50 years after the breakthrough success of 1970's "Your Song," neither Elton John nor co-writer Bernie Taupin have tired of the classic tune. Elton and Bernie's early days are one of the main draws for the new Jewel Box, which includes a whopping 148 songs spanning Elton's entire career — with three discs dedicated to rarities from 1965 to 1971.
"Your Song," which was released on April 10th, 1970 on Elton's second album, Elton John, became an instant standard, peaking at Number Four in the U.S. Elton admitted to USA Today, "It's a song I've never stopped singing and I've never stopped enjoying singing it. The thing with Bernie's lyrics is, as I've gotten older and I've sung them so many times, I see more meaning in them now. For me, it's always been quite incredible how he wrote 'Your Song' when he was 18. They're such beautiful lyrics, and so moving and adult. And he was a kid! I don't know how he did it."
Elton went on to say, "It's one of those things where the first song that cemented you in the public eye is a song that stayed in the public eye forever, and you think, 'God, how are we going to repeat that?' But I never set out to write singles, so it was easy to repeat. I had a great lyric writer who followed it up hundreds and hundreds of times over."
Bernie Taupin went on to say that he always knew "Your Song" was unique: "I never had any doubts about it. It's one of those songs you write and go, 'Yeah, this could stay around for a while.' It's just got something about it. It has a timeless quality and it's an innocent song. It was written in a very innocent time, and luckily it's retained its innocence. And I think that's the beauty of it and that's what people relate to. And it has a killer melody. I think everybody thought it was a special song from Day One. When John Lennon said, 'This is the best thing since us,' that's high praise indeed."
The new Jewel Box collection is the first to dive full-throttle into Elton and Bernie's earliest music — most of which had never been heard until now: "I was a bit reticent to listen to these old things because I haven't heard them for years and years and years. Then when I got to listen to them, I was quite pleasantly surprised that they weren't as awful as I thought they might be because they were made at a time when we were just starting out. I was touched by the sweetness and naiveté, and it brought back so many memories. It surprised me that I actually like them so much. I was dreading it."
Elton John recalled the pre-fame hopelessness he and Bernie Taupin felt as budding songwriters when no one wanted to cover their material: ["We'd would come back on the train to Northwood Hills to my parents' flat, and we'd sit down with my mum and say, 'Oh, no one's covered our songs. I think we'll chuck it in.' And she said, 'Well, you're getting paid every week — go work at the green grocer's.' It's like — what would you rather do?"] SOUNDCUE (:12 OC; . . . you rather do)
In 2013 Elton and Taupin were presented with the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards in Manhattan. Elton recalled how the pair — who have often been called the "Lennon & McCartney of the '70s" — first teamed up: ["I went into Liberty Records in London when I was in a band called Bluesology, and I was getting fed up with playing cabaret, and I thought what can I do — maybe I can write songs. So I went to Liberty Records, saw a guy called Ray Williams, I said, listen, 'I can't write lyrics, but I'm sure I can write melody.' And he said, 'I've got a pile of lyrics on the desk from a guy from Lancashire called Bernie Taupin, take those away.' You can't get more ridiculous than that. And I took them away and I started writing to them. And I've always. . . really, it's always been the lyrics first."] SOUNDCUE (:26 OC: . . . the lyrics first)
Elton John On First Teaming Up With Bernie Taupin :
Elton John On Dealing With Rejection :