John to make tracks available for download


LONDON -- Elton John says he will make his back catalog of more than 30 albums available for digital download later this month.

The tracks, more than 400 in all, will be available through Apple Inc.'s iTunes service from March 26 through April 30, and then will be made available on other download services.

The newly digitized albums include John's 1969 debut, "Empty Sky," and perennial favorites such as "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy."

The move coincides with John's 60th birthday Sunday and the release of a new compilation album, "Rocket Man," on March 29.

"I've wanted my music to be available for digital download worldwide for some time, but I knew that the entire catalog -- not just the hits -- needed care and attention to be released in this way," the singer said in a statement Wednesday.

"Now that it's happening, I'm pleased for the fans' sake. The world has certainly changed since Philips Records issued my first single on 7-inch vinyl -- 39 years ago this month," he said.

John said he would also release some of his singles as cell phone ringtones.

Several of his best-known video clips -- including the duet "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with Kiki Dee -- will be available through digital music services.

John's back catalog is owned by Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group.