Elton John & Elvis Costello Headline New Universal Music SACDs

New SACDs from Elton John (two versions of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: 30th Anniversary Edition”) and Elvis Costello (“North”) headline this week’s new titles from Universal Music. Today’s SACD new releases from Universal also included titles from John Hiatt as well as classical SACDs from Luciano Pavarotti and a 6 SACD set of the Beethoven Symphonies by Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

All of today’s new SACDs are Hybrid Layer SACDs. They feature both SACD and CD Audio versions of the music on each album and are playable on SACD, CD and SACD compatible DVD Video players. Here’s more information on each of today’s SACD releases from Universal Music.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: 30th Anniversary Edition
Elton John
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Audio

2 SACD Deluxe Edition (Island Records B0001570-36)
2 SACD & DVD Video Special Edition (Island Records B0001478-40)

Today’s Deluxe and Special SACD Editions of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: 30th Anniversary Edition by Elton John feature new 5.1 SACD Surround Sound tracks. The discs are Single Inventory releases where the SACD sets will serve as both the SACD and conventional CD edition of the new albums.

Both versions of the SACD include 2 discs that contain SACD Surround Sound, SACD Stereo and CD audio versions of the music on the album as well as some bonus tracks on disc two. The Special Edition includes a 50 minute DVD Video of “The Making of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. The original version of that DVD Video is still on the market and is 90 minutes long. Presumably the abbreviated edition is provided here as a “bonus” and to encourage Elton John fans to buy the complete edition later on.

The new 5.1 SACD Surround Sound mix on the album was “directed and mixed” by Greg Penny at Flower Surround in Ojai, California and mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood. I listened to the new edition in SACD Surround Sound earlier today and I must say it lives up to the praise from those who heard the SACD prior to release.

Penny’s Surround Mix makes extensive use of the surround sound field and reinvigorates some classic material here. The final bonus track on the second disc, an “Acoustic Mix” of “Candle In The Wind” featuring only guitar, Elton John and the backing vocals is not to be missed. Also worth noting, Penny was the Producer of Elton John’s “Made In England” album which may explain why Universal Music in Europe has already announced it as the next Elton John album to get a SACD Surround Sound release. After this successful first effort, I’m sure Elton John fans will be waiting for that one as well.

Album Selections
Disc One (Both Editions)

  1. Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
  2. Candle in the Wind
  3. Bennie and the Jets
  4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  5. This Song Has No Title
  6. Grey Seal
  7. Jamaica Jerk-Off
  8. I’ve Seen That Movie Too

Disc Two (Both Editions)

  1. Sweet Painted Lady
  2. The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-1934)
  3. Dirty Little Girl
  4. All the Young Girls Love Alice
  5. Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock n’ Roll)
  6. Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
  7. Roy Rogers
  8. Social Disease
  9. Harmony
  10. Whenever You’re Ready (We’ll Go Steady)
  11. Jack Rabbit
  12. Screw You (Young Man Blues)
  13. Candle in the Wind (Acoustic Mix)

Disc Three – DVD Video: The Making of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Special Video Edition Only)

  1. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  2. Jamaican Jerk Off
  3. Ballad of Danny Bailey
  4. Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
  5. Bennie and the Jets
  6. Sweet Painted Lady
  7. Roy Rogers
  8. Candle in the Wind


Elvis Costello
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Audio

(Deutsche Grammophon B0001580-36)

North is the latest album from Elvis Costello. The release is a bit surprising in that it appears on Universal’s Deutsche Grammophon which is usually reserved for Classical Music artists. In this case, Costello is featured performing 11 songs in an intimate style that is a change of pace from some of his earlier releases.

The SACD Surround Sound mix on “North” was done by Kevin Killen who also co-produced and mixed the original Stereo CD version of the album. The SACD was mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering and produced by Paul Bishow at Universal Music eLabs.

The Surround mix features Costello’s vocals and most of the music in the front channels with the rear channels used a bit more sparingly. Given the style of the music and album, it works well.

Album Selections

  1. You Left Me In The Dark
  2. Someone Took The Words Away
  3. When Did I Stop Dreaming
  4. You Turned To Me
  5. Fallen
  6. When It Sings
  7. Still
  8. Let Me Tell You About Her
  9. Can You Be True?
  10. When Green Eyes Turn Blue
  11. I’m In The Mood Again


Bring The Family
John Hiatt
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Audio

(A&M Records B0000284-36)

Bring The Family is John Hiatt’s best known album. Recorded in 1987, it features an all star band performing a selection of material that Hiatt wrote that talks about some lessons about life and love that the songwriter/singer had just emerged from.

The album’s 5.1 Surround Sound mix and mastering was done by David Tickle at Avalon Studios in Kauai, Hawaii. Tickle has done several prior 5.1 remixes including the “Every Breath You Take: The Classics” album by The Police. His Surround Sound mixes tend to use all five of the speakers in the sound field extensively. That is certainly the case here with vocals in the center front and instruments appearing in both the front and surround channels. Fans of an aggressive Surround Sound mix will enjoy this approach to the album’s music.

Album Performers

  • John Hiatt – Vocals, Guitar & Piano
  • Ry Cooder – Guitar, Sitar & Harmony Vocals
  • Jim Keltner – Drums
  • Nick Lowe – Bass & Harmony Vocals

Album Selections

  1. Memphis in the Meantime
  2. Alone in the Dark
  3. Thing Called Love
  4. Lipstick Sunset
  5. Have a Little Faith in Me
  6. Thank You Girl
  7. Tip of My Tongue
  8. Your Dad Did
  9. Stood Up
  10. Learning How to Love You


2 New Classical Music SACDs
In addition to these 4 new Pop and Rock Surround Sound SACDs, Universal Music also released two new Classical Music SACDs today.

“Ti Adoro” by Luciano Pavarotti & Friends (Decca Classics B0001499-36) is a new Hybrid Layer Surround Sound SACD that features the well known Classical Music singer performing both classical and some crossover selections. On the album he is joined by a number of his “friends” including well known rock guitarist Jeff Beck.

Also new today is a 6 disc Hybrid Stereo SACD boxed set that features Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra performing all of Beethoven’s Symphonies (Deutsche Grammophon B0001655-36). The first 5 SACDs catalog the orchestra’s performances of the composer’s nine symphonies while the “bonus” 6th disc features a rehearsal of the 9th Symphony.

The new SACDs by Elton John, Elvis Costello and John Hiatt are available at Tower Records stores as well as the Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc, Music Direct and Red Trumpet web sites. Tower Records and the Acoustic Sounds web site also has the 6 disc Beethoven Symphonies SACD and the Luciano Pavarotti SACD in stock as well.

Upcoming SACD Release List
Universal Music’s list of upcoming SACD titles appears to have remained unchanged from last week. The upcoming Universal SACD releases include a number of interesting titles including:

December 9, 2003 SACD Release

  • 112 – Hot And Wet (Def Jam)
  • Randy Newman – Seabiscuit Soundtrack (Decca)

December 16, 2003 SACD Release

  • Musiq – Soulstar (Def Jam)February 24, 2004 SACD Release
  • Count Basie & His Orchestra – April In Paris (Verve)
  • Herbie Hancock – Gershwin’s World (Verve)

SACD Releases Coming Soon

  • Ryan Adams – Rock ‘N Roll (Lost Highway)
  • Allman Brothers Band – Eat A Peach (Mercury)
  • Allman Brothers Band – Live At Filmore East (Mercury)
  • Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Blvd. (Polydor)
  • Eric Clapton – Slow Hand (Polydor)
  • John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman – John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (Impulse)
  • Derek & the Dominoes – Layla (Polydor)
  • Joe Henderson – Lush Life: The Music Of Billy Strayhorn (Verve)
  • Shirley Horn – Here’s to Live: Shirley Horn With Strings (Verve)
  • Motley Crüe – Greatest Hits (Hip-O Records)
  • Nana Mouskouri – Nana Swings (Deutsche Grammophon)