Record Store Day is set to give Elton John fans the opportunity to heat an unreleased piano demo of the track ‘Border Song’ from the self-titled album Elton John (The Black Album), courtesy of PMC owner and MD, Peter Thomas. The recording is taken from Thomas’ extensive archives, and was a one-off demo for Universal Music.

PMC owner and MD, Peter ThomasA long-time collector of Elton John’s early work, Thomas has an extensive collection of the global superstar’s music, including many rare and unusual versions of songs and albums. The demo version of ‘Border Song’ has been part of the collection since the late 1970s, when Thomas was working at BBC Radio on a programme about Trident Studios, where Elton John recorded his debut album. One of the studio engineers handed Peter a quarter-inch15ips reel-to-reel tape that contained numerous demos, including ‘Border Song’.

For this Record Store Day release, he was approached by Universal Music Group (UMG) and Rocket Entertainment (Elton John’s management company) to help find this unreleased piano demo, as it was missing from their archive and thought to be lost. Using a modified vintage Studer B67 tape machine, Thomas transferred the original tape to a WAV file which was then supplied to UMG.

‘These are simple demo recordings with just piano and vocal with no band or string arrangements and are very different from the released versions,’ he says. ‘Elton is in great voice and this demo includes a fine piano solo too. It is sure to be sought after by other fans of Elton’s work.

‘In many ways I prefer this demo to the release as its rawness and simplicity suit the lyrics and sentiment of the song – one of living together in peace, a familiar theme for music from this period. It is unusual in that the lyrics, normally only written by his lyricist Bernie Taupin, were finished off by Elton in the final verse and transformed the sentiment of the song.’

‘Border Song’ was released in April 1970 and as the first single from the Black Album. It failed to chart in the UK, unlike the second single, ‘Your Song’. The track was later covered by Aretha Franklin and charted in December 1970. The demo is includedon the 50th anniversary gatefold double album to be released on 29 August as part of Record Store Day 2020.

More: www.pmc-speakers.com

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