Happy Anniversary Elton & Bernie
While a few people today are celebrating the anniversary of a couple of grotesquely rich British parasites, others are celebrating something far more important – the fiftieth anniversary of the songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
When, thirty or so years ago, my good friend Pete Wyer told me that Elton John was his favourite songwriter, I was surprised, imagining Elton to be some kind of light pop music act. Of course, my naive thoughts were proved hopelessly wrong in subsequent years of musical discovery. Elton John is one of the all-time greatest writers of melody, up there with Paul McCartney and Paul Simon, and others of their ilk, while Bernie Taupin is a great lyricist. When I listen to Elton’s albums, especially the classic ‘seventies albums, it’s always the melodically gorgeous or otherwise musically beautiful songs which move me. My own favourite albums are those such as Elton John, Madman Across The Water, Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy, Blue Moves and Songs From The West Coast, all of which have a high proportion of exceptional tunes.
Last night, ITV showed a ‘Top 20 Elton Songs’ tribute (which clumsily opened with a song written by Pete Townshend), and many of the songs would be on my top 20. I have to admit, I was a tad disappointed that Elton’s melodic gift wasn’t mentioned – though there was brief reference to unusual chord changes – but, hey, at least the anniversary has been recognised and celebrated on popular TV and radio.
So here’s my own favourites – thirty wonderful songs by a man of timeless musical genius.
Sixty Years On
Come Down In Time
Blues For My Baby And Me
High Flying Bird
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
I’ve Seen That Movie Too
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
We All Fall In Love Sometimes/Curtains
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Shine On Through
It Ain’t Gonna Be Easy
Song For Guy
I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
I Want Love
This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore
The Captain And The Kid