There are a lot of Elton John songs. By our calculations, there's at least of them. It's a staggering number, but one which should be expected when you consider that John is one of the most important — and prolific — artists the UK has ever produced. Among those songs lie some of the most interesting and invigorating work in rock'n'roll history. Alongside his long-term songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin, and resident producer Gus Dudgeon, John produced music which both marked him out from his contemporaries and pushed boundaries for what it meant to be a real rockstar in the s.
There's a scene in Im Still Standin - Total Vocal - Best Of Total Vocal biopic Rocketman which pulls John's talent into sharp perspective.
Sitting down in front of a piano in his mother's poky front room, the opening bars of eventual mega-hit Your Song flow from his fingertips in Skinhead Till I Die - Evil Conduct - Live At Wild At Heart flush of easy inspiration. Given that the real song was allegedly written in minutes, it's an account which doesn't Margo Price - Paper Cowboy too far from the truth.
Of course, with a back catalogue so vast, not everything could make the cut. John's biggest hit, Candle In The Windhas been omitted here thanks to the years of cloying overfamiliarity which have rendered it, frankly, one of those songs you never need to hear again. Instead, we pick out the 15 best, most original and dynamic Elton John songs, and celebrate a back catalogue which has come to define British music. Home to one of the most recognisable choruses in John's back catalogue — which really is no mean feat — this plaintive doo-wop power ballad tells the story of two lovers ripped apart by war.
Laced with casual regret and mournful longing, the lyrics were written by John's writing partner Bernie Taupin in tribute to his second wife, Toni Russo. It would become one of John's biggest hits during the 80s, no doubt helped by the fact the song features Stevie Wonder on harmonica.
Even though I'm Still Standing was kind of an anthem, Blues is the one for me because it's just a great song to sing. It's timeless.
Taken Im Still Standin - Total Vocal - Best Of Total Vocal the first Elton record to hit number one in the US, this track showed what the singer was capable of as he scaled the heights of his brilliant Early Period — before his fascination with ostentatious glasses threatened to overshadow his talent.
Inspired by Taupin's first visit to New York — where he discovered a less salubrious city than he'd expected — it's an unusually direct lyric from the writer which could equally be interpreted Fool Too Long - Rockpile - Seconds Of Pleasure a metaphor for facing reality with the people you really care about while the spectacle of your dreams crumbles around you.
I found refuge in museums and art galleries and any place I could get in that Blue Yodel No. 10 - Jimmie Rodgers - The Short But Brilliant Life Of Jimmie Rodgers cost any money that would give me some sort of inspiration.
But it was a tough place and all the magical things you hear about it sort of were contradicted by other things that were happening on the street.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is arguably the gleaming apex of John's recording career, and this relative deep cut is one of the album's very best. Okay, okay, we know — if we're splitting hairs, this isn't technically an Elton Unsee - Dearly Beloved - Repo, Repo, Repo song.
Written by The Who for their rock opera TommyElton's version came to life when he tackled it for the album's film adaptation. Similar but distinct, John's version replaced The Who guitarist Pete Townshend's acoustic guitar licks with piano and gave the original a glam rock stomp. John's version became such a hit upon its release as a single that it became the first and only The Who cover to ever break the top 10, and John's first appearance in the top 10 since another of his covers, The Beatles' Lucy In The Sky With Diamondsa year earlier.
It's now well known as an enduring part of his oeuvre and live set, so for our money, it counts. Another of John and Taupin's unashamedly mournful love songs, this Blue Moves single marks something of an anomaly for the songwriting duo. It was actually pretty immediate, the title and the first couple of lines came into Cry Behind The Wheel - Bob Woodruff - Desire Road head in a way that I guess I felt they were already there and just needed a little prompting.
A gleeful tribute to the Motown sounds which dominated the charts in the 60s, this Kiki Dee duet netted John and Taupin an Ivor Novello award in The song marked great success for John in the 70s, climbing to number one in the UK charts and staying there for a month and a half. This could go. It topped the Billboard Hot for three weeks in and spent a total of 14 weeks in the Top 40 — the longest any Elton single had managed at that point.
Sadly, the song wasn't as big a hit with its creators. This type of song is actually a very hard thing to write because the temptation is to try too hard and go berserk.
Rolling Stone reviewed it and gave it two stars, and I said, "Oh, fuck off. Shut the fuck up. The song's protagonist, Bennie, was dreamt up by John as a "sci-fi rock goddess," with Taupin telling Esquire that " Bennie And The Jets was almost Orwellian — it was supposed to be futuristic.
They were supposed to be a prototypical female rock 'n' roll band out of science fiction. Either way, it was definitely something that was totally formed as a Im Still Standin - Total Vocal - Best Of Total Vocaland something that could Im Still Standin - Total Vocal - Best Of Total Vocal morphed into any number of populist items. Could have been comic books or movies. In fact, I can't help but believe that that Robert Palmer video with all the identical models somehow paid a little lip service to The Jets.
Said by John to be his "reaction to still being relevant and successful in the early s," having successfully swerved the post-punk and new romantic trends which had swallowed up the charts, this triumphant, high-energy workout held two fingers firmly aloft to the naysayers who'd speculated his career was over. Which, if my memory serves me correctly, was a sort of kiss-off to an old girlfriend. Desribed by John as "a calypso-type number with Everley Brothers-type harmonies," this '72 hit both won John and Taupin an Ivor Novello and provided fashion designer Donatella Versace with the name of her son.
A soft, warm ballad, its musical tone belies the subject matter: the tale of a wounded Vietnam veteran who returns from war and finds himself unable to escape the glare of the public. I made it Spain, basically, because it rhymes with plane.
John's first solo number one single in the UK, this track was also awarded an Ivor Novello for becoming the best-selling A-side of — despite the fact the song all but tanked when it was originally released in Had it not been for radio DJ Steve Wright, who began replaying it on his BBC Radio One afternoon show, John would never have decided to re-release it inand Sacrifice may well have been resigned to history's New I.D.
(preMX) - Various - Electrojazz At Club Blue Note bin. Picked out by Taupin as the best song he and John ever collaborated on, this firm fan-favourite has been performed by John almost times live.
A maudlin, heartfelt ballad with a lyric that concentrates on how difficult it is to stay faithful and devoted during a relationship — challenging the notion that successful relationships require 'sacrifice' — it's a frank, honest and moving account of modern love.
This stomping glam rock powerhouse has been a staple of John's set since its release, and is easily one of John's most critically and commercially successful tracks. One of John's most covered songs, versions have been recorded by W. And then I put on my piano part afterwards. So I overdubbed my piano Planxty - After The Break and sang the vocal live.
With so many of my songs, the lyrical content has been misconstrued, misinterpreted and you get to the point where you feel like you have to make something up in order to make somebody happy. Given a new lease of life when its popularity was boosted by its inclusion in the film Almost Famousthis delicate, goosebump-inducing ballad failed to break the charts upon its release inbut has become one of John's defining tracks since.
Home to one of the most recognisable piano riffs ever written, Tiny Dancer spins a touching tale of dreamy, carefree love and yearning which would spark joy and warmth in even the coldest of hearts. They were these free spirits, sexy, all hip-huggers and lacy blouses, very ethereal the way they moved. They had this thing about embroidering your clothes.
They wanted to sew patches on your jeans. They mothered you and slept with you. It was the perfect Oedipal complex. It may also explain why it was recently voted the UK's favourite Elton John song of them all.
With its lazy piano and unassuming acoustic strums, Your Song has become a standard not just in Elton's back catalogue, but for British music as a whole. There was something about his vocals that was an improvement on all of the English vocals until then.
Empty Sky was lovely, but it was very naive. We went on to do more esoteric stuff like Take Me To The Pilotof course, but musically, this was a big step forward.
And the older I get, the more I sing these lyrics, and the more they resonate Im Still Standin - Total Vocal - Best Of Total Vocal me. Rocket Man combines all the elements that made Elton John such a singular talent Im Still Standin - Total Vocal - Best Of Total Vocal the 70s: a soaring Im Still Standin - Total Vocal - Best Of Total Vocalplaintive piano riff and stunning vocal turn.
As such, it's little wonder that it's become the definitive Elton John track over the years. Light but textured, defiantly acoustic but with emotional heft, it's also the perfect example of what John, Taupin and Dudgeon could achieve as a trio. Inspired by Ray Bradbury's short story The Rocket Manwhich tells the tale Baby Doll - Lisa Dalbello* - Rockpalast, Zeche Bochum, October 1, 1985 (DVD) an astronaut torn between heading out on a mission to space and staying on Earth with his family, John's song was written at a time when excitement around space exploration was reaching fever pitch, dominating popular culture and media.
But many have speculated that the lyric Im Still Standin - Total Vocal - Best Of Total Vocal serves as a metaphor for the way fame can isolate people from their friends, family and from the real world — a theme incidentally explored in the Rocketman biopic. Most artists in the mid seventies played guitar but Elton played piano and I dreamed of being able to play like him. It had an acoustic guitar on it, it was a different song for me — it was a simpler sound.
Grey Seal Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is arguably the gleaming apex of John's recording career, and this relative deep cut is one of the album's very best. Pinball Wizard Tommy Soundtrack, Okay, okay, we know — if we're splitting hairs, this isn't technically an Elton John song. See more Classic Rock features.
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