Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pinky

A heartfelt love song which benefits from a gorgeous melody and solid arrangement, with able assistance from Elton's ace-in-the-hole for a good part of his career, Davey Johnstone. Even though the mood, on the surface, is blissful in the middle bridge there's an undercurrent of uncertainty bubbling underneath, as if Bernie (or the "singer") isn't sure whether he should believe his good fortune, which is the only way I think this couplet can be interpreted:

The trial and the error of my master plan
Now she rolls like the dice in a poor gambler's hands


But by the last stanza, all is well for now:

For there's toast and honey
And there's breakfast in bed on a tray
Oh it's ten below zero
And we're about to abandon our plans for the day


Even though I'm a little unsure of what exactly is meant by describing Pinky as "quilted and timeless" (comfortable as an old quilt, perhaps?), he's in fine form lyrically on this song.

Musically, it's a midtempo pop ballad (as all good ballads seem to be) with touches of what sounds like flamenco guitar accompanying the vocals and piano/acoustic guitar predominant. The chorus subtly shifts into Beach Boys territory with Johnstone's electric guitar doubling the immaculately harmonized backing vocals. Again, it helps that John's melody is a strong one.

"Pinky" has always been one my favorite Elton songs, and I think it has to be on the short list of the best love ballads of his career. However, I seem to be in the minority as this one is rarely mentioned in discussions of his music- it wasn't a single and I'm not sure if it was ever played in concert either.

For my part, though, few other songs in the EJ catalogue evoke that feeling of discovering John's music as a teenager in the '70s more than this one, so I'm less than objective, I suppose you could say.

5 comments:

thom de plume said...

One of EJ's more obscure, yet strangely compelling ballads.

Did anyone ever cover this tune?
They should have...

Johnny B said...

I'm not aware of it if anyone has. I don't know who could improve on it, but for some odd reason I think I'd like to hear someone like Corinne Bailey Rae sing it...

Rob S. said...

Oh, that'd be sweet.

I've always loved the lines

Oh when Pinky's dreaming, she owes the world nothing
And her silence keeps us guessing


It always really spoke to me that no matter where you are, you can always find a place in your head have some solitude.

Petal Patch said...

For some strange reason, it's the name- 'Pinky', that drops this in the 'Forgotten' file for me…

Rick Aiello said...

I absolutely love this song, and agree with you 100% that it's one of Elton's most overlooked songs. Pinky should be up there with "Your Song" and "Tiny Dancer," and some non-charting songs like "Mona Lisas" and "Come Down In Time," but for some reason it's always been forgotten.