Elton John / Rock of the Westies

Fans, myself included, were perturbed when Reg jettisoned Dee and Nigel. However, on Rock of the Westies (1975) featuring bassist Kenny Passarelli and drummer Roger Pope, Sir Elton rocked harder and grittier and with a decidedly soulful disposition – which served the songs best. Kenny renders monster grooves on “Island Girl,” “Grow Some Funk of Your Own,” and “Hard Luck Story” along with killer in-the-pocket work on “Yell Help,” “Dan Dare,” and “Feed Me” and “Street Kids” the latter two which feature his then groundbreaking fretless prowess in a pop context. Of all Elton and Bernie’s classic ‘70s slabs, this one, to my ears, aged the best.