Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (song)

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"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.jpg
Single by Elton John
from the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
B-side"Screw You"
Released7 September 1973 (UK), 15 October 1973 (US)
Format7- & 12-inch records
RecordedMay 1973
StudioChâteau d'Hérouville, France
Producer(s)Gus Dudgeon
Elton John singles chronology
"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
"Step into Christmas"

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" is a ballad performed by musician Elton John and the title track on his 1973 album. The song's music was composed by John, while the lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin. Its musical style and production were heavily influenced by 1970s soft rock. It has been widely praised by critics; some consider it a strong contender for John's finest song ever.[1]


The song was released in 1973 as the album's second single and entered the Top Ten in both the United Kingdom and the United States. It was one of John's biggest hits, and surpassed the previous single, "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting", in sales and popularity quickly following its release. In the US, it was certified Gold on 4 January 1974 and Platinum on 13 September 1995 and 2x Platinum on 2 March 2020 by the RIAA.[2]

Critical response[edit]

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" received generally positive response from music critics. Janis Schacht of Circus describes it as "delicate and beautiful".[3] Allmusic writes that the song is "a vocal triumph" and a "pinnacle of its style".[1] In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it No. 380 in their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[4] Billboard stated that the song's "sonic impression is still strong and haunting" and the "blending of voices with strings on the bridges is beautiful," although the lyrics are sometimes difficult to understand.[5]

Chart performance[edit]

In Canada, the single reached No. 1 on the RPM 100 national singles chart on 22 December 1973 and held the position for one week,[6] making it John's third No. 1 in the year 1973 in that country (following "Crocodile Rock" and "Daniel"). On the US Hot 100, it went to No. 2, behind both "Top of the World" by The Carpenters and "The Most Beautiful Girl" by Charlie Rich.[7] On the US Easy Listening chart, it rose to No. 7 and spent 18 weeks on the charts.[8] In Ireland, it reached No. 4; in the UK it peaked at No. 6.[9]


The song's flip side is a song called "Screw You", though the US release re-titled the song "Young Man's Blues" so as not to offend American record buyers.


John's One Night Only: The Greatest Hits Live at Madison Square Garden had this song done as a duet with Billy Joel.

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" is still regularly included in John's live performances, although he has transposed the key of the song down from F major to E-flat major since 1997, due to no longer being able to sing its high falsetto chorus.[10]

John named his farewell tour after the song, naming it Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour.[11]


Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mason, Stewart. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 June 2006.
  2. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". RIAA. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500 Songs Page 4". MetroLyrics. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard. 20 October 1973. p. 62. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart".
  8. ^ "Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  9. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 284/6. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  10. ^ "A Q&A With Elton John". Billboard. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  11. ^ "'Farewell Yellow Brick Road' tour announced - Elton John". Elton John. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  12. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 23 March 1974. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  14. ^ Steffen Hung. "Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  15. ^ " – Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  16. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  17. ^ " – Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". VG-lista.
  18. ^ ""Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" on the South African Singles Chart". Springbok Radio. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  19. ^ "Elton John: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  20. ^ "Elton John Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  21. ^ "Elton John Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  22. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". 17 July 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  23. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1980s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  24. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1974/Top 100 Songs of 1974". Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  25. ^ "British single certifications – Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 27 September 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  26. ^ "American single certifications – Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 5 March 2020. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]