December 1974: When "Elton John Greatest Hits" was the Biggest Record in America

Elton John Greatest Hits
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(MCA/Polydor)

By the end of 1974, Elton John was among the most popular music stars in the world. He'd released his eighth studio effort, Caribou, earlier that year, which shot straight to #1 and spawned hit singles "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and "The Bitch is Back." The time was ripe for John to compile his biggest songs into a greatest hits collection. The result was Elton John Greatest Hits.

The 10-song collection spans the years 1970-1974, and is packed with some of John's most popular and well-known tracks, including "Your Song," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," and "Bennie and the Jets." Released on November 8, 1974, the album entered the Billboard 200 chart at #47 in its first week on the shelves. It shot straight to #1 after week two, where it would stay for two solid months. December 1974 and January 1975, Elton John Greatest Hits was the most popular album in America.

The album was far from comprehensive. Elton John hits like "Tiny Dancer" and the then-recent "The Bitch is Back" were not part of the greatest hits collection, despite having done quite well on the charts.

Elton John Greatest Hits would finally be toppled from the top spot on February 8, 1975, by the Ohio Players' Fire. Elton John's hits collection would continue to move copies throughout the year, going on to be the best-selling album of 1975. That would make two years in a row for Elton, who also scored the best-selling album of 1974 with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

 

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