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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Elton John as we've never imagined him

More than two dozen Elton John songs have been reinterpreted by the likes of Miley Cyrus, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga and Willie Nelson

FILE PHOTO: Singer Elton John performs before announcing his final 'Farewell Yellow Brick Road' tour in Manhattan, New York, NY, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Singer Elton John performs before announcing his final 'Farewell Yellow Brick Road' tour in Manhattan, New York, NY, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

More than two dozen Elton John songs have been reinterpreted by the likes of Miley Cyrus, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga and Willie Nelson on two albums of past hits released on Friday.

The pop-focused Revamp and country-inspired Restoration highlight the British singer’s long collaboration with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. Revamp features a hip-hop rendition of Bennie and the Jets with John, pop singer P!nk and rapper Logic; British indie rockers Florence and the Machine perform the soaring Tiny Dancer; and Sheeran does a folk version of mourning song Candle in the Wind.

“The first time I heard Candle in the Wind would have been (Princess) Diana’s funeral,” the 27-year-old Sheeran said. “I was six at the time, I remember my dad bringing me in and sitting me in front of the TV and being like ‘this is really important – you have to watch this and you have to remember this’, ” Sheeran said. Cyrus, who has roots in country music, gets to perform on both albums.

Restoration features country artists Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Little Big Town, Dolly Parton and others. “Elton is a deep musicologist,” contributor Rosanne Cash, the daughter of Johnny Cash, said. “He loves everything from the deepest, most obscure Appalachian songs through George Jones, deep folk music, gospel, early blues.”

John and Taupin began working together in 1967 after both answered the same Liberty Records advertisement seeking songwriters. Singers and groups on the albums include Sam Smith, Mary J. Blige, Mumford & Sons, Demi Lovato, The Killers, Dierks Bentley and Emmylou Harris. “We’re not stuck in one genre,” Taupin, 67, said. “From Day 1 we borrowed from everything that’s good about American music.”

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