Monday, June 9, 2008


"Goodbye" closes out Madman Across the Water in similar fashion to the way that Shakespeare has his Puck close out A Midsummer Night's Dream, beginning with

And now that it's all over
The birds can nest again
I'll only snow when the sun comes out
I'll shine only when it starts to rain

Pointing out his, and his mouthpiece's often contradictory nature.

He then works in some self-effacing, and just a bit smirky, pseudo-religious imagery:

And if you want a drink
Just squeeze my hand
And wine will flow into the land
And feed my lambs

And references, in self-deprecating fashion, the Tin Pan Alley-esque nature of his profession:

For I am a mirror
I can reflect the moon
I will write songs for you
I'll be your silver spoon

But then closes with more mock humility, again with a smirk:

I'm sorry I took your time
I am the poem that doesn't rhyme
Just turn back a page
I'll waste away, I'll waste away
I'll waste away, I'll waste away
I'll waste away, I'll waste away

(lyrics © 1971 Dick James Music Limited)

And thusly delivers a kind of calling card as well as a mission statement, ostensibly to close out the record but also serving notice that the John/Taupin team have arrived as songwriters, far advanced from their early efforts. And although their greatest successes were still ahead, this was very true.

This message is delivered by Elton on piano, with a measured, calm-after-the-storm feel and with the full Buckmaster Philharmonic Orchestra accompanying him; appropriate since Elton would never again make use of Buckmaster's talents as extensively as he did on this album. Desiring to streamline and simplify, he cut out the ponderous strings on his next album, Honky Chateau.

Here's the song on YouTube:

And with this, the Solar Prestige a Gammon blog is concluded. I've pretty much made it through every Elton song that I consider of consequence in the 1969-1977 period; I have omitted some non-cover live tracks and a couple of Rare Masters demos that EJ recorded that were released by other people but not by Elton himself. I've had a small but steady readership, and a lot of great feedback and comments, and for that I'm thankful. It's been fun revisiting most of these songs (most of which I'd probably listen to fairly often anyway!) but listening harder, trying to glean some insight into them. It's a testament to the stylistic and lyric diversity of the John/Taupin team's body of work that it could provide enough grist for me to be able to write somewhat intelligently about it.

Anyway, thanks again to everyone who's been reading, even those who keep clicking on the link to the John Brown painting in the "Burn Down the Mission" entry, thus driving up my visitor stats. I don't know if I'll do any more dedicated music blogs, but you never know. Until then, don't forget the Johnny Bacardi Show and the Johnny Bacardi LiveJournal Show, still my primary outlets, and by all means if you so desire, continue to leave comments; I'll be notified and will respond when necessary.

From all of me to all of you, goodbye.


Andrew said...

I am sad to see this wonderful come to an end. I have been reading every few days for the past 4 or 5 months and it has reminded me how big a part of my life this music has been. Each of the songs takes me back to when I first caught the Elton John bug. Your analysis and background of the songs has brought out the unique flavor of each and deepened my appreciation for this musical genius (and taupin as well). You may not have known who was reading the posts but I, for one, am deeply greatful. I will miss this blog. thank you

brendan said...

All good things must pass I guess... but I have a feeling I'll be coming back to Solar Prestige again in the future, whenever a particular John/Taupin tune comes into my head. Thanks and kudos for what's been a very worthy effort.

Matt said...

not sure how I missed the finale...but congrats senor bacardi and onward to the next artiste! great job.

little d said...

In Otto's famous line ... dis-a-POINTED!! I only *just* discovered this blog. I'm a HUGE Elton fan, esp. between 69 and 77. The upside is, I guess, that i have time to read your posts; but I echo the other comments -- you will be missed.

old76&suezq said...

I have just discovered this blog, after searching for something on Danny Bailey. From what I see here, I think I will, from time to time, visit here and read about these great songs! You might be interested in looking at a blog related to EJ that is new, and has links to some incredible artwork that is EJ related.
from suezq

tim said...

i just stumbled on this blog. i'm not even sure how long it's been since it ended. but PLEASE continue the blog. I love the era you reference thru 77 but you could continue it into the more recent songs. it would be interesting. that said, you did a brilliant job looking at the songs i love the best! thank you!
PS--i found this blog while listening to Ballad of Danny Bailey and stopped to google if there was a Danny B.

Johnny B said...

Thanks, guys, but from the beginning this blog was designed just to cover the "Classic Years". While there have been a few Elton efforts that I've liked since (I'm especially fond of 1984's Breaking Hearts, and a lot of Songs from the West Coast), his career since 1977 just hasn't interested me enough to try to write about it. Honestly, at least to me, most of the material has been mere relationship songs and has lacked the scope of the work he did in the 70's.

I've had a lot of hits for people looking for Danny Bailey over the years; it speaks to how magnetic that song is that people want to know. I'm glad that people are still stopping by and stumbling on this blog!