Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Friends

Again, I haven't seen the film, of which this is the title cut, so I don't know how it fits in- according to the liner notes of Rare Masters, Bernie didn't really read the script, skimming instead and consulting with the director's son who was coordinating the film's music, and it was he who told him what it was about. So if this seems a bit lyrically generic, it can be understood- it's still a nicely warmhearted statement of the desire of (one assumes) the film's young lovers (and anybody else who chooses to identify, I suppose) to join together in friendship, both as a couple and also with the world, as summed up by the chorus:

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then everything's all right


Arrangement-wise, this is pretty much Paul Buckmaster's show, and he brings the usual array of echoey strings and piping oboes, in tandem with Elton on piano. Sounds a lot like it could have fit on Elton John or Tumbleweed Connection, but the melody (and I'm not sure whether it's Elton's or Buckmaster's) is not a particularly memorable one, although the sentiment it evokes is effective and genuine.

This was the follow-up single to the smash "Your Song", but it didn't duplicate its predecessor's success- it didn't chart at all in the UK, although it did make it into the top 40 in the US Billboard Hot 100, and #17 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

2 comments:

Dennis said...

Songs, films, books, and television with a friends theme have always been popular. I especially remember the early 70’s songs “Friends,” written by Klingman and Linhart popularized by Bette Milder, and Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” sung by James Taylor. (Buzzy Linhart’s live version of “Friends” was a much better energetic rockin’ rendition than the Divine Miss M’s pop hit.)

But the John/Taupin “Friends” of the same era is my favorite. It is especially touching since it involves both friends and romantic love. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve always been an EJ fan. I became a fan with Empty Sky and some relatively rare early 70’s TV performances.

I had just begun dating my future wife when “Your Song” was released. I convinced her that it should be our song. Then, we saw the movie, Friends, at the theater and immediately purchased the soundtrack LP. The film was basically a chick-flick/teen romance, but with a unique somewhat magical charm. The soundtrack played a huge role in creating the appeal for us. We also identified ourselves very much as young lovers and friends.

The song, “Friends,” certainly conveyed the essence of the film’s plot. It’s amazing that Taupin wrote the lyrics without having read the screenplay. John’s melody set the perfect tone as well.

After all these years, the movie is rather forgettable, but the song is timeless. We still play our vinyl soundtrack.

Johnny B said...

Very nice, Dennis! Thanks for commenting.