Elton John performed an intimate concert at A&R Studios in New York, recorded for WABC FM. In front of 125 people, Elton played in his then three- piece line up of himself, Dee Murray on bass and Nigel Olsson on drums. Intended for broadcast only, its pristine quality – engineered by the legendary Phil Ramone (the ‘R’ in A&R Studios) – meant that the recording of the performance became a fast- selling bootleg. Sales were so great that it had to be rush-released as 17.11.70 on DJM Records in April 1971, capturing six of the concert’s tracks on a single album.
‘The album ‘17-11-70’ was not meant to be a live one at all; we did one of the first- ever stereo radio broadcasts live at A&R Recording Studios in New York City in 1970 on the 17th of November. It was Phil Ramone’s studio, one of the greatest producers of all time, and 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. A lot of it was improvised, and you can do that when you’re a three-piece band because I’m really the lead instrument, and Dee and Nigel were so brilliant at following what I did. There’s a 16-minute track on it that was completely improvised, more or less, and I’m very proud of it: I think it’s one of the greatest live albums ever made. It wasn’t initially coming out as a live album, but there were so many bootlegs in those days that the record company put it out. I’m glad they did because it really is something I’m very very proud of’.
‘Happy 10th birthday to Record Store Day. I love record stores, I can go to the record store in Vegas and spend 3 hours in there. Just the smell of it, the looking at it, the wonder of it, the memories. I love vinyl so much; the tactile nature, the ritual of it, looking at the sleeve…especially with the old albums and the liner notes – who played on them, the process of putting it on, the needle going on and the sound coming out. And it DOES sound better, I know it does! It’s just the wonder of having vinyl’. – Elton John