Bernie Taupin Is A Godawful Lyricist Whose Lyrics Sound Amazing Coming Out Of Elton John's Mouth — ILM ARTIST POLL #41: ELTON JOHN

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"Heh, you hear that, Bernie?"

Thanks to fact checking cuz for that pullquote in the title, and thanks for sending in your ballots! We got 32 in the end; enough to roll out a Top 50 and have somewhat meaningful side poll results. First up? Worst/Most-Hated Songs...

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:26 (nine years ago) link

08. "Wrap Her Up" (1985) [20 points]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKWsg_VrzbA

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:30 (nine years ago) link

For some reason, it didn't count the # of votes when I was tabulating the side polls, so all I've got are points totals. Sorry.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:31 (nine years ago) link

terrible thread title

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:32 (nine years ago) link

the joke's on you, buddy

Euler, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:33 (nine years ago) link

"Wrap Her Up" is terrible but not really stand-out-terrible for EJ imo, more like run of the mill dreadful

Euler, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:34 (nine years ago) link

07. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (1974) [23 points]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ic2hlOwCif4

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:44 (nine years ago) link

I hadn't heard this before. It's okay, but it's completely unnecessary when everyone is aware of the source material. It also brings up the problem of what Elton mines the Beatles for - he does it a lot from here up to about 1979, and it's always for the most saccharine bits. Needs a bit of Lennon sourness to set it off, which Elton doesn't do.

Ismael Klata, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:47 (nine years ago) link

Ooh disagree - I think this song fits the expansive, slightly goofy, stadium rock that EJ was playing live by '74 like a glove. And Lennon is of course on this.

Jeff W, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:59 (nine years ago) link

"Wrap Her Up" is terrible when you listen to it and watch the video.

first I think it's time I kick a little verse! (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:59 (nine years ago) link

Two gay guys pretend to each other they are not.

Mark G, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:04 (nine years ago) link

06. "Something About The Way You Look Tonight" (1997) [26 points]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B93Tir6l5FA

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:08 (nine years ago) link

Elton even acknowledges this is from his worst album, though I'm not sure how he feels about the song itself.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:15 (nine years ago) link

I really like this! His strained vocal is quite uncharacteristic, and brings real feeling in a way that he often can't manage.

xp Lennon's on it? I forgot they were great pals. What does he do?

Ismael Klata, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:15 (nine years ago) link

05. "Circle Of Life" (1994) [36 points]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs3NEyQFxGc

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:22 (nine years ago) link

"Wrap Her Up" is terrible but not really stand-out-terrible for EJ imo, more like run of the mill dreadful

omg rmde at Nancy Reagan inclusion

what's up ugly girls? (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:30 (nine years ago) link

Lennon's on it? What does he do?
His credit is 'featuring the Reggae Guitars of Dr Winston O'Boogie'

Jeff W, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:31 (nine years ago) link

NAAAAAAAANTS INGONYAAAAAAMAAAA BAGITHI BABAAA

I tweeted too much and I am in jail. (crüt), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:32 (nine years ago) link

TIE!

03. "Jamaica Jerk-Off" (1973) [39 points]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyGU-CJulTs

03. "Crocodile Rock" (1972) [39 points]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lilZb_9MMHQ

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:33 (nine years ago) link

^ Muppet Show performance almost makes me like Crocodile Rock

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:34 (nine years ago) link

crocodile rock is fantastic fuiud

I tweeted too much and I am in jail. (crüt), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:34 (nine years ago) link

I voted for "Jamaica Jerk-Off" but i think it stands out mostly because it's right after "Grey Seal"

tbh my hated ballot coulda been as long as my actual ballot

voted "Crocodile Rock" on my "real" ballot, don't get the hate

Euler, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:35 (nine years ago) link

http://wfmu.org/listen.m3u?show=37319&archive=63515

schwantz, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:38 (nine years ago) link

Haha, nice!

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:39 (nine years ago) link

Oh, I didn't realise it was "Most hated" section, just thought you'd had only a few votes/consensus..

Mark G, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:39 (nine years ago) link

Shhh you're spoiling JF's big reveal!

Jeff W, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:41 (nine years ago) link

02. "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" (1994) [81 points]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1hcc1QvM2Q

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:45 (nine years ago) link

TOO LOW

Euler, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:46 (nine years ago) link

^^

Also, I had never heard "Wrap Her Up" or "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" until just now, but together they handily summarize what is so objectionable about Elton during both the 80s and the 90s.

the vineyards where the grapes of corporate rock are stored (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:47 (nine years ago) link

This "Taupin" Best Show call-in is amazing. Thanks, schwantz!

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:49 (nine years ago) link

It just gets more and more ridic.

schwantz, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:54 (nine years ago) link

01. "Candle In The Wind '97 (Goodbye England's Rose)" (1997) [87 points]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8gO0Z818j4

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:55 (nine years ago) link

Also, I had never heard "Wrap Her Up" or "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" until just now

really? SATWYLT was inescapable for five years.

first I think it's time I kick a little verse! (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:58 (nine years ago) link

reign of terror

first I think it's time I kick a little verse! (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:58 (nine years ago) link

the #1! looooooooooool!!! (and OTM).

I wanna live like C'MOWN! people (Turrican), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:59 (nine years ago) link

Never in doubt.

Jeff W, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:01 (nine years ago) link

I assumed its success was based solely on sharing the disc with CITW '97, but somehow I escaped this one.

the vineyards where the grapes of corporate rock are stored (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:04 (nine years ago) link

Sacrifice didn't make the top 5. I am disappoint :(

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:05 (nine years ago) link

oh there's still time

Euler, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:05 (nine years ago) link

wow, citw97 only just scraped home

Ismael Klata, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:07 (nine years ago) link

I was expecting a points tally to rival its total sales

Ismael Klata, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:08 (nine years ago) link

John publicly performed "Candle in the Wind 1997" only once, at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in Westminster Abbey on 6 September 1997.[12] He continues to sing the original version of the song at his concerts, but has repeatedly turned down requests to perform the revised version,[12] even for the memorial Concert for Diana in July 2007, having vowed never to perform it again unless asked by Diana's sons.[13]

He's not completely out of touch with good sense, at least.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:08 (nine years ago) link

Re: the Taupin radio skit linked above...the Mick Mars/Nick Rhodes/Pick Withers/Mick Box/Nick Lachey made me LOL so hard I woke my bf up.

the vineyards where the grapes of corporate rock are stored (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:12 (nine years ago) link

*supergroup

the vineyards where the grapes of corporate rock are stored (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:12 (nine years ago) link

Croc Rock rocks!

piscesx, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:31 (nine years ago) link

Favorite albums!

10. Elton John (1970) [21 points]

http://www.vinylsurrender.com/Graphics/AlbumCovers2/Elton%20John%20-%20Elton%20John.jpg

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:33 (nine years ago) link

Oh, btw, the scoring on the side polls went like this: 1:16, 2:13, 3:10, 4:7, 5:4 for albums and 1:16, 2:13, 3:10 for most hated tracks.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:37 (nine years ago) link

Nick Hogan used to be in the band, but that was stupid.

schwantz, Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:39 (nine years ago) link

I really like that first album. A lot.

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:39 (nine years ago) link

Live in Australia, I learned, has a lot of songs from the first album.

first I think it's time I kick a little verse! (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 16:48 (nine years ago) link

for real though tattoo you's a special case since mick at least knew they were creatively tapped and virtually all of the material is stitched together from like the previous 8 years of writing and recording

resulting post (rogermexico.), Friday, 23 August 2013 06:29 (nine years ago) link

the bitch is back', 'saturday' - have always seemed to me to be fairly straightforward stones rips

i think that's the first time the stones have been mentioned on this thread, which is weird, 'cause elton borrowed a lot from them. the southern americana of "no shoestrings on louise." the horns on "elderberry wine." and all that guitar stuff like "saturday," of course. but he was obviously listening to bowie too. and bowie was listening to the stones and borrowing from them too. they're both sponges.

fact checking cuz, Friday, 23 August 2013 07:25 (nine years ago) link

"bad blood" is fantastic. i assumed there wasn't quite enough elton in it to merit a vote in this particular poll. bring on the sedaka poll.

fact checking cuz, Friday, 23 August 2013 07:27 (nine years ago) link

"i miss the earth so much/i miss my wife" > "tell my wife i love her very much/she knows"

I used heard the former as a comma rather than the slash that's here..

like, "It's got so bad up here I actually miss my wife"

Mark G, Friday, 23 August 2013 08:13 (nine years ago) link

I hear it as a comma too, and used the slash only to be consistent with a previous post quoting the Bowie lyric.

I just liked the juxtaposition of those two statements, in that order. It puts me in the shoes of the titular character, flying alone for a long time in my spacecraft in a different galaxy, pondering which I would miss more, my spouse or just planet earth in general?

Lee626, Friday, 23 August 2013 08:42 (nine years ago) link

well, thesedays I don't think elton/bernie actually meant it that way

Mark G, Friday, 23 August 2013 08:49 (nine years ago) link

hmm, did not know this:

Solo albums[edit source]
1971 Taupin
1980 He Who Rides The Tiger
1987 Tribe

With Farm Dogs[edit source]
1996 Last Stand in Open Country
1998 Immigrant Sons

Mark G, Friday, 23 August 2013 08:50 (nine years ago) link

Well done, everyone. Top 2 spot on.

(Not keen on "Tiny Dancer" but maybe if it had been a hit over here in '71 (the UK was pretty much ignoring Elton circa Madman), I'd feel differently about it. As it is, I'd never heard it until Almost Famous.)

My ballot:
Songs

01. Someone Saved My Life Tonight
02. Ego
03. Are You Ready For Love?
04. Philadelphia Freedom
05. Honky Cat
06. Burn Down The Mission
07. Tonight
08. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
09. Sixty Years On
10. Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding

11. Rocket Man (I think it's going to be a long long time)
12. Nobody Wins
13. Grey Seal
14. I Feel Like a Bullet (In the Gun of Robert Ford)
15. Better Off Dead
16. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
17. Passengers
18. Madman Across The Water
19. Take Me To The Pilot
20. Skyline Pigeon

LPs
1. 17-11-70
2. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
3. The Union [w/ Leon Russell] <-- placement is trolling but there is some good stuff on this, check it out
4. Honky Château
5. Greatest Hits, Volume II

1, 4 and 5 above are the first EJ records I bought, within days of each other, so nostalgia's playing a big part here. In retrospect, I should have found room for Blue Moves.

Worst songs
1. Candle In The Wind '97
2. Grow Some Funk Of Your Own
3. Circle of Life

Thanks to J Fever for running this, long overdue, poll.

Jeff W, Friday, 23 August 2013 10:03 (nine years ago) link

"Nobody Wins "!

first I think it's time I kick a little verse! (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 23 August 2013 11:43 (nine years ago) link

haha oh man I just saw the post where Shakey says it's "kind of a toss-up" whether Elton John or David Bowie is a better piano player

some dude, Friday, 23 August 2013 12:53 (nine years ago) link

Yeah, A-plus to Shakey for making like two dozen posts in character as OG rockist strawman before anyone bothered to point it out. I do actually agree that some of the slower songs can be on the samey side, but the rest was just bonkers. I say this as someone who's had ''Ballad of a Well-Known Gun'' and ''My Father's Gun'' on alternating mental shuffle for the past eight hours, so I just can't take the criticism as far as ''oh yeah these songs have nothing at all to offer and are boring and forgettable.'' Dude knew a hook, and the arrangements/playing add so much detail and little micro-hooks and surprises. Yeah, they don't usually need to go past four minutes, but there's a lot more in those four minutes than you'd expect to find.

Doctor Casino, Friday, 23 August 2013 15:07 (nine years ago) link

the chinese piano re: honky cat = pinnacle of shakey ITT

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 23 August 2013 15:38 (nine years ago) link

Note to self, when I have a computer in front of me rather than a phone, write out five-paragraph, line-by-line explanation of why ''Captain Fantastic'' is one of the greatest songs in Elton's catalog.

Doctor Casino, Saturday, 24 August 2013 13:09 (nine years ago) link

I'd be interested to read it, because that song means nothing to me.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Saturday, 24 August 2013 15:09 (nine years ago) link

Consulting my newly purchased book of Billboard Top Ten charts, I note that Captain Fantastic, after debuting at #1 and staying there for six weeks and returning for a seventh about six weeks later, fell out of the top ten at the end of September 1975. In November, Rock of the Westies debuted at #1: by any standards phenomenal productivity and sales figures. No wonder he burned out a year later.

first I think it's time I kick a little verse! (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 29 August 2013 01:38 (nine years ago) link

I was going to be all "LOL u bought a book of Billboard charts?! hahah" ...and then I saw it was you. As you were. :)

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 29 August 2013 01:40 (nine years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Elton's new album The Diving Board is out today, lyrics by Bernie, production by T-Bone Burnett, stripped down rhythm section consisting of Jack Ashford of the Funk Brothers on drums and Raphael Saadiq (!) on bass. not amazing or anything but pretty enjoyable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UttbDHa1uSg

Jean-Claude Brand Ambassador (some dude), Tuesday, 24 September 2013 17:20 (nine years ago) link

Was planning on giving it a spin soon.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 24 September 2013 17:22 (nine years ago) link

Barry Walters gives EJ the icon treatment and rather well too:

http://www.emusic.com/music-news/icon/emusic-icon-elton-john/

first I think it's time I kick a little verse! (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 25 September 2013 21:12 (nine years ago) link

two weeks pass...

"Crocodile Rock"
Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, 1973

Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player was my first U.K. Number One album. It had "Daniel," which was pure pop, but there were also songs like "Elderberry Wine" and "Teacher I Need You." And of course it spawned "Crocodile Rock," which was the song that probably changed the critics' opinion of me. It was a really blatant homage to Speedy Gonzales and all the great Fifties and Sixties records that we used to love, like Danny and the Juniors' "At the Hop." My career wasn't about "Crocodile Rock" – it was just a one-off thing – but it became a huge hit record, and in the long run, it became a negative for me, because people said, "Oh, fucking 'Crocodile Rock.' " I'd never started off as a hit writer, and I didn't know what a hit was, and it's evidenced on my first four albums. Rolling Stone reviewed it and gave it two stars, and I said, "Oh, fuck off." It was a great fucking pop record. Shut the fuck up. - haha fair enough

balls, Friday, 11 October 2013 15:06 (nine years ago) link

''Speedy Gonzales''?

Doctor Casino, Friday, 11 October 2013 18:06 (nine years ago) link

http://youtu.be/O4HT51a4VHY

balls, Friday, 11 October 2013 18:10 (nine years ago) link

haha wow that is really blatant

Hip Hop Hamlet (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 11 October 2013 18:16 (nine years ago) link

That is an awful, awful song. But wow re: the Elton connection.

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 13 October 2013 00:01 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

i wish there was an audio version of this interview in which scarface recites some classic bernie taupin lyrics.

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 7 May 2015 19:57 (seven years ago) link

Oh, and Speedy Gonzales to Bruce Springsteen, also.

Mark G, Friday, 8 May 2015 13:44 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

Finally digging into Blue Moves after ages of dismissing it based on the cover art and not knowing any of the songs, figured it would just be a wash of faceless dreary ballads. But actually there's some rockin' here, and some really cool arrangements and musical surprises. It's very very well-recorded, for sure. Still getting to know it so I can't call out any specific moments, but I kinda think it's at least better than Caribou as a listening experience, even though it's nearly twice as long, largely underwritten (so many instrumentals!) and lacks that album's two big hits (both true grab-you-by-the-ears standouts). I dunno, it just seems less stupid.

If the same material had just been worked on longer, filling out the instrumentals as memorable songs in themselves, who knows what might have been? It came out one year after Rock of the Westies, also an album with some problems; if he'd been on a 1990s release schedule, the best material from those two together could have yielded a platter at least as good as Honky Chateau or Don't Shoot Me.... Just need to do something about the sleeves...

Doctor Casino, Monday, 26 September 2016 15:56 (six years ago) link

four months pass...

I never enjoyed recording studios! I loved the process of writing, but I never enjoyed the process of being in the studio. I always felt like a caged lion

--bernie taupin

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 15 February 2017 22:50 (five years ago) link

one month passes...

RFI: With search engine disabled, can't seem to find the thread the title quote is from

Got Your Money Changes Everything (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 19 March 2017 19:01 (five years ago) link

it was the elton john voting thread and it was my quote and i can't seem to find it either. but if i had a copy editor, it would've been shortened to "bernie taupin writes godawful lyrics that sound amazing coming out of elton john's mouth."

fact checking cuz, Sunday, 19 March 2017 22:07 (five years ago) link

It might be on the voting thread, but he first time you said it was about a decade ago.

Got Your Money Changes Everything (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 19 March 2017 22:14 (five years ago) link

Found it: Elton John

Got Your Money Changes Everything (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 19 March 2017 22:19 (five years ago) link

Hang the fuck on, did 'Song for Guy' not place!?

Coolio Iglesias (Turrican), Saturday, 25 March 2017 02:11 (five years ago) link

eight months pass...

The worst Elton John mega single.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 5 December 2017 03:27 (four years ago) link

nine months pass...

No room for Captain Fantastic.

The Silky Veils of Alfred (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 12 September 2018 02:49 (four years ago) link

^^^ baffling!

got the scuba tube blowin' like a snork (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 12 September 2018 04:29 (four years ago) link

(i'd put it #1, is all)

got the scuba tube blowin' like a snork (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 12 September 2018 04:30 (four years ago) link

I really like Crocodile Rock :(

My dad is a big Elton John fan and I loved that song when I was like 6. Ditto for the Lion King soundtrack songs, I grew up listening to those. I just can’t actively hate them. I don’t really listen to them anymore but I don’t think they are his worst. Candle in the Wind is really bad though, kudos on that one.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Wednesday, 12 September 2018 04:46 (four years ago) link

seven months pass...

OTM about 'Your Song', I'm seriously fucking sick of hearing it at this stage.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Monday, 22 April 2019 00:54 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

elton on bernie:

He comes from the wilds of Lincolnshire, I come from the suburbs of London. He lives in Santa Barbara and he’s literally won competitions for roping cattle. I collect antique porcelain and the only way you’d get me on the back of a horse is at gunpoint. Neither of us can write if the other is in the room. But there’s a weird bond between us that I felt the minute I opened the envelope – I could just write music to his words straight away, without even thinking about it – and it’s lasted over 50 years.

("the envelope" referring to a guy at liberty records in london randomly handing elton an envelope full of bernie lyrics in 1967.)

fact checking cuz, Tuesday, 28 May 2019 04:52 (three years ago) link

what a great piece

had no interest in seeing this but if herself is on board then I’ll give it a gander

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 28 May 2019 05:35 (three years ago) link

Taron Egerton and Alden Ehrenreich are the same guy, right?

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Tuesday, 28 May 2019 06:07 (three years ago) link

i think so yes

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 28 May 2019 13:55 (three years ago) link

ten months pass...

r.i.p. Caribou, you deserved better

feeling this post today. not mentioned anywhere in this thread: the gorgeous "pinky." such a perfectly arranged/played/recorded chorus. i want to take a bubble bath in it. the lyrics are classic bernie, the chorus consisting of four lines that defy you to guess what they have to do with each other. but the last bit of the last verse is killing me right now: "oh it's ten below zero / and we're about / to abandon / our plans for the day." i wish i voted for it.

fact checking cuz, Tuesday, 14 April 2020 00:30 (two years ago) link

I thought I did mention it?!

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 14 April 2020 01:02 (two years ago) link

hmm, maybe on the voting thread?

fact checking cuz, Tuesday, 14 April 2020 03:49 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

I thought of the Elton poll crew watching his highness shuffle around the stage tonight for the farewell

did anyone else tune in? his band is so good

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 21 November 2022 07:29 (one week ago) link


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