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"We were supposed to be the one-hit wonder of '94 and then the two-hit wonder of '95, but we never paid any attention to that stuff," says Collective Soul main-man Ed Roland. "We always knew what we could do as a band."
"We're a guitar band," Roland says proudly. "That'll always be the cornerstone of what Collective Soul does. And you can expand from that."
From Collective Soul's very beginning, Roland has often credited "Elton John's Greatest Hits" as his introduction to the wonderful world of rock 'n' roll, as well as his inspiration for becoming a songwriter. Sir Elton has since become a part-time resident of Atlanta, as well as a full-time friend of the band. "I heard from the grapevine that he had really liked our first CD, so I tried to get in touch with his camp," Ed says, recalling his first encounter with his hero.
"I wanted to say thank you for making me want to be a songwriter, y'know, pay homage. About 30 minutes later, Elton called me back. Which was a little overwhelming, it took a little while to get over that. He's not intimidating at all, he makes you feel so comfortable, but he's still Elton John. There's no getting around that! "So we'd gotten to know him over the last five years," he continues, "and we were all at dinner one night, we'd gotten to a comfortable level, and we said, 'Elton, would you mind singing on a song with us?' And he said, 'I'd love to, as long you let me play the piano.' It was like, well, that's the easiest deal we've ever made!"
They decided on "Perfect Day," which with its warm pop vibe and slinky soul groove, was clearly well suited for both the band and their special guest. The only problem was, Ed hadn't entirely finished writing the lyrics! He worked long into the night before Elton's scheduled studio time, just managing to finish before sunrise. The next day the superstar arrived at the studio and amazed Collective Soul with his enthusiasm, professionalism, and sheer talent. "He came in, listened to the song once, played the piano in two takes then got up and sang it in two takes," Roland says, still impressed.
"I like being an old band," Ed Roland laughs. "We like the fact that we're 'catalogue.' We want to be one of those bands that gets two racks in the record store. We're got enough for one, and now we're ready to start working on our second rack."
Almost singularly among rock bands, Collective Soul has remained relevant and commercially viable despite the resurgence of teen pop and the rise of hip-hop.
Hit songs include --
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