Flip It Over (Mighty Fishy MF01-107)
(72:22): Snow Queen [with Kiki Dee], Flintstone Boy, I Cry At Night, Lovesick, Strangers, Conquer The Sun, White Man Danger, Les Aveux [with France Gall], Tactics, Steal Away Child, Love So Cold, Je Veux De La Tendresse, Fools In Fashion, Can’t Get Over Getting Over Losing You, Tortured, Take Me Down To The Ocean, Hey Papa Legba
Elton John Flip It Over on Mighty Fishy was initially released in 1996. It is a one disc compilation of hard to find b-sides from 1976 to 1982. The liner notes state “With the release of the double CD Past Masters, all of the recordings which Elton John featured on the b-sides of his classic singles from 1969-1975 were made available once again. This volume collects all of Elton’s non-LP tracks released on various 7″ and 12” singles worldwide from 1975-1972.
“In many instances, these excellent tracks simply did not fit in with the ‘mood’ of Elton’s upcoming album, and were removed from the tracklist. Elton, a record collector himself, pushed the record company to consequently issue these excellent ‘rejected’ songs as b-sides so that Elton’s fans would get to hear something new when they purchased his current 45.”
Because no Rare Masters II has been released in the intervening fifteen years, has reissued Flip It Over to make available again many of these hard to find gems. A handful of these tracks were issued as bonus material in 1998, but a majority of these songs remains unavailable on compact disc and makes Flip It Over still necessary to complete the Elton John collection.
The set begins with “Snow Queen,” the b-side of the smash it “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” The duet with Kiki Dee came out on June 21st, 1976 and hit number one in both the US and UK. The song was supposedly inspired by Cher, with Elton’s improvising past Sonny & Cher hits “I Got You Babe”, and “The Beat Goes On” as well as the solo Cher song “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” during the fadeout of the song.
The next four songs were eventually officially released as bonus tracks on the 1998 reissue of the 1978 album A Single Man. “Flintstone Boy” is a strange number, issued as a b-side to the single “Ego” in 1978. John wrote the lyrics to this song, an endless series of non-sequitur statements.
“I Cry at Night” appeared as the b-side to his 1978 single, “Part-Time Love,” “Lovesick” originally appeared as the b-side of his “Song for Guy,” and “Strangers” was originally released as the B-side to his 1979 disco single “Victim of Love,” but was recorded during the sessions for A Single Man.
“Conquer The Sun” was released as a B-side to “Little Jeannie” on May 1st, 1980. It reached number three on the Billboard pop chart in the United States, becoming the singer’s biggest U.S. hit since 1976’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and his highest-charting solo hit since 1975’s “Island Girl”. It became John’s fifth number one on the U.S. adult contemporary chart, and it was certified gold by the RIAA.
“White Man Danger” was a B-side to “Sartorial Eloquence (Don’t Ya Wanna Play This Game No More?)” which came out on August 5th, 1980.
Later in the year, on November 14th, 1980, “Dear God” from 21 At 33 was released as a single. It was originally intended to be released with only the one B-side, “Tactics,” but the actual release came as a double-disc set, with the other disc being “Steal Away Child” and “Love So Cold”; two tracks that were later used as b-sides for the Breaking Hearts album, and have yet to surface on a CD release.
The other single released in 1980 and included in this collection is the French “Les Aveux” (“The Confession” or “The Avowal.”) It is a duet with France Gall and was the b-side to “Donner Pour Donner” and was a #1 hit in France. The follow up French single is “Je Veux De La Tendresse” (“I Want Tenderness”), released in 1981.
“Fools In Fashion,” the B-side to “Nobody Wins” and “Can’t Get Over Losing You,” the B-side to “Just Like Belgium,” both came out in 1981 and are great songs that could easily have fit on the LP The Fox.
The Jump Up!LP in 1982 yields the final two tracks on the disc. “Take Me Down To The Ocean” is the B-side to “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)” and “Hey Papa Legba” is the B-side to the mega-hit “Blue Eyes.”
For Elton John fans, this disc is indispensable because most are still unavailable on any official release. Some of these songs rank among the very best he’s ever played on and deserve much wider distribution than they have. It’s good that Mighty Fishy reissued this title because it has become one of the hard-to-find legendary must haves.