RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #2: Your Song by Elton John.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #2: Your Song by Elton John.

Welcome to the second-last post in this series. 498 music posts are done and in the books. Thank you to everyone who has managed to follow me through this adventure so far. I have appreciated your presence more than you can imagine. Therefore, this post…..Music Post #499 is for you.

All of you.

My Facebook family and friends, my pals from the world of Twitter and, finally, those WordPress Blogging Community writers who discovered this countdown in mid-stream and who have been joining on in ever-increasing numbers as we have neared the end. All of you have contributed much to this countdown, with your opinions on the songs and artists, your concert memories, your personal connections and memories and so much more. I honestly can’t be sure that I would have had the staying power to have completed all 500 posts if I only had had myself for company. So, thanks.

Months and months ago, I made some editorial decisions regarding how I wanted to use the final slots in the Top Ten.

One of those decisions was that I wanted to involve you in this process so, as you already know, I instituted an Honourable Mention category. That suggestion originally came from my buddy, Allister Matheson. It was a suggestion that I liked right from the very first time I read it. What I liked best about it was that it brought you all into the process, too. Because of this, we have all gotten to have a sneak peek into what makes music special for you. It has been a complete honour to have been able to share your stories about the special songs in your life. Thank you for trusting me with your memories. By the way, if you want to know why I invited you to participate in the Honourable Mention category in the first place, it was because you were one of the people who participated in this countdown with me the most. You Honourable Mention folks were the Top 24 most engaged readers of my posts. Your interest in this project is humbling. I am grateful, in reply.

Secondly, a long time ago, I made the decision to cut off the Honourable Mention songs at Song #2….today’s song. I did this because I felt all along that whatever ended up in Slot #1 deserved our full attention. The spotlight will be shining in only one direction tomorrow and that will be on Song #1.

Finally, many months ago I knew I wanted to reserve a song slot for all of you, as my way of expressing my gratitude. Thus, I organized this space so that the first 498 song posts were dedicated spaces that focused directly on the music and the artists who created it. But, I always intended to reserve Song #2 for you. Because of that decision, I have known for a very long time that “Your Song” by Sir Elton John, was going to be the second last song in our countdown. Sir Elton John’s first big hit….a song about friendship and a shared love of music, seemed like the appropriate choice. It is the song I dedicate to all of you

“Your Song” came from his self-titled debut album and, along with “Take Me To The Pilot”, were the big hits from it. Like so many songs of late in our countdown, Sir Elton was not the first to record and release this song, even though it was written by Bernie Taupin and arranged by him. For awhile, Sir Elton John went on tour with the band, Three Dog Night. He was the opening act. After hearing him trot out the songs that he had at his disposal, Three Dog Night asked to record “Your Song”. Sir Elton took their interest as a compliment and allowed them to do so. But, knowing that this talented young man was about to release his first album, Three Dog Night kept their version of “Your Song” under wraps until Sir Elton was able to release it himself. Kudos to Three Dog Night for being decent fellows.

In interviews, as well as, in the movie about Sir Elton John’s life, “Rocketman”, Bernie Taupin claims to have written the lyrics to “Your Song” while visiting his friend, “Reginald Dwight” at his mother’s flat. Taupin was upstairs listening to his friend play away on the piano that stood the dining/living room of the flat. To Taupin, Reggie’s playing at the piano confirmed for him that he was a star in the making. The emotions woven into the song come across as being between two lovers but, as we know, Taupin and Sir Elton John were like brothers, not lovers so, the affection that oozes through the song is heartfelt but meant as being from one true friend to another. “Your Song” was one of the very first collaborative experiences the two had…..the first of a very great many, as it turned out. John Lennon was quoted as saying how happy he was to have heard this song on the radio because, in his mind, it was the freshest sound in the UK at the time and a worthy successor to the songs The Beatles had put out.

Is “Your Song” the second best song of all time? Probably not but, it is a great song just the same. It is a song about friendship and camaraderie. Furthermore, it is a song that captures how I feel about this journey of ours and that I got to share it all with you. Here are some stats for you:

498 Music countdown posts, along with 24 Honourable Mention posts.

Not counting my replies, you folks have made approximately 1500 comments….and, not just short, one-word comments, either. Many of you typed whole paragraphs for comments! But, even more importantly, many of you spoke from the heart. That pleased me more than anything because it indicated to me that you all felt safe and comfortable doing so. That was the social environment I was hoping to create. I am glad that you felt at home here.

Not counting my own input, there have been approximately 4500 “Likes” and “Loves” clicked on Facebook and Twitter and on WordPress. There have been several dozen “Wows”, too. Thanks for them all.

Finally, I want to go back to the very beginning….in fact, even before the beginning. This whole countdown journey started with a Facebook post that stated I was growing dull-witted living the pandemic lockdown life and that I needed to focus on something or else I was going to lose my mind. Well, as it turned out, that post (birthday posts, excepted) was the single most popular post ever during my time on Facebook, when it comes to comments. I got dozens and dozens and dozens of enthusiastic comments; all of them wishing me well, all of them voicing confidence in my ability to pull it off and, finally, many of them pledging interactive support should I actually decide to begin. Thanks for such a wonderful show of faith. It was the boost I needed to actually have the nerve to start this project. It has been the fuel that has kept me going when I was only at Song #334 or #278 and still had such a long way to go. It is what has brought me to this point in the project….with all of you by my side.

But, we don’t have a long way to go anymore, do we? Today is Post #499 and tomorrow, we arrive at our destination with the final song. Until then, please accept my thanks, one last time and have a listen to a special song that was selected for you a long time ago. Here is “Your Song” by Sir Elton John. Enjoy.

And, thank you.

This has been wonderful. ❤

The link to the video for the song, “Your Song” by Sir Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Sir Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Rolling Stone magazine, can be found here.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #375: Tiny Dancer by Sir Elton John.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #375: Tiny Dancer by Sir Elton John.

Sir Elton John was born as Reginald Dwight in 1947. As “Reggie”, he grew up listening to his parent’s records that included Elvis, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. He was always drawn to piano players but, more than that, to performers who matched their skill at playing with style and panache. Not surprisingly, his early role model was Little Richard. Reggie spent his teens playing in bands that made their own original music or else, as a backing musician to more established names such as Long John Baldry. One such backing band was named “Bluesology”. In that band were two friends named Elton Dean and lead vocalist, Baldry. It was because of these two men that Reggie Dwight created his new stage name, “Elton John”. *In fact, the later song, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”, Elton John mentions someone called “Sugar Bear”……well, Sugar Bear was based on his friend, Long John Baldry.

In any case, not long after playing in “Bluesology”, Reginald Dwight met one of the most important people he was ever to know: a writer named Bernie Taupin. Both young men had answered the same ad seeking songwriters and singers. When Reggie showed up, he was handed the lyrics to songs Taupin had penned. He created music to match the lyrics and the two men were hired as a writing team. It was the beginning of a lifelong, fruitful partnership that has ended up with the creation of some of most memorable songs of all time such as, “Daniel”, “Your Song”, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”, “Crocodile Rock”, “Bennie and the Jets” and so many more. Even though Elton John gets most of the recognition for such a stellar career, the fact is that he and Taupin have been equal partners in the very same way that McCartney and Lennon were partners and the same way that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were a team.

The song, “Tiny Dancer” came from an album called, “Madman Across the Water” and is, ostensibly, about Taupin’s wife, Maxine Feibleman who actually was “the seamstress for the band”, helping to keep Elton John’s many elaborate costumes in a good state of repair. For me, one of the things I really like about “Tiny Dancer” is that is shows how he and Taupin created moods and stories with deeper meanings. “Tiny Dancer” is six and a half minutes long. You don’t often hear songs of that length anymore. Everything today is short and often the structure is a verse or two with a chorus that repeats multiple times to fill up the space. “Tiny Dancer”, at six and a half minutes, has plenty of time to dig a little deeper and create an atmosphere that luxuriates in its storytelling narrative. It is a novel masquerading as a song.

Because of the richness of the lyrics and musical arrangement, “Tiny Dancer” was a hit when it was released. But, it received a further boost into our cultural consciousness when it was used so well in the movie, “Almost Famous” to describe what life in a rock n’ roll band on tour is really like. Furthermore, the career of Sir Elton John was the subject of a competition at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. In this contest, filmmakers were challenged to create an original, live-action short film based upon one of his hit songs. The winning entry was based upon “Tiny Dancer” and is phenomenal! I will post both, the “Almost Famous” movie scene and the Cannes Film Festival winning entry, below.

Sir Elton John has sold hundreds of millions of albums in a career that is still going on today. He has been inducted into The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame as a performer and, along with Taupin, in the Song category. He was knighted by the Queen of England for his continued contributions to English culture. He has created a musical catalogue containing some of the most-loved and influential songs of our time. We have not heard the last of him in this countdown list, either. For today, please enjoy one of my favourite Elton John songs, “Tiny Dancer”. Just a man and his piano and six and a half minutes of pure magic.

The link to the video for “Tiny Dancer”by Sir Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Sir Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the movie scene from “Almost Famous” that contains the song, Tiny Dancer”, can be found here.

The link to the award-winning, Cannes Film Festival video for “Tiny Dancer” by Sir Elton John, can be found here.

Thanks, as always, to KEXP, for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their website can be found here.