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The musical environment in which Elton John first appeared was not exactly friendly to a piano-playing pop-rock crooner in glittery suits. When John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight) first appeared, he had a tough act — the whole of the deadly-earnest hippie era — to follow. He had already ridden out the '60s with some industry success behind the scenes, putting Bernie Taupin's lyrics to music and creating hits for artists like Lulu. With Taupin, he soon put together his own debut album, the self-titled Elton John, which was released in 1970 and featured the single "Your Song." It was a sweeping, genre-less hit, one of pure melodic and lyrical satisfaction. This was pop with a timeless appeal and a kind of reflective, almost bittersweet mood at which John would prove a master. And his follow-up albums — 1970's Tumbleweed Connection, 1973's Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road — were equally polished.