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|Single by Elton John|
|from the album Madman Across the Water|
|Released||7 February 1972|
|Format||Vinyl record (7")|
|Recorded||9 August 1971; Trident Studios
|Elton John singles chronology|
|Single by Ben Folds|
|from the album Ben Folds Live|
|Length||3:16 (single version)
5:23 (album version)
|Ben Folds singles chronology|
|Single by Tim McGraw|
|from the album Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors|
|Released||December 30, 2002|
|Tim McGraw singles chronology|
"Tiny Dancer" is a 1971 song by Elton John with lyrics by Bernie Taupin. It appears on John's fourth album, Madman Across the Water, and was released as a single in 1972. In the U.S. it was certified Gold on 19 May 2005, and Platinum on 19 August 2011 by the Recording Industry Association of America. In the UK, "Tiny Dancer" has been certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales of 200,000 copies, despite never being released as an official single.
Background and writing
The song's lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin to capture the spirit of California in 1970 encapsulated by the many beautiful women he met there. The song was dedicated to Maxine Feibelman, Taupin's first wife on the album Madman Across the Water.
The song features a piano-based melody during verses and an arrangement that at the start features pedal steel guitar and light percussion but, transitioning subtly halfway through one of the choruses, by the end is driven by Paul Buckmaster's dynamic strings, along with a barely heard backing choir.
Due to the song lacking a strong hook, "Tiny Dancer" was initially a non-starter as a single in the US, reaching only #41 on the U.S. pop chart, and was not even released as a single in the UK. The song fared better in Canada, where John had much of his early commercial breakthrough success, peaking at #19. It was also a hit in Australia, peaking at #13. Eventually, the song slowly became one of John's most popular songs even in the territories that initially failed to embrace it, and the full-length version is now a fixture on North American, UK and Australian adult contemporary and rock radio stations.
- Elton John: piano, vocals
- Roger Pope: drums
- David Glover: bass guitar
- Caleb Quaye: electric guitar
- BJ Cole: steel guitar
- Davey Johnstone: acoustic guitar
- Lesley Duncan, Sue & Sunny, Barry St. John, Liza Strike, Roger Cook, Tony Burrows, Terry Steele, Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson: backing vocals
- Paul Buckmaster: arrangement
|Canadian Adult Contemporary||20|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||41|
|U.S. Cash Box Top 100||29|
"Tiny Dancer" has been covered by Lani Hall in the 1970s, by the Red Hot Chili Peppers with John Frusciante on vocals since the early 1990s, by Dave Grohl on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.
In popular culture
A reference to this song was made in sitcoms Friends and Will and Grace. In both shows, the same joke was used where Phoebe Buffay in the former and Grace Adler in the latter confuses the lyrics as "Hold me close, young Tony Danza" and "Hold me closer, Tony Danza", respectively. The same mistake was committed in Drop Dead Diva.
The song was featured in 1980 in "The Americanization of Ivan" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. References to the song were made throughout the show, and was featured during the closing credits.
The cast of Almost Famous (2000) sings along to the song while riding in the tour bus. It is also featured as instrumental incidental music in a phonic reference to the character Penny Lane.
The first line of the 2000 Fuel song "Prove" mentions the lyric "Lay me down in sheets of linen".
In the season 2 episode of The Office called "The Dundies," Michael Scott sings the song but changes the words to "You have won a tiny Dundie," an office award, before bar patrons mock him, calling out "Sing it, Elton!" Later the "Tiny Dancer" chorus plays over the final scene as Jim Halpert watches Pam Beesly and Angela Martin drive away.
A brief parody version of the song was broadcast on Saturday Night Live (Season 39, Episode 17, 5 April 2014), in which Kate McKinnon appeared as Angela Merkel and sang, to the tune of "Tiny Dancer," "Hold me closer, German Chancellor"
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- on YouTube, 24 July 2012
- "Dave Grohl - Tiny Dancer", "", 24 July 2012
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- Kate McKinnon and Colin Jost (April 5, 2014). Weekend Update: Angela Merkel on being the Peace Keeper. NBC. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
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