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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"

Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)

In the U.S. the B side was called Young Man's Blues. The rest of the world knew it as Screw You.

One of Elton John's biggest hits, this was the second single released off of the album of the same name. Bernie Taupin, John's lyricist for the large majority of his career wrote the words intentionally evoking the imagry of the yellow brick road from The Wizard of Oz and incorporating the theme of being tired of the bright lights of Oz/fame and ready to go back to the farm. The song is almost maudlin, the singer is telling the subject of the performance that they have hung around too long, and are leaving; that the subject is going to crash and burn and that it will probably only take a few drinks before they are back to their old ways with a replacement for the singer.

My favorite part musically is the segue into the chorus. Each time Elton John swings up into falsetto to sing the wordless ahhhs which is backed up not only by singers, but by strings. This segue is the dreamy effect that transfers us to the chorus where he sings /goodbye yellow brick road/. Therefore the musical segue is like the wipe between black and white and color in the 1939 film.

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