Levon (song)

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Single by Elton John
from the album Madman Across the Water
Released29 November 1971
Recorded27 February 1971; Trident Studios
(London, England)
GenreSymphonic rock
Length5:22 (album version)
LabelUni (US)
Songwriter(s)Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Producer(s)Gus Dudgeon
Elton John singles chronology
"Tiny Dancer"
Audio sample

"Levon" is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin and recorded by Elton John. He recorded it on 27 February 1971, and released it on his fourth album, Madman Across the Water.[1] Backing vocals are provided by Tony Burrows.[2] Paul Buckmaster wrote the orchestral arrangements and directed the orchestra.

The song reached number 24 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and peaked at number six on the Canadian RPM singles chart.[3]


According to Gus Dudgeon, Bernie Taupin was inspired by The Band's co-founder, drummer and singer Levon Helm to name the song after him. The Band was apparently John and Taupin's favourite group at the time. In 2013, however, Taupin said that the song is unrelated to Levon Helm.[4]

The "Alvin Tostig" mentioned in the song (Levon's father) is, according to Taupin, merely fictional.[5]

Notable covers and performances[edit]

"Levon" has been covered by several artists, including, Myles Kennedy, Jon Bon Jovi (who covered the song on the tribute album Two Rooms, and claims that "Levon" is his favorite song of all time, saying that he looks up to Elton John as his idol)[6] and Canadian rock singer-songwriter Billy Klippert. Mary McCreary recorded a version of "Levon" on her highly regarded LP "Jezebel", Shelter Records SR-2110 (1974). Phil Lesh and Friends started playing the song in April 2012, shortly after Levon Helm's death.


  1. ^ Madman liner notes
  2. ^ Tony Burrows: A Six-Time One-Hit Wonder
  3. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". www.collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 3 August 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  4. ^ Green, Andy (26 September 2013). "Bernie Taupin on Elton John's New LP: 'It's Kudos All Around'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  5. ^ "In the Elton John song 'Levon', who is Alvin Tostig?". The Straight Dope. 24 March 2000. Retrieved 17 December 2015.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Bon Jovi - official website - www.bonjovi.com". 30 June 2007. Archived from the original on 30 June 2007.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

External links[edit]