Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rare Boulevard LP throws a spotlight on Elton John

I've finally tracked down a copy of this LP, after several years of looking! The album, "1970 Top 12" was issued on the Boulevard label, presumably at the end of that year, and purports to be a round-up of the biggest hits of the previous 12 months. That's not what it actually is (see below), but that's how it was marketed...

A little background... In the summer of 1970, Boulevard launched their own budget LP series. It would eventually be transferred to the Flag label under the title, "World Top 12", but the first instalment on the Boulevard label was called "16 Hit Songs". The album pictured above, far from being a survey of 1970's charts, is in fact a re-issue of "16 Hit Songs" but with four tracks missing, to bring the contents down to 12 titles. They even went so far as to duplicate the sleeve notes from the earlier release - and spot the difference with the front covers!

"1970 Top 12" ended up featuring, rather heavily, a certain Elton John. By the end of that year, Elton had released his third studio LP, and second top-tenner, with his classic "Your Song" already in the can. Whether Boulevard realised the significance of what they had in the vaults in 1970 is anyone's guess, but on this LP you'll hear Elton on most of the tracks, including lead vocals on "In The Summertime", "Love Of The Common People", "Lady D'Arbanville", "Neanderthal Man" and "Yellow River".

In years to come, Boulevard would issue more end-of-year round-ups, which truly were selections from the biggest annual hits. Their discography runs to a modest, but interesting four such LPs - but they're so rare, you'll struggle to find copies of any of them these days.

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