Thursday, January 31, 2008

Border Song

One element which was ubiquitous in Elton's early songs, and one which practically vanished with the 1972 move to a more contemporary, electric guitar-driven sound was en masse chorus backing vocals, and this track was the first in which he (or perhaps Paul Buckmaster) used them. Subsequent tracks like "My Father's Gun" and "All the Nasties" may have employed this sound in order to perhaps duplicate the relative success of this song, which was Elton's first US hit, troubling the lower reaches of the top 100.

And the choir was appropriate, because the arrangement, which has choir, piano and strings prominent and guitar-bass-drums not so much, strives to create a gospel-music feel in service to Bernie's lyrics, which mix homesickness:

I'm going back to the border
Where my affairs, my affairs ain't abused

with the desire for racial tolerance and a plea for brotherhood:

Holy Moses let us live in peace
Let us strive to find a way to make all hatred cease
There's a man over there what's his colour I don't care
He's my brother let us live in peace

Which was becoming a common sentiment, and rightly so, in the post-1968 pop music landscape. This remains a popular track with a lot of people, and was included on his first Greatest Hits LP as well.

1 comment:

wcbm said...

It's interesting that you should choose that particular verse. It is, according to Elton, the only lyric he ever wrote. To this day he abhors it.