Elton John's Greatest Hits Volume II is a compilation album by British singer/songwriter Elton John, released in 1977. The original 1977 US version features one song from 1971 that wasn't on the first greatest hits album, two songs from 1974 that weren't on the first greatest hits volume. It also features several hit songs from 1975 and two hit singles from Elton's last year of performing in 1976.
There are several versions of the album. There were two original versions, one in the United States and Canada and another for Great Britain and the rest of the world, both released in 1977. The British version, released on DJM Records, included "Bennie and the Jets", a song that had appeared on the 1973 albumGoodbye Yellow Brick Road but had only recently been released as a single (1976) in Elton John's home country. In North America, where the album was released by MCA Records, this song had already appeared on the first volume of Greatest Hits. It was replaced with "Levon", an even older song (from 1971'sMadman Across the Water album) that had not yet been collected.
The album also contained two songs that would later be replaced, "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" both from 1976. These were the newest songs on the collection, and the only two not owned by DJM/This Record Company. They had been released on Elton John's own label named The Rocket Record Company and were owned by his own royalty collection company, Sackville Productions. They appeared on this DJM album by mutual agreement. In North America, all his records were released by MCA (the singles from 1976 as well as the Blue Moves album also carried the Rocket logo), so, at that time, no agreement was necessary.
The original album contained a booklet containing lyrics to the songs (even to the covers of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Pinball Wizard"), with illustrations or performance photos for each song.
In 1992, a new version was released worldwide. Elton John had moved to Polygram Records, who got the rights to all of his DJM recordings (pre-1976.) MCA now controlled his post-DJM recordings, including his later work on Geffen Records which had been taken over by MCA. Greatest Hits Volume III was deleted and replaced with Greatest Hits: 1976–1986, which also contained "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" from the original version of Greatest Hits – Volume 2. On the new edition, those two songs were replaced with two singles not on the original version, 1971's "Tiny Dancer" and 1975's "I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)." Meanwhile, since the current edition of Greatest Hits Volume One now included "Bennie and the Jets" worldwide, Volume 2 now included "Levon" worldwide.
In the US, it was certified gold in September 1977, platinum in November 1977, 3x platinum in March 1993, 4x platinum in September 1995,and 5x platinum in August 1998 by the RIAA.
All of these versions contain "The Bitch Is Back", "Someone Saved My Life Tonight", "Philadelphia Freedom", "Island Girl", "Grow Some Funk of Your Own" and John's covers of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Pinball Wizard".
Original North American Version
|1.||"The Bitch Is Back"||Elton John/Bernie Taupin||Caribou||3:42|
|2.||"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"||John Lennon/Paul McCartney||---||5:58|
|3.||"Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"||Elton John/Bernie Taupin||Blue Moves||3:43|
|4.||"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (duet with Kiki Dee)||Ann Orson/Carte Blanche||---||4:23|
|5.||"Someone Saved My Life Tonight"||Elton John/Bernie Taupin||Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy||6:45|
|6.||"Philadelphia Freedom"||Elton John/Bernie Taupin||---||5:38|
|7.||"Island Girl"||Elton John/Bernie Taupin||Rock of the Westies||3:45|
|8.||"Grow Some Funk of Your Own"||Elton John/Bernie Taupin/Davey Johnstone||Rock of the Westies||4:45|
|9.||"Levon"||Elton John/Bernie Taupin||Madman Across the Water||5:22|
|10.||"Pinball Wizard"||Pete Townshend||Tommy||5:08|
Original International Version
1992 Polydor Reissue