Border Song

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"Border Song"
Artwork for Italian vinyl single
Single by Elton John
from the album Elton John
B-side"Bad Side of the Moon"
Released24 April 1970
FormatVinyl record (7")
RecordedJanuary 1970; Trident Studios
(London, England)
LabelCongress (US)
DJM Records (UK)
Songwriter(s)Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Producer(s)Gus Dudgeon
Elton John singles chronology
"It's Me That You Need"
"Border Song"
"Rock n' Roll Madonna"

"Border Song" is a song originally performed by British musician Elton John. Lyrics are credited to Bernie Taupin (although John himself wrote the words to the final verse). The music was composed by John.

"Border Song" initially appeared on the 1970 album Elton John, and was released in the spring of 1970 as the LP's first single. After failing to chart in the UK, it was released in North America a few months later. It met with more success there, especially in Canada, where it peaked at #34.[1] The appearance of "Border Song" on the Canadian charts was Elton John's first chart appearance in any country.

"Border Song" was also John's first song to chart in the United States, peaking at #92 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #69 in the Cash Box Top 100[2] in October 1970. A cover by soul icon Aretha Franklin (listed with "Holy Moses" following the title in parentheses, to make it more identifiable as being a repeated phrase in the song) fared better reaching #37 in the Billboard Hot 100 and #23 in the Cash Box Top 100 in December 1970.[3] It was included as the closing track of Aretha's 1972 Young, Gifted and Black album as well.

In the Netherlands it peaked at #29 in the Dutch Top 40[4] in January 1971.

Music and lyrics[edit]

The song's melody is similar to that of a spiritual. A choir sings during an instrumental break led by John's piano.

John has said that the song is about the alienation Taupin felt in and about London at the time ("Brand of people who ain't my kind"), and his desire to visit home as often as he could. John himself wrote and added the last verse, which departs from the theme of alienation and speaks against bigotry: "Holy Moses, let us live in peace/let us strive to find a way to make all hatred cease/there's a man over there. What's his colour I don't care/he's my brother let us live in peace."

Format and track list[edit]

  • 1970 US/Canadian 7" single
  1. "Border Song" 3:22
  2. "Bad Side of the Moon" 3:15


Cover versions[edit]

US vinyl release of Aretha Franklin recording

"Bad Side of the Moon"[edit]

"Border Song"'s B-side, "Bad Side of the Moon", was subsequently covered by April Wine, whose version is on their album On Record and was released as their second single from that album, and by Toe Fat, whose version appears on their self-titled debut album and was also released as a single. The song became a big hit in Canada, reaching #16 on the Canadian Hot 100. April Wine's version remains a staple of classic rock radio in North America.


  1. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 10/03/70". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 12/19/70". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  4. ^ 40, Stichting Nederlandse Top. "Elton John - Border Song". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  5. ^ ""Border Song" Aretha Franklin and Elton John duet LIVE". YouTube. 15 November 1996. Retrieved 2 October 2016.

External links[edit]