Saturday, July 21, 2007

(I'm Gonna Be a) Teenage Idol

In 1972, when this track was written and recorded, Britain was in the throes of "T.Rexstasy"- as Marc Bolan and company ruled the charts and sent teenagers into a screaming frenzy unseen since the heyday of the Fab Four from Liverpool. Of course, this was not lost on lyricist Bernie Taupin and Elton, who had already struck up a friendship with Bolan, to the point of appearing with him on TV and in Bolan's Ringo Starr-directed vanity film Born to Boogie. Inspired by him, this account of the fantasies of a wannabe rockstar had a definite air of verisimilitude, even more so because Elton's star was still on the ascent and by 1973 Bolan's was on the wane.

Musically, it's a bluesy shuffle, punctuated by staccato horns and a lockstep drumbeat, which almost gives it a New Orleans-style vibe. The chorus is sung over swaying 50's-style oohs and aahs, which recede before the horns blare back in. Elton, for his part, slurs and shouts his vocals, making the humble everyman dreamer of the narrative sound a little arrogant and haughty. Against all odds, it works- and that's one of John's gifts.

It would only be a matter of months before the title prediction would come true in spades.

1 comment:

Vinyl said...

One of Elton's hidden gems. Most casual fans do not even know about the existence of this song... a shame.