Come Down in Time
"Come Down in Time" is the second track on Elton John's third album, Tumbleweed Connection, released in 1970. The lyric was written by Bernie Taupin, Elton's long time writing partner. The song was originally recorded for John's second album, Elton John. The song was played alongside the Sydney Orchestra in a 1986 live performance.
The song was covered by Al Kooper on his 1971 album, New York City (You're a Woman), then later covered by Sting on the 1991 album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin. Norwegian jazz singer Radka Toneff also recorded the song for her 1982 album Fairy Tales, which features herself with Steve Dobrogosz on piano. A soulful version of the song was released as a 7" single by soul singer Eugene Pitt and his band the Jyve Fyve in 1970 on the AVCO Embassy (AVE-4568) label.
Meaning and melody
Come Down in Time is the one exception to the primarily Western (USA) musical themes of Tumbleweed Connection. The album was recorded at Trident Studio and produced by Gus Dudgeon, and released in October 1970.
Set in the keys of A minor and D major, the song starts with an evocative harp introduction augmented by natural guitar harmonics. Conductor and orchestral arranger Paul Buckmaster's use of strings, harp, oboe, and horn set a plaintive and haunting mood.
Though originally using harp as the primary instrumental accompaniment, Elton in his live sets primarily replaced it with the piano. Despite not being a hit, the song was performed live in 1970, 1971, 1989, 1995, and subsequent solo tours, the last performances of the song included Ray Cooper on percussion in 2009. It was also performed as a duet by John and Sting on the television program "An evening with Elton John".
The song maintains a steady, even tempo throughout, containing little of John's signature crescendos. The song itself outlines the conversation between a man and his lover; she urges him to come with her and he doubts whether or not her request is truly
- Elton John: composer, vocals
- Bernie Taupin: lyrics
- Skaila Kanga: harp
- Les Thatcher: acoustic guitar
- Karl Jenkins: oboe
- Herbie Flowers: bass guitar
- Barrie Morgan: drums
- Paul Buckmaster: arranger, conductor
- John, Sir Elton and Taupin, Bernie. "Come Down in Time." Tumbleweed Connection. Mercury Records; 1970.
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