Limited 180gm heavyweight vinyl LP pressing released to coincide with Elton's 50th year in his musical career.
Rock of the Westies, released in October 1975, was the tenth official album release for Elton John. As with Elton's previous release, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, Rock of the Westies debuted on the US Billboard 200 chart at # 1, the only two albums at that time to have done so. It contains the #1 single "Island Girl." The make-up of John's band was different on Rock of the Westies, being without his long-time drummer Nigel Olsson and bassist Dee Murray, both of whom John fired during April 1975. Added in their place were drummer Roger Pope, an old friend of John's who had played on Empty Sky, Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across the Water, and American bassist Kenny Passarelli, who had previously played with Stephen Stills and was an original member in Joe Walsh's band Barnstorm. Pope had also played in Kiki Dee's touring band. Grammy, Emmy, and Academy Award nominated James Newton-Howard, at the time a virtual unknown, was also brought in as keyboardist, giving him his first major publicity. Also included was Caleb Quaye, another old friend of John's from his early DJM session days. Like Pope, Quaye had also played on Empty Sky and Tumbleweed Connection and also John's intervening eponymous release. Retained from the previous line-up were Davey Johnstone and Ray Cooper.