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|Single by Elton John|
|from the album Madman Across the Water|
|Released||7 February 1972|
|Recorded||9 August 1971|
|Studio||Trident Studios, London|
|Elton John singles chronology|
"Tiny Dancer" is a 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, and 3x Platinum on 26 April 2018 by the Recording Industry Association of America. In the UK, "Tiny Dancer" has been certified Gold on 17 August 2018 by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales of 400,000 copies, despite never being released as an official single. Back-up vocals are provided by Tony Burrows. The song was popularized after being featured in the 2000 film Almost Famous.
Background and writing
With lyrics written by Bernie Taupin, the song was first featured as the opening track to John’s 1971 album, Madman Across the Water. The song's lyrics were inspired by Taupin’s first visit to the US in 1970, and were intended to capture the spirit of California, where he found the women he met highly contrasted with those who he had known in his home country of England. A common misconception is that the song’s lyrics were about Taupin's first wife, Maxine Feibelman. Taupin has stated that this was not true, and that the belief came about due to the song being dedicated to Feibelman on the original album.
Due to the song’s lengthy run time and lack of a 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. The song also received a boost of popularity after having been prominently featured in the 2000 film Almost Famous.
In May 2017, an official music video for "Tiny Dancer" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival as a winner of Elton John: The Cut, a competition organized in partnership with AKQA, Pulse Films, and YouTube in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of his songwriting relationship with Bernie Taupin. The competition called upon independent filmmakers to submit treatments for music videos for one of three Elton John songs from the 1970s, with each song falling within a specific concept category. "Tiny Dancer" was designated for the live-action category, with the competition won by Max Welland. The video was filmed in Los Angeles, and features scenes of various residents driving around the city.
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||19|
|Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary||20|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||41|
|U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary||35|
|U.S. Cash Box Top 100||29|
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"Tiny Dancer" has been covered by Lani Hall in 1972, for her 1st solo album "Sun Down Lady", on A&M records; by the Red Hot Chili Peppers with John Frusciante on vocals since the early 1990s, and by Dave Grohl on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.
Florence and the Machine covered the song on the 2018 tribute album Revamp: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.
In popular culture
In 1980, Season 2 Episode 17 of’’WKRP in Cincinnati’’, Russian defector Ivan Popasonaviski says to Bailey Quarters and then later to Les Nessman, “Hold me closer, tiny dancer.” At the end of the episode, the song is briefly heard.
In 1996, Season 3 Episode 1 of Friends, Phoebe refers to the song as "...the one Elton John wrote about that guy from "Who's the Boss". She then sings the words, "Hold me close, young Tony Danza..."
In 2005, Season 2 Episode 1 of The Office (The Dundies) the song is featured when Michael Scott is singing along with it until he’s interrupted and again at the end of the episode after Pam Beesly gets in Angela Martin’s car and Jim Halpert smiles as they leave.
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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