Lost Elton John demo gets Record Day Release courtesy of PMC

A never before heard demo version of Elton John’s Border Song will be included in the forthcoming Record Store Day anniversary release of the self-titled album ‘Elton John’ (aka The Black Album).

The track was provided by PMC owner and managing director Peter Thomas, to Universal Music, from his extensive music archives. 

PMC is a UK-based manufacturer of professional monitor and audiophile speaker systems, known for its Advanced Transmission Line (ATL) technology, which provides a high-resolution, wide-bandwidth signal response across the complete product range. 

The fiftieth anniversary gatefold double album will be released on 29 August 2020 as part of Record Store Day.

Thomas, a long-time collector of Elton John’s early work, has a vast collection of the global superstar’s music, including many rare and unusual versions of songs and albums. The demo version of ‘Border Song’ has been part of the collection since the late 1970s, when he was working at BBC Radio on a programme about Trident Studios, where Elton John recorded his first album, often called the Black Album. 

One of the studio engineers handed Thomas a quarter inch15 IPS (inches per second) reel to reel tape that contained numerous Elton John demos, including ‘Border Song’. For this Record Store Day release, he was approached by Universal Music Group (UMG) and Rocket Entertainment (Elton John’s management company) to see if he could help with their quest to find this unreleased piano demo, as it was missing from their archive and thought to be lost.

Using a modified vintage Studer B67 tape machine, Peter transferred the original tape to a WAV file which was then supplied to UMG.

“These are simple demo recordings with just piano and vocal with no band or string arrangements and are very different from the released versions,” says Thomas. “Elton is in great voice and this demo includes a fine piano solo too.” It is sure to be sought after by other fans of Elton’s work, he adds.

‘Border Song’ was originally released in April 1970 and was the first single released from the Black Album. It failed to chart in the UK, unlike the second single, ‘Your Song’ which was a huge hit. The track was later covered by Aretha Franklin and charted in December 1970.