I don't belong looking for a town of plenty
There weren't these thieves
We had some thing in common
Goals to achieve
We had some thing in common
In a town of plenty
The previous year, after his world tour that revived "Candle in the Wind" to renewed popularity, Elton's vocal cords were a mess following years of a combination of singing overuse, and substance abuse. When non-cancerous nodules were found, surgery was the only answer.
This led to a new sound, as the surgery robbed Elton of his falsetto. Although it wasn't immediately obvious, the sound would define him for a new chapter in his career.
In addition, there was some churn in his backup band. Two of his previous bandmembers, bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson, would only feature on backing vocals. Murray would battle skin cancer thereafter, and died of a stroke in 1992, never to appear on another Elton record. Olsson would spend a few years on other pursuits, but would return to Elton beginning with Made in England in 1995.
Still dealing with some oversaturation, reviews for the album were mixed, with Rolling Stone giving it 2 out of 5 stars. It only made it to the top 20 in both the United States and United Kingdom, but was certified Gold by the RIAA. It turned out very successful in other markets; it went double-Platinum in Canada, and sold 500,000 copies in Italy.note
The album was supported by four singles: "I Don't Wanna Go on with You Like That", "Town of Plenty", "A Word in Spanish", and "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (Part Two). The first single would hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, but only #30 in the UK. "Spanish" was also a hit in the U.S.
The album was remastered and re-released through Elton's private label, Rocket Records, in 1998. It featured a couple remixes, and a new song, "Rope Around a Fool".
- "Town of Plenty" (3:40)
- "A Word in Spanish" (4:39)
- "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (Part Two)" (4:12)
- "I Don't Wanna Go On with You Like That" (4:35)
- "Japanese Hands" (4:40)
- "Goodbye Marlon Brando" (3:30)
- "The Camera Never Lies" (4:36)
- "Heavy Traffic" (3:30)
- "Poor Cow" (3:50)
- "Since God Invented Girls" (4:54)
Extra tracks from the 1998 remaster
- "Rope Around a Fool" (3:48)
- "I Don't Wanna Go On with You Like That (Shep Pettibone Mix)" (7:16)
- "I Don't Wanna Go On with You Like That (Just Elton and His Piano Mix)" (4:37)
- "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (Part Two) (The Renaissance Mix)" (6:19)
"Sons of bankers, sons of tropers:"
- Love Forgives All but Lust: The singer in "I Don't Wanna Go on with You Like That" has heard that his lover is not satisfied, and wants to set the record straight that their relationship cannot continue if he's not going to be the only one.
- New Sound Album: Elton's first studio album since 1987 throat surgery that changed his voice
- Sequel Song: "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (Part Two)" is the sequel to a song from Honky Château. Although more up-tempo and complex of melody, the meaning is the same as the original.