It was 50 years ago today (July 15th, 1972) that Elton John scored his first chart-topping album with his fifth studio set, Honky Chateau. The album, which was released on May 19th, 1972, featured two major Top 10 hits — “Rocket Man” which hit Number Six and “Honky Cat,” which peaked at Number Eight. Over the years, “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters” has become a staple in its own right, especially after being featured prominently in Cameron Crowe‘s 2000 hit, Almost Famous.
Honky Chateau held down the Number One spot for five weeks and spent a whopping 18 in the Top 10.
The tracklisting to Honky Chateau is: “Honky Cat,” “Mellow,” “I Think I’m Going To Kill Myself,” “Susie (Dramas),” “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time),” “Salvation,” “Slave,” “Amy,” “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters,” and “Hercules.”
Just prior to the release of Honky Chateau, Elton John spoke about his songwriting habits with lyricist Bernie Taupin: “I’m not the sort of songwriter who sits down at the piano every day and, sort of, churns it out from nine-’til-five. I know when I’m going to write a song, I just get a feeling that I’m going to write a song and I always do if I’m, sort of, in that mood. And we don’t write that many songs — say, about 20 a year. So, I just know. Y’know, we found a very ideal way of working and we just keep to it.
All told Elton John has scored seven Number One albums in the U.S. — Honky Chateau (1972), Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player (1973), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973), Caribou (1974), Elton John’s Greatest Hits (1974), Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975), and Rock Of The Westies (1975).