Thursday, October 25, 2007

Love Song

Here's another rarity in the Elton catalogue: a cover.

"Love Song" is unusual in that it wasn't written by Bernie and Elton, but by session vocalist (and original cast member of Jesus Christ Superstar) Lesley Duncan, who managed to parlay the favor into a record deal. She went on to record a handful of albums on Columbia, and later MCA, none of which were huge successes but are well regarded in many circles.

"Love Song" is pretty much as advertised lyrically; as so many songwriters would have us believe, from Paul McCartney (who is fixated on this very subject) on, "love" is the answer to all life's problems and to give love is an ultimate goal. A little idealistic and naive, but hey, it was just four years after the Summer of Love and she was far from the only one pushing this hippie philosophy.

Accompaniment is serene and austere, just acoustic guitar faded in from the beginning and faded out on the outro with Elton singing the lead and Lesley providing outstanding harmony on the second and fourth verses. It's a beguiling melody, but perhaps because of its plainness doesn't really stand out when placed with the other songs on that side of Tumbleweed.

Elton continued to work with Duncan throughout the 70's, even as late as 1976.

Unless I've overlooked something, always a possibility, this was the only non-Taupin song that Elton released on one of his "classic" albums until his infamous 1979 disco-fever cover of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode". Of course, there was his 1975 Beatle cover "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and John Lennon's "One Day (at a Time)", but neither were released on an album proper, although "Lucy" was included on the second Greatest Hits LP.


jabartlett said...

There's a version of "Love Song" on the live "Here and There" album on which Davey Johnstone adds a spooky guitar line in the distance. It makes it a much better version than the original, IMHO.

I just found your blog today, and speaking as an Elton fan, I am diggin' it. I'll be back.

The Hits Just Keep on Comin'

Johnny B said...

Thanks, glad to hear it!

When I was reading up on this one, I did notice where it appeared on that album, with Duncan. I didn't really give it much thought because I'm just concentrating on studio albums.

I've never heard Here and There, or if I have, it's been years and years ago so I was unfamiliar with this version. You've made me want to hear it, though!

Richard Marcej said...

I saw Elton in concert a lot in the 1980's while I was living in the NewEngland area and on one of the shows (don't remember which) after finishing a number Elton walked away from his piano out into center stage.

He looked odd there, standing as if he were waiting for smoeone or something when a stage hand came out with an acoustic guitar.

The stage hand placed it on Elton (it looked like when a mother is dressing a little child, how he didn't know what to do with his arms).

He than began playing and singing "Love Song".

It was definately the only time I saw him play something else other than a piano. It was pretty cool and if I remember correctly, a nice rendition of the song.