Your Song

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This article is about the Elton John song. For other uses, see Your Song (disambiguation).
"Your Song"
Elton john your song (2).jpg
Single by Elton John
from the album Elton John
B-side
  • "Take Me to the Pilot"
  • "Into the Old Man's Shoes"
Released 26 October 1970 (1970-10-26)
Format
Recorded January 1970; Trident Studios
(London, England)
Genre Pop[1]
Length 4:03
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Gus Dudgeon
Elton John singles chronology
"Take Me to the Pilot"
(1970)
"Your Song"
(1970)
"Friends"
(1971)

"Your Song" is a ballad composed and performed by English musician Elton John with lyrics by his longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin. It originally appeared on John's self-titled second album (1970).

The song was released in the United States in October 1970 as the B-side to "Take Me to the Pilot". Both received airplay, but "Your Song" was preferred by disc jockeys and replaced "Take Me to the Pilot" as the A-side, eventually making the top ten in several countries.

In 1998, "Your Song" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[2] In 2003 the song was placed at number 468 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".

A demo version was included on John's 1990 box set album To Be Continued.[3] The song has been covered by a number of artists, including Ellie Goulding, whose version reached number two on the UK Singles Chart in late 2010.

Composition and inspiration[edit]

Taupin wrote the song's lyrics after breakfast one morning on the roof of 20 Denmark Street, London, where John worked for a music publishing firm as an office boy, hence the line "I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss".

The instrumental focus is on John's Leon Russell-influenced piano work, along with acoustic guitar, Paul Buckmaster's string accompaniment, and a shuffling rhythm section.

The lyrics express the romantic thoughts of an innocent. Taupin offers a straightforward love-song lyric at the beginning: "It's a little bit funny this feeling inside / I'm not one of those who can easily hide / I don't have much money but boy if I did / I'd buy a big house where we both could live." At times the self-deprecating narrator stumbles to get out his feelings, which despite being a melodramatic device, AllMusic calls "effective and sweet":[4]

"Your Song" was itself the inspiration for the song "We All Fall in Love Sometimes" on John's 1975 album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.[5]

Reception[edit]

"Your Song" was praised by critics upon its release and in subsequent years. Bill Janovitz from AllMusic described it as a "near-perfect song".[4] In a 1975 interview with Rolling Stone, John Lennon recalled, "I remember hearing Elton John's 'Your Song,' heard it in America—it was one of Elton's first big hits—and remember thinking, 'Great, that's the first new thing that's happened since we (The Beatles) happened.' It was a step forward. There was something about his vocal that was an improvement on all of the English vocals until then. I was pleased with it." John Mendelsohn from Rolling Stone called the song a "pretty McCartney-esque ballad".[6]

Commercial performance and impact[edit]

The song was John's first pop hit. It rose to number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart. In 2002, John re-recorded the song as a duet with opera singer Alessandro Safina for the first Sport Relief charity telethon, and it reached number four in the UK. In the US, it was certified Gold and Platinum on December 13, 2012 by the RIAA on digital downloads.

Track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Elton John.[7]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[32]
Version with Alessandro Safina
Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[33] Platinum 1,000,000^

Performances and renditions[edit]

John performed "Your Song" live with Ronan Keating at Madison Square Garden, New York, in 2000, the recording of which can be found on Keating's 2010 album Duet. On 20 October 2001, John performed the song with Billy Joel at The Concert for New York City, a tribute show to the September 11 attacks. In 2004, Daniel Bedingfield performed a cover of the song to Elton John at An Ivor Novello Tribute: Elton John. John performed a version of 'Candle in the wind' named 'Goodbye England's Rose' at the Concert for Diana on 1 July 2007. John and Lady Gaga performed a medley of "Your Song" with Gaga's song "Speechless" at the 2010 Grammy Awards on 31 January.[34] At the 2013 Grammy Awards, Colombian singer Juanes performed a bilingual rendition of "Your Song".[35]

Other artists who have notably covered the song include The Beach Boys, Billy Paul,[36] Cissy Houston, Rod Stewart and Ellie Goulding, as well as actor Ewan McGregor, who performed it in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!.[37]

Rod Stewart version[edit]

"Your Song"
Rod Stewart - Your Song.png
Single by Rod Stewart
from the album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin
B-side "Broken Arrow"
Released 17 April 1992 (1992-04-17)
Format
Recorded 1991
Genre Rock
Length 4:49
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Trevor Horn
Rod Stewart singles chronology
"People Get Ready"
(1992)
"Your Song"
(1992)
"Broken Arrow"
(1992)

English singer and songwriter Rod Stewart covered "Your Song" for the tribute album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin (1991). His version was released in 1992 as a double A-side single with "Broken Arrow".

Track listings[edit]

  • European CD maxi single and UK 12" single
  1. "Your Song" – 4:47
  2. "Broken Arrow" – 4:11
  3. "Mandolin Wind" – 5:27
  4. "The First Cut Is the Deepest" – 3:52
  • UK and French 7" single
A. "Your Song" – 4:47
AA. "Broken Arrow" – 4:11

Charts[edit]

Chart (1992) Peak
position
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[10] 25
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[11] 23
France (SNEP)[38] 38
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[39] 60
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[40] 41
US Billboard Hot 100[41] 48

Ellie Goulding version[edit]

"Your Song"
Ellie Goulding - Your Song.png
Single by Ellie Goulding
from the album Bright Lights
Released 12 November 2010 (2010-11-12)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2010; The Pool, The Square
(London, England)
Genre
Length 3:10
Label Polydor
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Ben Lovett
Ellie Goulding singles chronology
"The Writer"
(2010)
"Your Song"
(2010)
"Wonderman"
(2011)

English singer and songwriter Ellie Goulding covered "Your Song" for inclusion on the re-release of her debut album, titled Bright Lights. Produced by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, it was released digitally on 12 November 2010 as the re-release's lead single.[42] The song was featured in the Christmas 2010 television advert for department store chain John Lewis.[43]

Goulding performed "Your Song" at the reception party of Prince William and Catherine Middleton's wedding at Buckingham Palace on 29 April 2011, to which the newly married Royal Couple shared their first dance.[44] She also performed the song on Saturday Night Live on 7 May 2011.[45] Goulding's version was featured at the end of the 29 July 2011 episode of the Syfy supernatural drama series Haven, titled "Love Machine".[46]

Critical reception[edit]

Nick Levine of Digital Spy gave the song four out of five stars, commenting that producer Lovett "shrouds her beautifully fluttery vocals in little but piano and strings, just adding a few harmonies towards the finish, allowing her to draw out the tenderness in Bernie Taupin's lyrics and the utter loveliness of one of Elton John's very best melodies. The result is a quiet, modest triumph, but a triumph nonetheless."[47] Caryn Ganz of Spin magazine opined that her cover is "everything Gaga's Grammy version wasn't—a tender, vulnerable gift".[48] Jon O'Brien critic AllMusic, in his review for Bright Lights, called it "unimaginative" and felt that it "sounds out of place alongside the rest of her rather more adventurous material."[49]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Your Song" debuted at number 39 on the UK Singles Chart for the week of 14 November 2010. The single jumped to number three the following week, selling 84,896 copies.[50] In its third week, it climbed to its peak position of number two (behind The X Factor Finalists 2010's cover of David Bowie's "Heroes") on sales of 72,292 copies,[51] becoming Goulding's highest-peaking single after the 2013 chart-topper "Burn".[52] It maintained its position the following week, selling 63,753 units.[53] The song also topped the UK Singles Downloads Chart for the week ending 11 December 2010.[54]

The single was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 22 July 2013,[55] and had sold 755,326 copies in the UK by August 2013.[56] Elsewhere, "Your Song" reached number four in Austria,[57] number five in Ireland,[58] number 22 in Denmark,[59] number 25 in Sweden[60] and number 56 in Switzerland.[61]

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by Ben Coughlan and Max Knight,[62] premiered on YouTube on 14 November 2010. Shot in a home video look, it depicts Goulding's life on the road with friends. Areas from Goulding's hometown of Hereford can be seen throughout the video, including Hereford railway station.[63]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital single[42]
  1. "Your Song" – 3:10

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Bright Lights.[64]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Norway (IFPI Norway)[72] Platinum 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[55] Platinum 775,000[73]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ a b Janovitz, Bill. "Your Song". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 16 July 2006. 
  5. ^ We All Fall In Love Sometimes, Iconic Songs with Glenn A. Baker, Afternoons with Tim Webster, Radio 2UE, 20 November 2008
  6. ^ Mendelsohn, John. "Elton John". Rolling Stone. Super Seventies RockSite!. Retrieved 16 July 2006. 
  7. ^ Elton John (LP liner notes). Elton John. Polydor Records. 1970. DJLPS 406. 
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External links[edit]