Elton John lyrics span five decades and over 250
million record sales. When one thinks of Elton John lyrics, one
naturally has to think of lyricist partner Bernie Taupin, who provided
most of the lyrics to Elton John's songs.
Though Bernie Taupin provided most of the Elton John lyrics, Sir
Elton Hercules John, did work with a few other lyricists as well.
Gary Osborne, Tom Robinson and Jude Tzuke were also lyricists that
provided the words to Elton John songs. Taupin also worked with
other musicians, writing hit songs for Jefferson Starship and Heart.
Elton John and Bernie Taupin engaged in an unconventional songwriting
dynamic whereby Taupin would write the lyrics alone and then hand
them to John, who would develop the music. The two would never be
in the same room at the same time, working on the music and lyrics
This partnership developed in 1966 when Elton John, then known
as Reginald Kenneth Dwight, would answer an advertisement in the
New Musical Express. The A&R manager for Liberty Records, Ray
Williams handed John a stack of lyrics written by Taupin and asked
him to put music to the words. Thus, the disengaged, yet engaged
writing collaboration would develop.
The imagery for the lyrics of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
come from the movie Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and friends travel
down the yellow brick road to meet to Wizard and find out that they
have inside themselves what they'd been searching for all along.
The song itself seems to be about not wanting to live the life of
a trophy wife / husband / partner and finding that the brass ring
is not in high society but rather attached to a plough on the farm.
In the song, "Someone Saved My Life Tonight", the lyrics
refer to John's and Taupin's friendship as well as the time John
almost got married to a woman. At the time of the song's release,
Taupin and a few friends had talked John out of marriage and later
John would come to terms with the fact that he was gay. The lyrics
also incorporate some anti-high society views similar to those in
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."
"Your Song" was one of the first songs Bernie Taupin
wrote for Elton John. Taupin wrote the song in 1967 when he was
just 17-years-old. John wrote the music for the song in about 20
minutes, which was common for the early days in the collaboration
between these two.