Daniel (Elton John song)

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"Daniel (song)" redirects here. For the Bat for Lashes single, see Daniel (Bat for Lashes song).
Single by Elton John
from the album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player
B-side "Skyline Pigeon"
Released 26 March 1973 (1973-03-26)
Format Vinyl record (7")
Recorded June 1972
Genre Soft rock
Length 3:54
Label MCA (US)
Writer(s) Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Producer(s) Gus Dudgeon
Elton John singles chronology
"Crocodile Rock"
"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"

"Daniel" is a major hit song and ballad by Elton John. It appeared on the 1973 album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player. It was written by John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin. In the United States the song reached No. 2 on the pop charts and No. 1 on the adult contemporary charts[1] for two weeks in the spring of 1973. In the United States, it was certified Gold on 13 September 1995 by the RIAA. In Canada, it became his second No. 1 single, following "Crocodile Rock" earlier in the year, holding the position for two weeks in the RPM 100 national singles chart.[2] In the United Kingdom, it made the top 5.[3]

Writers John and Taupin received the 1973 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.[4]

The song[edit]

Bernie Taupin wrote "Daniel" while inspired by the events of the Vietnam War. The lyrics (including a verse in the original draft that was cut from the final version) describe a fictional veteran who was blinded as a result of the war ("your eyes have died"/"but you see more than I") and travels to Spain to escape those around him back home ("do you still feel the pain"/"of the scars that won't heal?"), including his brother, from whose point of view the story is told.[5]

"'Daniel' had been the most misinterpreted song that we'd ever written," explained Taupin, in the Two Rooms tribute project. "The story was about a guy that went back to a small town in Texas, returning from the Vietnam War. They'd lauded him when he came home and treated him like a hero. But, he just wanted to go home, go back to the farm, and try to get back to the life that he'd led before. I wanted to write something that was sympathetic to the people that came home."


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1973) Peak
Canadian RPM 100 National Top Singles Chart[2] 1
Dutch Top 40[6] 14
GfK Dutch Charts Singles Top 100[7] 15
German Singles Chart[8] 27
Irish Singles Chart[9] 4
New Zealand Singles Chart[10] 2
Norwegian Singles Chart[11] 8
South African Singles Chart[12] 6
Swiss Singles Chart[13] 5
UK Singles Chart[3] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[1] 2
US Billboard Easy Listening[1] 1
Zimbabwe Singles Chart[14] 2


"Daniel" was covered on the 1991 album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin by Wilson Phillips. It reached number seven on the US Adult Contemporary chart as an album cut.[15] "Daniel" was covered on the 2005 album The Brave and the Bold by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & Tortoise.[citation needed]

The American alternative rock band Fuel covered the song on their album Something Like Human.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "allmusic - Elton John - Billboard singles". Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Chart Stats - Elton John - Daniel". Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  4. ^ Lister, David, Pop ballads bite back in lyrical fashion, The Independent (London), 28 May 1994
  5. ^ "Elton John FAQ". Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  6. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 9, 1973". Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  7. ^ "dutchcharts.nl - Elton John - Daniel". Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  8. ^ "charts-surfer.de search results". Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  9. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  10. ^ http://www.flavourofnz.co.nz/index.php?qpageID=search%20listener&qsongid=4009#n_view_location
  11. ^ "norwegiancharts.com - Elton John - Daniel". Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  12. ^ ""Daniel" on the South African Singles Chart". Springbok Radio. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Elton John - Daniel - hitparade.ch". Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  14. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  15. ^ "allmusic - Wilson Phillips - Billboard singles". Retrieved January 28, 2009. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Little Willy" by The Sweet
Canadian RPM 100 number-one single
2 June — 9 June 1973
Succeeded by
"Frankenstein" by Edgar Winter
Preceded by
"You Are the Sunshine of My Life" by Stevie Wonder
Adult Contemporary chart number-one single
12 May — 19 May 1973
Succeeded by
"And I Love You So" by Perry Como