Elton John says his forthcoming collaboration with legendary singer, songwriter and sideman Leon Russell marks a new chapter in his recording career, saying: "I don't have to make pop records any more."
Speaking at the launch of the album at the Electric Cinema in West London last night (July 5), John said: "I thought, 'The world isn't screaming for another Elton John record and I'm not screaming for it either unless it's going to be different. In the '70s, '80s and '90s, the record companies always said we had to have a single and I think I fulfilled my brief. But at 63, the singles chart isn't one I'm going to be in very often. To me now, it's all about writing albums and trying to be mature."
John recruited Russell for the album, aptly entitled "The Union," after rediscovering Russell's music 40 years after they toured the United States together. Russell was a big name in the 1960s and 1970s, playing keyboards for the likes of Phil Spector and the Beach Boys, making solo records and writing songs including "A Song for You," "This Masquerade" and "Delta Lady." But he largely fell off the radar in the late 1970s and has suffered from poor health in recent years, although he kept touring.