The Friday Song

Film

I’m off to see ‘Rocketman’ tonight. I have a long history with Elton John. To me he’s like the Queen – he’s always been there in my life.

The first album I bought was ‘Friends’, for which he wrote the score – and I think ‘Your Song’ came from it. The first rock concert I ever went to (I took my baby brother) was at Wembley – the Eagles, the Beach Boys and Elton John.

I interviewed Bernie Taupin one year (supremely awkward) and saw Reginald play ‘White Christmas’ on a grand piano on the lawn at the Roof Gardens in Kensington in the snow.

I forgot he was having another farewell tour this year and failed to get tickets, something I’ll have to live with forever. Elton’s songs made a welcome appearance in ‘Gnomeo & Juliet’, one of the few films in which Maggie Smith and Ozzy Osbourne share a soundtrack.This version of Rocketman is by Iranian filmmaker and refugee Majid Adin.

10 comments on “The Friday Song”

  1. Wayne Mook says:

    How could any re-imagining of the Bard be low brow?

    An episode of Astro Boy does one of the oddest versions of Romeo & Juliet retellings with feuding families of robot car racers, and no happy ending for the robot lovers.

    I always remember Elton john on The Muppets when I was young, splendid times.

    Wayne.

  2. Ian Luck says:

    Not really a fan of Reginald Dwight. He’s made hundreds of tunes, and I found it difficult to think of many that I actually like – or can even hum.
    1) I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.
    2) Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road.
    3) I’m Still Standing.
    4) Choc Ice Goes Mental.
    Couldn’t even make five – and the last one is a ‘B’ side. Several tracks were created under the ‘Nom de piano’ of ‘Lord Choc Ice’. Not knocking him, he’s obviously great at what he does, but not really my thing. I’ll stick to my electronic music, I think. I know where I am with that.

  3. admin says:

    Ian – Rocketman? Don’t Go Breaking My Heart? Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting? Honky Cat? Your Song?

  4. snowy says:

    How much you like Elton/Reg seems to depend on the ‘formula’ (when you discovered him + how old you were).

    If you were in on the exciting ride with him as he went from ‘Elton who? to International Rock Star ELTON JOHN’ in about 18 months, you had a very different experience from somebody who only discovered him when he had somehow morphed into his own tribute act, knocking out odd little ballads about strange Russian women or rehashing his back catalogue.

    [He and Bernie have knocked out some absolutely storming tunes, but there has also been an awful lot of absolute tat. But the world wouldn’t have been the same without him, bless his diamond encrusted socks.]

  5. Denise says:

    I saw Elton John at the famous Coliseum in Ceasar ‘s Palace in L. V. He puts on a very good show and has the audience singing. It was all very enjoyable and I came away liking Elton John very much .

  6. Vincent C says:

    Tumbleweed Connection (original) – any song! The first time I heard this album (when it was originally released in the UK, 1970 I believe) I thought it was consistently unbelievably original and excellent. My opinion has never changed – I can listen to it with as much pleasure today as I did almost half a century ago!

  7. Ian Luck says:

    Sorry, Chris. Those, I’m sure are fine tunes, but not for me. The first big star to grab my attention, partially because my much older cousin was a fan, and partially because, aged 7, I realised that his songs were rather strange, and definitely in places, creepy (in the good way), was David Bowie. I have never really enjoyed ‘happy’ music, but always have been drawn to the odd, and dark. Elton John has always been a bit too frivolous for me. A frothy confection that pops out a nice tune every now and then. That’s fine. But not really my thing. The tunes of his that I like are real ‘Ohrwurms’ (sorry to any Germans if the spelling is wrong) too.

  8. Wayne Mook says:

    I guess it’s what sticks in your ear Ian. I used listen to Elton John via my uncles when I stayed over at my grans, my older sister was the David Bowie fan. I’d listen to music my family listened to and this went from opera and Male voice choirs, to old rock and roll, country and western, a lot of that new-fangled 70’s music and through to old music hall, and a lot more in-between. The first music scene I actually got into from my own was the ska revival at the end of the 70’s, I was one of the few long haired ska fans, never really did work out how to fit in but I always had fun.

    I see you changed the link admin from the G & R version of Crocodile Rock. It’s not the worst version but not as good as the replacement.

    Wayne.

  9. Helen Martin says:

    I usually get caught by the words of a song or a catchy musical hook so it’s not the singer, it’s the song. I’m learning to listen closely to rap, but they’re spoken poetry not songs (sorry). We were in Portland Oregon when Elton John played there in the early ’70s and we watched the crowds gathering while we ate dinner. The crowds looked so happy and enthusiastic and there were so many! Everyone in the dining room knew what was readying and enjoyed thinking about it.

  10. Ian Luck says:

    Helen, if you’re listening to Rap music, may I steer you in the direction of my favourite Rapper, who has been voted ‘Best Rapper Of All Time’ by his peers. It’s a guy called Rakim, of Eric B and Rakim. He started out with the usual ‘bragging’ type raps, but there was something different about them – this guy had intelligence and ideas. Lots of ideas. He and Eric B (an utterly superb DJ) released a record called ‘Follow The Leader’, which I love for several reasons: It’s full of simply astonishing wordplay and imagery, like:
    “So follow me, and while you’re thinking you’re first
    Let’s travel at magnificent speeds around the universe
    What could you say as the world gets further
    And further away
    Planets as small as balls of clay
    We stray into the Milky Way, world’s out of sight
    Far as the eye can see, not even a satellite
    Now stop and turn round and look
    As you stare in the darkness your knowledge
    Is took…”
    Now, hearing that for the first time in about 1988, it moved me in the way no other rap record ever had. I still love it, and the images it throws up, all the way through. The other thing I love, is that even if you have the lyrics to hand, it’s very, very hard to keep up with Rakim’s lyrical flow. The other unusual thing about him is that he very seldom uses bad language in his raps. He’s still releasing stuff, and it’s hard enough to rollerskate on. But his first two albums with Eric B, ‘Paid In Full’ (1987), and ‘Follow The Leader’ (1988) are the best, and most accessible. You can also laugh at the Mr T level of bling the pair wear on the album covers, which was actually foist upon them by their management. The other really superb album of that era, was ‘3 Feet High And Rising’, by De La Soul. A great, daft album. Great tunes, raps, and a nice sense of fun throughout. One small problem: it was recorded very poorly. The vinyl copy is tremendously quiet, so we waited for the CD. That took several years, as the group were trying to get out of a very bad record company deal. Then the CD came out – and was almost as bad as the vinyl, having being released without being re-mastered, which could have alleviated the volume problem. I’d still give it a go, just to see how much fun rap can be.

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