Ego (Elton John song)
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|Single by Elton John|
|from the album A Single Man (1998 reissue)|
|Released||21 March 1978|
|Genre||Glam rock, rock|
|Songwriter(s)||Elton John, Bernie Taupin|
|Elton John singles chronology|
It was released as a single in early 1978, and did not appear on the album released in the same year, A Single Man.
A music video was made, and was the most expensive of its kind in its day. The video featured John Emberton who played Elton John as a small boy in the video acting out a scene from Romeo & Juliet. John Emberton's sister Penny played a member of the audience. The video was shot at 24fps. Most copies of the video are taken from a PAL 25fps transfer causing the audio to pitch up and run 10 seconds shorter than the original video. The video with the correct running time was included on the first Demonstration LaserDisc produced by MCA DiscoVision in 1978.
The song starts with a rollicking piano accompanied by a train whistle, making it sound like there's a train rolling down a track. The song then goes into a steady 4/4 beat, then breaks down and goes to the chorus. Later in the song it goes in half tempo and then up again. It features synthesizers, and even carnival-esque organs, unusual for its time.
The same style of singing was also used on another Taupin-song from this time, "I Cry at Night".
It was originally written during the sessions for his 1976 album Blue Moves, but was left out. Elton said of the song by the time of its release:
"Ego was just something I had lying around, and I wanted to release it for a long time. Unfortunately, the time wasn't right. It's been disappointing. I really had hoped it would do well because I really liked it. I wrote the song jointly with Bernie Taupin, and we never thought of it as an autobiography until it came out. It's about the silliness of rock 'n' roll stars, and the video film was supposed to show just how stupid rock 'n' roll can be. It's the grotesque side of rock 'n' roll. And it's turned out to be one of the most sincere songs we've ever written."
The song is, as said, about rock stars and their fame which tend to get to their heads.
Elton played this song live from 1978 up until 1980.
- Elton John - piano, vocals, synthesizers, organ
- Tim Renwick - guitars
- Clive Franks - bass
- Steve Holley - drums
- Ray Cooper - tambourine, vibes, train whistle
- Paul Buckmaster - orchestral arrangements