18. "Step Into Christmas," Elton JohnMCA 65018 (US), DJS 290 (UK); b/w "Ho! Ho! Ho! (Who'd Be A Turkey At Christmas)"
Highest chart position: #24 UK (1973)
Recorded November 1973, London, England
Originally, Captain Fantastic wanted to thank his fans for being so good to him in 1973 -- perhaps the most successful year any one artist ever had, outside of Michael Jackson ten years later -- by releasing a fans-only joke record, something intimate and fun and frivolous like the Beatles had done every year with their famous fan club-exclusive discs. Then Elton's writing partner, Bernie Taupin, suggested "we do a good one," according to Elton himself, "and spoilt everything." The resultant single, rush-recorded and released for the season, ironically made barely a dent in the UK charts (and no noise whatsoever in the States), but that was due largely to John's already-total domination of the radio, not any lack of quality in the single. Indeed, Elton was at his creative peak in '73, and if you like that classic Seventies Elton sound, you're well advised to "hop aboard the turntable," or, these days, iTunes window, and step into Christmas with him.