The word “legendary” probably gets tossed around a little too liberally in our current age of mass hyperbole, but no one could question the uniquely legendary status of Elton John.
This week, on April 22, the iconic performer will be granted the title of first-ever Worldwide Record Store Day Legend, an honor running concurrently with the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day and the special vinyl release of John’s first live album, 1971’s 17.11.70, as a two-LP set featuring six previously unreleased tracks.
“The album was not meant to be a live one at all,” he said in a recent video interview. “We did one of the first-ever stereo radio broadcasts live at A&R Recording Studios in New York City in 1970 ... We just went in the booth and played it as a three-piece: Nigel Olsson on drums and vocals, Dee Murray on bass and vocals, and myself. There was a studio audience of about 100 sitting outside the booth, hearing it coming through the loud speakers, and we just played. I’m astonished by how good we were, listening to this record.”
John originally released the album on May 10, 1971—before he truly became the superstar he has been for decades—and it entered the Billboard album charts on May 29, peaking at No 11. He was the first artist since The Beatles to have four albums in Billboard’s Top 100 simultaneously.