|Single by Elton John|
|from the album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player|
|Released|| UK 27 October 1972
US 20 November 1972
Trident Studios, London
|Genre||Rock and roll, glam rock, hard rock|
|Writer(s)||Elton John, Bernie Taupin|
|Elton John singles chronology|
"Crocodile Rock" is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and recorded in January 1972 at Trident Studios, London. It was released on 27 October 1972 in the UK and 20 November 1972 in the U.S., as a pre-release single from his forthcoming 1973 album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, and became his first U.S. number-one single, reaching the top spot on 3 February 1973, and stayed there for three weeks. In the U.S., it was certified Gold on 5 February 1973 and Platinum on 13 September 1995 by the RIAA.
In Canada, it topped the chart as well, remaining at No.1 on the RPM 100 national singles chart for four weeks from 17 February – 10 March. It was the first song released as a single on the MCA label (catalogue #40000) after MCA dissolved its Uni, Decca, Kapp and Coral labels. (John had previously been with the Uni label.) "Crocodile Rock" is dominated by a Farfisa organ, played by John, with a carnival-like sound and honky-tonk rhythm. The lyrics take a nostalgic look at early rock 'n' roll, and dating and youthful independence in that era. Regular Elton John band members, such as Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson, are among the song's performers.
Like "Tennessee Waltz", "Crocodile Rock" is a self-referential song, i.e. a song about the song itself, although Ken Mackintosh had a popular song in 1955 called the "Crocodile Crawl", following up his successful song "The Creep" from 1954, so it may also be paying homage to Britain's skiffle and postwar jazz era of music.
The song was inspired by John's discovery of leading Australian band Daddy Cool and their hit single, with 1,000,000 sold. "Eagle Rock", which was the most successful Australian single of the early 1970s, remaining at No.1 for a record of 10 weeks. John heard the song and the group on his 1972 Australian tour and was greatly impressed by it. The cover of John's 1973 album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (the album on which "Crocodile Rock" is included) features a photo of John's lyricist Bernie Taupin wearing a "Daddy Who?" promotional badge. The song also appears to have been strongly influenced by songs from the late 50s-early 60s ("when Rock was young"), including Del Shannon's 1962 "Cry Myself to Sleep" and "Little Darlin'", most famously recorded in 1957 by The Diamonds (originally recorded by The Gladiolas.) The chorus resembles "Speedy Gonzales" by Pat Boone. While there was no actual "Crocodile Rock", there was a dance called The Alligator.
Bernie Taupin also stated in an interview with a magazine that Crocodile Rock was a funny song in that he didn't mind creating it but it wouldn't be something he'd listen to, but it was something fun at the time.
Covers and tributes 
In 1971, Hong Kong singer Teddy Robin (泰迪羅賓) covered the song on his LP album Melody Chain with Fontana Records.
Between 1972 and 1974, this song was covered by Singapore-based female singer Ervinna, backing music by The Stylers, on her LP album Top Hits with the local White Cloud Record.
On the tribute album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin recorded in 1991 by a symposium of eminent performers as the soundtrack of the documentary film Two Rooms, the song is covered by The Beach Boys. Their interpretation emphasises the vocal reminiscence of the rock and roll era and tones down the honky tonk and cha-cha-cha ambiance of the original.
The song was featured in the 1994, critically acclaimed and box office hit Four Weddings and a Funeral where Elton John also provided the soundtrack.
The song was prominently featured in The Vicar of Dibley episode "Community Spirit".
The cast of VeggieTales performed this song in the album "Bob and Larry Sing the 70's."
The song was featured in "Bob the Builder: The Album".
"Crocodile Rock" is featured as one of the songs in the video game Lego Rock Band.
Nelly Furtado and John himself covered the song in 2010 redoing a few of the lyrics, i.e., "I remember when rock was young, Gnomeo and Juliet had so much fun.", instead of "Me and Susie had so much fun". It was recorded for the soundtrack of the 2011 film Gnomeo & Juliet.
See also 
- Dean, Maury (2003). Rock N' Roll Gold Rush. Algora. p. 46. ISBN 0-87586-207-1.
- "List of RPM number-one singles of 1973 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
- "Crocodile Rock". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
- Creswell, Toby; Samantha Trenoweth (2006). "Ross Wilson". 1001 Australians You Should Know. North Melbourne, Victoria: Pluto Press. pp. 242–243. ISBN 978-1-86403-361-8.
- "No. 1 Hits 1971". The Menzies Era. Retrieved 22 February 2009.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1970 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988.
"Superstition" by Stevie Wonder
|US Billboard Hot 100 number one single (Elton John version)
3 February 1973 (three weeks)
"Killing Me Softly with His Song" by Roberta Flack
"Last Song" by Edward Bear
|Canadian RPM 100 number-one single (Elton John version)
17 February 1973 (four weeks)
"Danny's Song" by Anne Murray
"Pazza idea" by Patty Pravo
|Italian Singles Chart number-one single (Elton John version)
10 February 1973 (five weeks)
"Il mio canto libero" by Lucio Battisti
"Ich fange nie mehr was an einem Sonntag an" by Monica Morell
|Swiss Music Charts number-one single (Elton John version)
27 February 1973 (three weeks)
"Mama Loo" by Les Humphries Singers