(Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images)
Yet Elton has turned to yet another legend, Bob Dylan, for inspiration. "I wanted at 66 years of age to make records that I think befits a person of my age," Elton said during a Q&A session following the album playback, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Like Modern Times by Bob Dylan. When I heard that record I went, 'My God, this record could have been made any time in the last 50 years!' It's brilliant and I want to try to make records as good as that. And [Dylan] is the person that we look up to. He's the person that we aspire to be as artists because he's always changing, he's always mercurial, he's always like a chameleon. And his quality control is pretty damn good."
That said, Elton has no illusions that in 2013 he'll be the chart-topper he was in the '70s. "I'm not gonna be kicking Nicki Minaj off the charts, but I'm just making records that are valuable to me," he said. "I feel good about them and I can sleep at night."
Part of the reason Elton's feeling so good about The Diving Board is due to the fact it was produced by T Bone Burnett. He happened to witness Elton's legendary first shows at the Troubadour in 1970, and suggested Elton get back to the basics with a stripped-down sound, featuring Elton on piano and vocals, Raphael Saadiq on bass and veteran session man Jay Bellerose on drums.
At the listening session, those musicians -- as well as an additional keyboardist, brass players and backing vocalists -- joined Elton for a live thee-song preview of tracks from the album, as well as a blast from the past -- Elton's 1983 hit "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues."
- Bob Dylan