First Hit #1: April 12, 1975
If there’s one consistent quality with Elton John’s early hits, it’s that his singles are always the songs where he’s having the most fun. Sure, the John/Taupin team could write a mean introspective ballad, but the hits, the songs that crested the top of the charts, those are the fun songs. Philadelphia Freedom is no different, a driving song that was written for a tennis pro but is just generally about something positive involving Philadelphia. Truth be told, it’s not always easy to tell what the words actually are here – John isn’t at his most intelligible – but what you do hear sounds generally positive, and John is performing with enthusiasm. There’s something infectious about the joy he brings to the table, and it’s a song that would make one proud of Philadelphia.