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PMC Founder Uncovers Elton John Demos

Peter Thomas, founder of PMC, provided seven rare demos for UMG’s 50th anniversary release of Elton John’s 'Madman Across the Water.'

Peter Thomas, founder and chairman of U.K. speaker manufacturer PMC
Peter Thomas, founder and chairman of U.K. speaker manufacturer PMC.

Biggleswade, UK (June 21, 2022)—Peter Thomas, founder and chairman of U.K. speaker manufacturer PMC, provided seven rare demo tracks for UMG’s 50th anniversary release of Elton John’s 1971 album Madman Across the Water.

A long-time collector of Elton John’s early work, Thomas has a vast collection of his music, including many rare and unusual versions of songs and albums, which he curates as part of the PMC music archives. Thomas was contacted by Universal Music Group following his previous assistance with supply of a track for the 2020 Record Store Day re-release of Elton’s first U.S. album.

For this 50th anniversary re-release of Madman Across the Water, UMG wanted to create a full album’s worth of demo tracks, to give the die-hard fans a real insight into Elton’s creative process. “After the release of earlier Elton John box sets,” Thomas says, “I contacted Universal to let them know I had in the PMC archives collection a number of never-before-released demo tracks that I had acquired from contacts at Trident Studios, where this album was recorded. They were interested in including some of the tracks from my Elton John collection for future releases and took one for the 2020 Record Store Day release.

“I was delighted when they contacted me again during the compilation of this new anniversary box set to enquire whether I could assist. Of course, I was happy to help and was able to provide seven tracks, including the piano demo of the future hit ‘Tiny Dancer.’”

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The process of supplying the rare tracks began with Thomas creating digital transfers from the original tapes before passing them on to Universal. The tracks provide a first-time opportunity for fans to hear the intimacy of the piano-only demo tracks that Elton John recorded.

“These are not take 30 or 40, but the very first recordings made of these tracks,” Thomas comments. “It’s a real treat for fans to hear them in their raw, unrefined form, before the outstanding production work by Gus Dudgeon, and Paul Buckmaster’s arrangements, turned them into the two-times platinum album we all love.”

Thomas was also able to supply very rare items of memorabilia for inclusion in a 104-page coffee table book that forms part of the box set release. In appreciation of his assistance in this exciting project Thomas and PMC are credited on the album sleeve and souvenir book.

Madman Across the Water was released June 10, 2022 and is available in a variety of formats: