Elton John was at the absolute pinnacle of his fame when he appeared on the Gilbert O’Sullivan Show in late 1973 to perform his new holiday song “Step Into Christmas.” The clip was placed into the ITV archives after the initial airing and presumed lost forever, but it was recently discovered and is premiering at Rolling Stone.
The original Christmas song was released a couple of months after Goodbye Yellow Brick Road landed on shelves and hit Number 24 on the UK Singles Chart, but it’s had a long afterlife in John’s native country (though it remains somewhat obscure in America) and reached Number 11 on the same chart just last year. In this performance clip, Drummer Nigel Olsson, bassist Dee Murray, guitarist Davey Johnstone and, in a very rare onstage appearance, lyricist Bernie Taupin on percussion join John. The original recording is now available as a digital EP along with “Ho! Ho! Ho! (Who’d Be A Turkey At Christmas)” and the Gilbert O’Sullivan performance of “Step Into Christmas.”
John will wrap up the 2018 leg of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road farewell tour next week, but he’ll return to the road in mid-January and plans to stay there until sometime in 2021. “He might do a residency somewhere when it ends,” Taupin recently told Rolling Stone, “but this is absolutely the last tour.”