in the 70s his voice seems to be of one “whose balls just cuts-off”, after the surgery operation in Australia his voice seems to be much stronger than ever. It’s that so? And now, do you like his voice?

I love Elton’s voice the way it is now – even if he can’t get the high notes he used to in his youth – maybe he is better suited to the lower range. His voice does seem stronger, and he can still perform those 2 ½ hour shows with little sign of wear – amazing.

And what do you think about Gus Dudgeon, the producer? He was one of best producers Elton worked with? An other producers... which do you like most and what do you think about Elton self-producing?

Gus Dudgeon was there when Elton’s career was being established, and helped create the sound on those classic albums so many of us love . I’m not very technically minded, but I love Elton’s production on “Peachtree Road”. It has a warmth to it.

Right! Which is your Elton’s item that you really appreciate, for being hard to get or for the happiness you’ve got to have it?

I value the musical experiences above all, the live performances, the first time I heard a favourite song, that kind of thing. I'm not a big-time collector, but I recently got the sheet music for ‘Healing Hands’ and I am very happy to have that because it is a song that means a lot to me.

Finally, could you tell me your five favourite Elton John’s songs in running order, for my AllSongsList, please?

Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
Healing Hands
My Elusive Drug
My Fathers Gun

Thank you. Would you want to add some observation or suggestion, or something you want to say to other eltonites?

We are so lucky that Elton is still touring – can’t wait to see him (and some of my forum friends) in Sydney in 2 weeks!
And thanks for the chance to participate in the AllSongsList!

Thanks a bunch, Amoreena. Really a pleasure to chat with you again. I get funny doing this interview with you, it was an enjoyable and worth experience.Thank you. Take care.

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