Various Artists / Revamp: Reimagining the songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin

In 1991 Mercury records released Two Rooms a celebration of the songwriting skills of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Over  quarter of a century later, the concept has been dusted down and updated for Revamp, a similar album with contemporary artists paying tribute to talents of Messrs John and Taupin.

Elton loves a collaboration or the validation of young, ‘hip’ artists covering his work – the bonus disc on the reissue of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road proved that – and Revamp sees acts like Ed Sheeran , Florence + The Machine, Lady Gaga, Mumford and Sons, The Killers and Miley Cyrus doffing their cap in the direction of the two songwriters.

Despite the considerable bonus of Kate Bush performing Rocket Man, looking back on it, Two Rooms reeks of late eighties corporate rock, with its line-up of The Who, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Sting et al, although on further reflection Revamp is also packed arena-filling, million-selling artists, so is it really that different, after all?

As if this is not enough, Revamp also has its own demographic-widening companion album: a “Nashville influenced” album Restoration, featuring Elton’s songs reinterpreted by Country music artists, including Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Miley Cyrus (different song) and Willie Nelson. What next, a Grime edition?

Elton makes a point of thanking all those involved “It’s always a huge compliment when an artist loves your song enough to take the time and effort to rework it,” he says, as if everyone did this without any encouragement – financial or otherwise – from record labels, managers and the like.

Revamp (and Restoration) will be released on 6 April 2018.

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Various Artists

Revamp: The Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin [VINYL]


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Various Artists

Revamp: The Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin


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Various Artists

Restoration: The Songs Of Elton John And Bernie Taupin


1. Bennie And The Jets (2018 version) – Elton John, P!nk, Logic
2. We All Fall In Love Sometimes – Coldplay
3. I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues – Alessia Cara
4. Candle In The Wind (2018 Version) – Ed Sheeran
5. Tiny Dancer – Florence +The Machine
6. Someone Saved My Life Tonight – Mumford & Sons
7. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word – Mary J. Blige
8. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Q
9. Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters – The Killers
10. Daniel – Sam Smith
11. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Miley Cyrus
12. Your Song – Lady Gaga
13. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Queens of the Stone Age


1 Rocket Man – by Little Big Town
2 Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters – by Maren Morris
3 Sacrifice – by Don Henley & Vince Gill
4 Take Me To The Pilot – by Brothers Osborne
5 My Father’s Gun – by Miranda Lambert
6 I Want Love – by Chris Stapleton
7 Honky Cat –  Lee Ann Womack
8 Roy Rogers – by Kacey Musgraves
9 Please – by Rhonda Vincent & Dolly Parton
10 The Bitch Is Back – by Miley Cyrus
11 Sad Songs (Say So Much) – by Dierks Bentley
12 This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore – by Rosanne Cash & Emmylou Harris
13 Border Song – by Willie Nelson

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Love Elton John. Have checked out both Revamp and Restoration on Apple Music and was thoroughly unimpressed by both. Glad I didn’t purchase.


Elton John has written countless terrific songs over the decades, many of which lend themselves to interesting reinterpretations. And Eric Clapton, The Who etc … ’80s Corporate rock’?

Tarryn English

Legend. The guys given us decades and decades of hits. And over a large genre of classic, love, rock and pop. Thats why he’s lasted decades as he worked hard at reinventing himself as the times changed. To still be relevant deserves accolades. So the guy doesn’t sing on this album. Give the man a break, he’s given us years of listening pleasure. There’s something very personable about this man, hence the broad company he keeps in people such as The Queen Of Hearts, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, Chris Martin etc. Kudos to the fact he’s still even in the public eye at his age. Elton take a well earned rest, you deserve it.


If you want to hear these first, CBS (in the USA) has a two hour special Tuesday April 10th. “Elton John: I’m Still Standing”, featuring performances by Alessia Cara, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Miranda Lambert, John Legend, Kesha, Little Big Town & Chris Martin. Would have made more sense if it were on this Tuesday, before the discs are out, imo…


“Elton loves a collaboration or the validation of young, ‘hip’ artists covering his work”

He obviously didn’t manage to find any for this effort?

David Perry

I personally would LOVE a grime version!


Hm… I can’t help but think that this should have been a collaboration album (like ‘Duets’). Tribute albums like this only ever seem to be any good for a couple of songs.
Perhaps Elton couldn’t be arsed?
I was actually unaware of the ‘Two Rooms’ album before reading this article, so I think I’ll be seeking that out instead of ‘Revamp’, as I am far more interested in hearing the ‘late eighties corporate rock’ artists interpreting Elton’s songs than the pap on this new comp. Yeah, there are a couple of them I’d be interested in hearing (Queens Of The Stone Age in particular!), but that’s about as far as it goes.
If it had been a collaboration album though strangely, I would have almost certainly bought it.

Steven Roberts

YMMV, but IMHO these tribute albums are absolutely dire, for the most part.

The one exception I can think of is Jennifer’s Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat – which many moons ago served as my introduction to ‘Laughing Len’….

Chris Squires

Likewise and for me (to complete the circle) it was I’m your Fan that introduced me to, and made me fall in love with “laughing Len”. Love that album.


We were lucky not to have a Susan Boyle duet a few years ago…

Paul Nolan

Of course when this is released to Stream, Ed bloody Sheeran will be Number 1 for weeks sadly!!

Rough cut

What’s corporate rock?


Q-Tip is probably involved because Elton John LOVES A Tribe Called Quest. When Tribe member Phife died Elton dedicated “Candle in the Wind” to him mid-concert. Elton also sang on the 2016 Tribe album “We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.”


I like Florence + The Machine, Mary J Blige and Lady Gaga…so I’m interested, but I think it will be a ‘if-I-see-a-cheap-second-hand-copy-on-eBay’ purchase, rather than a pre-order/new purchase. Same with the ‘country’ version.

I think it’s kind of lazy for Ed Sheeran to be doing “Candle…”. He already did it for “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: 40th Anniversary” a few years ago, so he should have picked something different instead of just covering a cover.

Elton recently (well, 2016-ly) name-checked Sarah Blasko, so you’d think her gorgeous version of “GYBR” could have had a place on the album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN87sNbMoIc

Bruno MacDonald

My interest in Elton extends no further than his hits, but I’d check lots of this out, not least Gaga and Miley, two of the best pop stars of their generation

And, holy moly, I’d hate to see the collections of people who genuinely haven’t heard of Q-Tip.

Chris Squires

I guess the #leftbehind thing is so true.

The “things were better in the old days” line does get some people’s goats. But this is one case where I believe it’s true. Partly caused by the internet and ‘phone culture / spotify.

Nothing highlights this more so than if they did Band Aid for every 5 years or decade from 1984 onwards. They did for a bit and the drop in “star quality” was massive at that early point. The current industry does not allow for growth in the way it did as things move too quickly to grow into the quality of acts that were present in the 1980s. Not that there isn’t talent, it’s just the ecosystem that that talent lives in has changed so much in the last 30 years.

The 1991 line up was stellar, with the lowliest act probably Oleta Adams and she was bloody brilliant. Compare and contrast Joe Cocker and Ed Sheeran.(show your working).

Times they are a changin’ and it certainly isn’t my world anymore but the music industry (IMHO) is not in a better place than it was 30 years ago. Stars, culture and ecosystem all struggling to be noticed with adolescents not giving a proverbial toss.


Paul, this may be the most cynical article you’ve ever written.


Don’t really agree with the argued similarity between the artists on Two Rooms and those on Revamp. Obviously the concepts are the same, but Two Rooms largely consisted of Elton’s contemporaries: Clapton, Cocker, Kate Bush, Rod Stewart, Sting, The Who. Some of the others were artists who, if fans liked Elton John, they probably also liked, most notably George Michael, Hall & Oates, and Bruce Hornsby. There was also some dreck on the album (I’m looking at you Bon Jovi, Phil Collins, and Wilson Phillips). I’m not a huge fan of Two Rooms, but Kate Bush’s Rocket Man and George Michael’s Tonight are standouts.

Mind you, I’m a huge Elton fan since the early 80s, but this is sad. Some of it looks interesting, but good god, Miley Cyrus doing Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me? Plus she’s back for a second cut on disc 2? Show of hands – how many Elton John fans are huge Miley Cyrus fans? No? Didn’t think so. And who in the world is Q? Like James Bond Q?Desmond Llewelyn back from the dead? I can only imagine what Sam Smith weeping through Daniel will sound like.

I suppose it makes Elton feel “hip” to have these cool kids singing his stuff, but it just tarnishes his legacy as far as I’m concerned. Sad.


Whatever, if this kind of album is your thing, hopefully it brings some happiness to your life. But beyond making money, I am not sure what the point is.
While Two Rooms had an impresdive all star cast, of contemporaries, with this the selection it seems a bit liteweight, no offence to those who contributed, and I even like some of the artists here, it just seems like it is missing something. Honest question, does anyone really want Hanna Montana covering Ol’ Eltie? Was anyone on this compilaton even born before 1975? Eddie doing Candle in The Wind, just seems hollow, perhaps the revamped lyrics should go “I would have like to known you, but my parents weren’t even alive back then.”


Reg sure must like Miley Cyrus – she’s on both albums (one more reason not to buy these)!


Hopefully QOTSA have remembered to turn their guitars up on their contribution.


I can’t believe that anybody is waiting for this release. Talk about predictable.

Charlie Waffles

This would be torture to listen to both discs. Yuk!

I see Miley is singing the appropriate song about herself on the country album.

Stan Butler

I’d rather have the Two Rooms line up than this tedious dross. In fact my CD single of Kate dong Rocket Man / Candle in the Wind is all I need. The country version sounds more interesting.

Jeremy R. Bromley

I was going to mention the Kate Bush Candle in the Wind version, as it was missing from Two Rooms itself and is a classic imho.

Also, I’m sorry but I like the Wilson Philips track on this.

Mind you, isn’t this what MOJO magazine have been doing for years with their Cover CDs…


Hmmmm. Can’t say I’m for this kind of thing in principle, and as a prime example, the idea of ever hearing Miley Cyrus sing Don’t Let the Sun GoDown On Me fills me with horror.

However, QOTSA doing Goodbye Yellow Brick Road? I’m intrigued. Just not buy-this-album intrigued.


Not a fan of Elton at all, very over rated IMO, but the Rosanne Cash Emmylou Harris duet looks very interesting


I was 18 or so when “Two Rooms” was released. Even though I thought it was too rock-y for my taste, it was a good introduction to EJ’s songs. I agree that there should have been some Elton contemporaries in Revamp, but I do look forward to hearing FATM’s cover of Tiny Dancer, and also Mary J. Blige & Sam Smith.

Mic Smith

Compared to other similar projects Two Rooms was a decent album. Kate Bush was not that far removed from the other artists that participated. Sting’s version of Come Down in Time is far superior to Bush’s Rocket Man.
This new release has none of the class of Two Rooms and as others have said reflects the fact that modern music is a pale shadow of its former self (which was pretty poor compared to ten years previously).


Elton John has always made safe, bland, no edge, corporate pop music. He is possibly the most overrated and over compensated musician ever. I’m sure the music on these albums will be as boring as the originals.


Paul Young was in a band called Q tips !!!!. After listening to the drivel on this new album,i realised pretty early it wasn’t him. Coldplay, sheeran Mmmmmm.
I did go along with Two Rooms. Some amazing stuff from Eric and the like.
I’ll pass on this one. Sadly,I think it shows what a poor state we are in today music wise.


I guess a sequel to Two Rooms with spring chickens in addition to the few that didn’t make the Two Rooms cut [or invitation].
Never been a fan of tribute albums. [Not a fan of tacking on covers to the original re-released album – thing GYBR and a pair of recent releases from Rush among others].
I recognize half of those on this release and care for less than half of those.

Chris S

Songwise, the country album has the advantage for me. And the same goes artistwise.
I passed on Two Rooms, and will pass on these.

elliott buckingham

apart from the killers not a great set with a load of artists that people rave about but are frankly awful. coldplay were great then they sold out making generic distorted pop


Totally agree about coldplay as i don’t think i have ever liked a band to start with and now i despise them. I thought a Q tip was was a north american name for a cotton bud in that case i wouldn’t want my ears subjected to this drivel.

Peter Conz

The only song available right now is “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart [feat. Demi Lovato)” – and I have to say: it is terrible. Terrible!! That really hurts!

Auntie Sabrina

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart is by Q-Tip featuring Demi Lovato. I’ve never heard of them either…

Charles Christopher

What, really, someone doesn’t know who Q-tip is? Not liking him or even listening to his or A Tribe Called Quest’s music is one thing, but not being aware of who he is at this point is a stretch…..

Anyway, some of the commentary in the post seems a bit fatty because, even with commercial interests or label pressure (neither of which can be all that great,honestly), they’re free to say no. And it’s believable that Elton (who doesn’t need the money or the injection of hipness) sincerely likes it when other people perform his songs or just say they like him in public.
Of course, barely anybody digs deep into a massive catalogue and 90% of these songs are about as obvious as you can get, so artistic considerations are secondary at best. I’m sure someone is thrilled by this release – when Two Rooms came out, my college roommates loved it and played the heck out of it.

Auntie Sabrina

Maybe I’m a bit older than you Charles so my musical tastes are differen, but I just don’t recognise either Q-Tip or Demi either. Sorry luv…


Well, Q-tip may be a “big” artist in the US or in the UK, but , here , in france, he’s totally unknown… The only record I have with him is the Janet Jackson’s “Got ’til it’s gone”, and it’s not the track of her carrier… A Tribe calle quest is even more Underground !
Demi Lovato is a 100% Pop artist, so people who don’t listen to pop can easily go aside without noticing her…

Now talking of “Two rooms” : it was slighlty disappointing at the time ! The Oleta Adams version of “Don’t let the sun go down on me” has totally been overwhelmed by George Michael’s version… and the rest of the tribute album was just average…
We can expect slighlty more from Lady Gaga, Coldplay or Killers, but i’m not toally sure it will suit them … Wait & See!

The Country oriented tribute… well…. I’m not sure ! it will probably have the same impact on me…


I used to own a record shop and I’ve never heard of Q-tip. With so much choice it is very easy to loose track of anything that is current. Simply out of sight out of mind!

O(+> Peter B

Q-Tip is from hip-hop legends (and one of the greatest groups in my opinion) A Tribe Called Quest. You may have heard him on Chemical Brothers singles Go and Galvanize, or on Get It Together by Beastie Boys. Not sure what he’s doing on an Elton John tribute though.

Auntie Sabrina

Ah yes, I’ve heard of the Chemical Brothers! A nation sighs in relief. Thanks lovely…

Charles Christopher

Q-tip also does the rap on Deee-Lite’s”Groove Is In The Heart”, a song I’m pretty sure you’ve heard a thousand times by now….


I don’t know. McCartney did the same thing (The art of McCartney). It was poor. But the cover art looks great!


I have “Two Rooms” in my collection. And I really like this CD with songs preformed by Kate Bush, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and Sting. So I don’t see the point doing this all over again.

Ben Williams

Would have been really cool if they had done a 3CD edition of these sets with the original Two Rooms set remastered included… would love that.

George Michael’s version of Tonight and Sinead O’Conner’s Scarifice are two fantastic covers!


Totally agree, Tonight, Sacrifice and Rocket Man by Kate Bush were the highlights of Two Rooms.


I didn’t think there would be an album I would ever buy where I would throw the second disc out…


While I suppose it’s a nice and generous thing to support new artists and all that, sometimes the choices he makes really baffle me. You’re ELTON F***ING JOHN, man. (And he’s BERNIE F***ING TAUPIN.) And you’re REALLY going to tell me any of these people are within light years of what you two have written and recorded?



I only really like Elton John singing his songs so no thanks to this collection! And as for Ed Sheeran being on it, YAWN (so fed up of hearing about this guy).

DJ Control

I share your sentiments Francis. Spare a thought for (me & my fellow) Australians, he’s been here for nearly a month playing to over a million punters. Largest stadium tour of Australia EVER undertaken by any artist. All shows sold out. Beats U2, Stones, TSwift you name it and by the attendance numbers my country love him so I’m clearly in the minority. Sorry for venting…
Pretty sure Elton is tied up in Ed’s management / career so no surprise he’s on the tribute album. Very disappointing artist selection on Revamp. Elton’s 50 year catalogue could surely spare an artist that’s not a millennial apart from usual tribute album suspect MJB and QotSA I can do without though I know Reggie likes them too. At least the country album has some artists that are Elton contemporaries like Willie, Dolly, Rosanne Cash & Linda R. Hmm