"...Elton's hardest, grittiest, most ambitious and daring album ever.”
Rock of the Westies is the tenth studio album by Elton John, released in 1975, the album debuted on the Billboard chart at #1. Notable tracks include the #1 single "Island Girl," the light and funky and more than a little humorous, "Grow Some Funk of Your Own" and
"I Feel Like a Bullet" is the one moment of seriousness on this album - a ballad about the breakup of a relationship and one of the most creative songs on the album similar in style to other songs from prior albums. The song "Street Kids" was featured in the 2008 video game
Grand Theft Auto IV.
Elton used mostly a new band on Rock of the Westies including drummer Roger Pope and bassist Kenny Passarelli, who had previously played with Stephen Stills and was an original member in Joe Walsh's band Barnstorm. James Newton-Howard on keyboards and Caleb
Quaye on acoustic, electric and rhythm guitar. The holdovers from Elton's previous group and earlier records were Davey Johnstone on guitar, banjo and mandolin and Ray Cooper on percussion.
This is a great Elton John rock 'n' roll record, he was just having fun and it shows. It most definitely rocks harder than most of his albums, but in a distinctive style consistent with and instantly recognizable as Elton John. It's clear even from the front cover photo of an unusually scruffy Elton, relatively conservatively dressed in a hat and shades, head resting on hand with a mischevous smirk, that this album is a departure from past efforts. In the end Rock of the Westies represents Elton John being at the very top peak of his best period of the 70's. 1975 was a turning point for rock music...soon funk and disco would be overwhelming the airwaves. But for one album we got to see Elton having a good time, and do it thoroughly and well. Worthy of being considered a classic Elton John album.