Top of the Charts
Madman Across The Water
Elton's sixth album came out in November 1971. Only a few months earlier, Elton had been soaring to the top. However, musicians who shoot to the top so quickly have a tendency to fizzle out fast. The words “passé” and “fad” began to pop up in articles written about Elton. The word “struggling” began to appear next. The media is a tough yet vital aspect of a musician's career, however. The media holds so much influence that it can make or break a musician. Looking for a story, the media began to try to break Elton, but he would have none of it. Madman Across the Water was Elton's attempt to deflect the negative reports.
The album was an intense experience for both Bernie and Elton. Before, such as on Tumbleweed Connection, the two had been dreaming about an America they had never even seen. Now they had spent a better part of a year on the road in America, and their perception of the country had changed because of it. Their music was also affected.
All of the songs on the album were about tour life. “Tiny Dancer” was a love song for Bernie's wife, Maxine. “Holiday Inn” was about the endless flights and similar hotel rooms they stayed in each night while on tour. Finally, in “All the Nasties,” Bernie and Elton wrote to all of the music critics who had been taking swipes at them all year. The album was considered brilliant in the United States, making it to number eight on the American Billboard chart. Britain, however, was another story, as the album was not as well received. In truth, it barely even made a splash—a fact that was very unsettling for Elton. He had hoped it would knock them senseless. But there were positive things going on in America. Aside from the Beatles, Elton was the only other musician to have four albums in the American top ten simultaneously. This was a huge success, and it helped Elton cope with his lack of success in Britain, his homeland.