The Elton John CD Review

Leather Jackets (1986)

1.Leather Jackets
2.Hoop of Fire
3.Don't Trust That Woman
4.Go it Alone
5.Gypsy Heart
6.Slow Rivers
7.Heartache all Over the World
9.Memory of Love
11.I Fall Apart


There are those who argue that this one is actually worse than the last (Ice on Fire. I tend to favor this one slightly. Unfortunately, it is only a slight improvement. Elton did admit several years later in an interview that he was so heavily under the influence of drugs that he barely even remembers the recording sessions. This album has the same mid eighties dance club sound that most of us several years later would like to forget. What makes this release better is that when one looks closely, one can actually find a few very bright spots. Like Ice on Fire, he uses a montage of different people in the making of this record. What's odd is that there are a few songs where Elton doesn't even play an instrument at all, and several songs feature him on synthesizer only.

First the good songs: Hoop of Fire and Paris are nothing short of brilliant. If they had been released at another time and on another album, they might have gotten the attention they deserved. Both songs are slower pieces, tending to focus more on melody and less on danceability. There are a few others that aren't awful either. Angeline, although very misogynist and I Fall Apart, the albums closer, do have their bright spots. Don't Trust That Woman (co-written by Cher and Elton under the pseudonym "Lady Choc Ice") although another "dance" song, isn't too bad. There's plenty to forget as well. The only single, Heartache All Over The World is nothing but a clone of the horrible Wrap It Up from Ice on Fire and didn't even chart.

This was the last release under his contract with Geffen Records and it was rumored that tensions were so high that Geffen did very little to promote it. Whereas Ice On Fire was his first ever release not to crack the Billboard Top 40, this one didn't even break the Top 100. Very sad. He proved once before that he could rebound nicely from a slump, and it was once again time to rise to the occasion. It would take a few years, but he would be able to lift himself up again.

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