Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me

Well, I'm sure you're all familiar with this one- it's one of Elton's biggest hits, was fricking all over the radio in not one, but two, decades via the remake duet with George Michael, who is at his most obsequious, seemingly in rapture at being in the presence of his idol. I don't know if there's much I can tell you about it that you don't already know, but I haven't let that stop me yet so here goes...

It's difficult to guess exactly what inspired Bernie to write this- the singer seems to be simultaneously coming on to and apologizing to the subject. Apparently there has been some sort of misunderstanding between the interested parties, and the singer fears being shut out and cut off from any further affection. Maybe it's directed at Maxine, maybe even at Elton. Hard to say, and I've been unable to turn up any anecdotal evidence with my meager resources.

The song's strong points are the lovely backing vocals, featuring Beach Boy Carl Wilson and arranged by another sometimes Boy, Bruce Johnston, as well as its stately and strong melody; it sounds a lot like a processional, especially during the chorus. The recording of most of Caribou sounds like it was a rushed affair between mammoth tours, but this one sounds like a bit more time and care was spent on polishing it up- I'm sure all concerned had this earmarked as the lead single from day one, which it was, coming out a month before the album's June release.

In its initial release, it hit #2 in the States but could not dislodge John Denver's "Annie's Song" at the top of the charts. The UK showing was less impressive, only achieving #16 over there. The aforementioned 1991 duet remake, however, capitalized on Michael's additional star power and went straight to #1 in both countries.


TexasBrian said...

If YOU got to sing with Elton, wouldn't you fawn as well?

Johnny B said...

Ha! Not like that, hopefully!