Sunday, May 11, 2008

High Flying Bird

Don't Shoot Me's album-closer is a plaintive little elegy, which tells us of an apparently high-spirited young lady that meets with a bad end.

Bernie floridly describes her in the opening verses:

You wore a little cross of gold around your neck
I saw it as you flew between my reason
Like a raven in the night time when you left

Apparently the singer is trying to be a steadying or calming (or restrictive, more like) influence on her, because in the chorus he laments:

My high-flying bird has flown from out my arms
I thought myself her keeper
She thought I meant her harm

And indeed, someone seems to have meant her harm, as the second stanza informs us:

The white walls of your dressing room are stained in scarlet red
You bled upon the cold stone like a young man
In the foreign field of death

Perhaps Bernie means to imply that she's a suicide, or the singer him/herself may have done the deed, in jealous rage- or perhaps he's adopting a paternal voice, saying in so many words "I told you so". I guess it's open for interpretation. Either way, this "you should have behaved yourself and listened to me" tone is a little troubling, and unfortunately consistent with so many of Taupin's songs that dealt with women.

Elton bails this song out, though, providing the pathos with a strong, beautiful melody and once more, using those stellar Elton/Johnstone/Murray/Olsson group vocals in all the right places.

Lyrics and a sample.

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