April 6, 2018 / 8:46 PM / 3 months ago

Pop, country singers reimagine Elton John hits on two new albums

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - More than two dozen Elton John songs have been reinterpreted by the likes of Miley Cyrus, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga and Willie Nelson on two albums of past hits released on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Elton John and Miley Cyrus perform "Tiny Dancer" during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards Show in New York, NY, U.S., January 28, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

The pop-focused “Revamp” and country-inspired “Restoration” highlight the British singer’s long collaboration with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, which includes enduring hits such as “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man” and “Candle in the Wind.”

“Bernie and myself are thrilled when singers we admire and respect as much as those on ‘Revamp’ choose to add their own unique twist in the process,” John, 71, said in a statement. “It means that our music is still relevant and ultimately that our songs continue to reach new audiences.”

“Revamp” features a hip hop rendition of “Bennie and the Jets” with John, pop singer P!nk and rapper Logic; British indie rockers Florence and the Machine perform the soaring “Tiny Dancer;” and Sheeran does a folk version of mourning song “Candle in the Wind.”

“The first time I heard ‘Candle in the Wind’ would have been (Princess) Diana’s funeral,” the 27-year-old Sheeran said in a statement.

“I was six at the time, I remember my dad bringing me in and sitting me in front of the TV and being like this is really important - you have to watch this and you have to remember this,” Sheeran added.

FILE PHOTO: Singer Elton John performs before announcing his final "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour in Manhattan, New York, NY, U.S., January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

Cyrus, who has roots in country music as the daughter of singer Billy Ray Cyrus, performs on both albums as John handed songs on “Restoration” over to country artists Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Little Big Town, Dolly Parton and others.

“Elton is a deep musicologist,” contributor Rosanne Cash, the daughter of Johnny Cash, said in a statement. “He loves everything from the deepest, most obscure Appalachian songs through George Jones through deep folk music, gospel, early blues.”

John and Taupin began working together in 1967 after they both answered the same Liberty Records advertisement seeking songwriters. They last collaborated on John’s 2016 album “Wonderful Crazy Night.”

Other singers and groups on the albums include Sam Smith, Mary J. Blige, Mumford & Sons, Demi Lovato, The Killers, Dierks Bentley and Emmylou Harris.

“Because of our love of all kinds of music, we’re not stuck in one genre,” Taupin, 67, said in a statement. “From day one we borrowed from everything that’s good about American music.”

Both albums are released through record labels owned by Vivendi’s Universal Music Group.

Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Chris Reese

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