«Your Song» — Elton John: explaining the meaning behind song

«Your Song» — Elton John: explaining the meaning behind song songs

What is the meaning behind Your Song by Elton John? Most people think it’s about a guy who is in love with a girl and she doesn’t love him back. However, there is more to the story than that. John actually wrote the song about his relationship with Bernie Taupin, his longtime songwriting partner. They had just started their professional relationship and John was really in love with Taupin. Unfortunately, Taupin didn’t feel the same way about John and rejected his advances. The lyrics of the song are actually really heartbreaking when you know the full story behind them. Despite this, the song has become one of Elton John’s most popular tracks and has been covered by many different artists over the years.

«Your song» by Elton John is an amazing romantic ballad that has been a hit for decades now. This is one of the first songs that glorified the «Rocketman» Elton John. The song, that will be discussed now, really has a deep meaning and touches the hearts of millions of listeners around the world.

Meaning behind the song «Your song» by Elton John

At first glance, the song has a simple meaning, it is just a declaration of love. But it’s charm is that it speaks in simple words about the most important thing: about how important it is to dream, about the fact that it is not the color of the man’s eyes that matters, but who they belong to. In each line, tenderness and the brightest feelings for the person for whom the composition is written are felt.

The story behind «Your song» by Elton John

The history of the creation of the song began in 1967, when Elton John met Bernie Taupin, even before he took his creative pseudonym. Both young men were 17 years old, both were participants in the talent competition from Liberty Records. Neither one nor the other won, but for a long time they worked together. At first, the musicians met at Elton’s parents’ house in Northwood Hills, a suburb of London. Taupin wrote the words to the song in the morning, during breakfast, on the paper with the draft, traces of coffee were preserved. Elton was inspired by the lyrics to write the music. The most interesting thing is that he created music literally on the fly, in 20 minutes.

There is another version that the song was not invented at John’s house, but on the roof of the music publishing house Liberty Records, where John worked then (and allegedly it was from here that the phrase «I was sitting on the roof and knocking down moss» appeared). The band Three Dog Night recorded the song on their album «It Ain’t Easy» in 1970, but did not release a single, giving the young artist the opportunity to do it himself. The group’s take features a heavier bass line, a jazzy arrangement and prominent guitar parts not heard in the more familiar John recording.

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The single, just over 4 minutes long, was recorded in January 1970 at Trident Studios in London. The single «Your Song» went on sale at the end of November 1970 as part of the second studio album by singer and composer Elton John and quickly soared to the top of the charts. The song hit the Top 10 in the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Canada and the US. The track was originally on the flip side, later moved to the A side as the DJs noticed the track’s popularity with the public. The song peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and number seven on the UK Singles Chart. We can say that the track brought the first popularity to Elton John. He included it in his concerts more often than others, including the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The audience greeted it with enthusiasm.

The singer himself noted that the song only gets better every time he performs it. Colleagues in creativity also speak warmly about the composition, for example, John Lennon himself called the ballad delightful. As John Lennon said, when he first heard this song, he got great pleasure from listening. He also noted that this is the first new thing that has happened to the music industry since The Beatles.

Many pop stars have recorded covers of this song, including Rod Stewart, Ellie Goulding, Lady Gaga, Billy Paul, Harry Connick Jr, Ewan McGregor (in Moulin Rouge) and Elton John himself. To a cover of «Your Song» by Ellie Goulding, newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton danced their first dance. «Your Song» is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song has been featured in movies many times. One of the most spectacular cover versions is presented in the film «Moulin Rouge» by Baz Luhrmann. The first handwritten draft of «Your Song» with lyrics from 1970 sold at auction for $240,000.

The story of the writing of «Your song» is dedicated to the scene in the movie «Rocketman» about Elton John, when Taupin was sitting at the table of Elton’s parents and writing something. Then Taupin gives the paper to Elton and goes to shower. Elton, although he answers that tea is on paper, quickly composes a song, which then becomes a hit. Of course, the scene may have been slightly embellished and moments from the author were added, but, in general, it corresponds to reality. Who would have thought that this is how legendary songs are written — in a quarter of an hour, on a soiled piece of paper!

Meaning of еhe song «Your song» by Elton John

According to the authors, the composition is not dedicated to any particular person and simply expresses the feelings of a young man in love. It does not contain exact descriptions of facial features, appearance, the author only speaks honestly about what is in his heart at the moment. The meaning of the title is also that this song is a gift that the author gives to his beloved, gives it completely, now it belongs to him, which is emphasized by the word «your».

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Understanding the meaning behind «Your song» by Elton John

As B. Topin himself explained the meaning of the composition in Music Connection: «The text of this ballad is probably the most naive and childish in my entire repertoire. But I think it’s still holding on because it was real back then. It is not dedicated to anyone in particular. Those were the feelings I had. I was 17 years old, my view of love or experience in love was completely naive and new. Now I definitely could not write anything like that, because I already have completely different views». And this is very correct — to write only about what you feel in the moment.

Elton John himself said that, when he first picked up a piece of paper with a song, he thought that it was a very beautiful lyric and that in no case should he put off writing music for it and that he should not «fuck up». That’s why he took up the piano literally at that very moment.

Let’s look at specific lines from the song and figure out what they mean.

  • «But the sun’s been quite kind while I wrote this song» — here the author speaks of the sun as of someone animated, kind, having its own character. You can also hear in this line that the musician’s inspiration is greatly influenced by the weather and external circumstances.
  • «It’s for people like you» — this line says that the song is not only for the addressee, but also for people like him, which makes it a universal declaration of love.
  • «How wonderful life is while you’re in the world» — really beautiful line about what every person in love feels, overflowing with happiness and the feeling that life is
  • «And you can tell everybody, this is your song» — with these words, the author boldly confesses his feelings, not intending to hide them from society. He seems to be saying that it doesn’t matter to him who thinks what, only the love that he feels is important.
  • «It’s a little bit funny this feeling inside, I’m not one of those who can easily hide» — a line describing that the author cannot hide himself and his feelings and the first feeling of falling in love for him is something new, unusual, surprising, even a little funny.
  • «IfI was a sculptor, but then again no, or a man who makes potions in a travelling show, I know it’s not much but it’s the best I can do, my gift is my song and this one’s for you» — in this quatrain it is important that the author does not try to be someone else and gives his beloved everything he can, in this case, this is a song.
  • «It may be quite simple» — the author understands that there is absolutely nothing complicated or tricky in the song, but he is not afraid to be himself and talk about love in a way he feels. It doesn’t always have to be complicated.
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To understand the meaning of this song, you need to experience the feeling of sincere love at least once in your life. Probably, there are almost no people in the world who have not experienced it. And, most likely, it is in sincerity and simplicity that the whole secret of the song’s success is. It should also be noted that the song was composed by an absolutely inexperienced young man, his ideas about love are not yet overshadowed by failures, base aspirations, they are pure and virgin, he idealizes the subject of his love and the romantic relationship itself. The author of the text confesses his love for free, gives it (as well as the song), without expecting anything in return. All this makes the meaning of the song sublime and pure, it’s beautiful and rarely seen in modern music.

This song helped change the musical landscape of the early 70-s. After it came out, singer-songwriters such as James Taylor and Carol King have found great success with similar soulful songs with outstanding vocals and soft piano or guitar. We can say that there is a new trend for romantic ballads.

Interesting facts about «Your song»

  • In many ways, the success of the track in the UK charts is due to the ultimatum delivered by DJ Tony Blackburn, who promised to make the song the track of the week if it was released as a single.
  • Over the course of Elton John’s career, the song has been performed over 2,200 times.
  • It has sold over 2 million copies in the USA.
  • For the first time on television, Elton John performed this particular song on The Andy Williams Show.
  • Bernie Taupin called the song «a gem» and «a faithful dog who is always close to you».
  • The song can be heard on an episode of The Simpsons in a slightly modified version.
  • When Elton asked Barney to whom he dedicated the words, he flatly refused to confess, claiming that this song was written about any lovers in the world.
  • Billy Joel performed this song with Elton John at the 2001 «Concert For New York» to benefit victims of the World Trade Center attacks. But it was not included on the show CD.
  • This song was used in the movie Welcome Home.
  • Also song was used in a commercial for Rimmel Cosmetics.

So, «Your song» by Elton John is the perfect universal declaration of love and expression of tender feelings for a romantic person. This is a gift not only for the recipient of the song, but for all of us. Most likely, the song, which was once written by one sincere and open-hearted young man, will never become outdated.

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