But the publishing company was unimpressed and the album was shelved. John quickly produced more songs and within months was recording a new album, Empty Sky, to be released in 1969 as his official debut.
Regimental Sgt Zippo is being issued on vinyl in a strictly limited edition as part of Record Store Day, an annual event which sees special releases go on sale in some of the UK’s independent record shops.
However, perhaps only completists and diehard Elton John fans will relish its contents. John makes no reference to the Zippo album in his 2019 memoir, Me, except to say that a publishing company executive listened to songs he produced during this period and told him: “You need to stop this rubbish. You’re not very good at it. In fact, you’re hopeless.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, John admitted that he could not remember half of the songs he composed at that time although “I can remember things like Regimental Sgt Zippo because how could you not with a title like that?”
He also said: “I find it hard to comprehend just how prolific Bernie and I were during the early days. The songs just poured out of us.”