Often the best songs don’t make it onto an album. But luckily for John and Bernie, this one did. It’s a groovy and ambiguous opener for Tumbleweed Connection that still sounds great today. You can listen to this song for free on Mp3 Juice.
John’s soaring falsetto sounds more confident than ever before on this bluesy overture to Blue Moves.
1. “Going to Kill Myself”
The title track from the double album that ushered Sir Elton Hercules John into the upper echelons of rock superstardom. Dazzling wordplay and a melody that adds an extra layer of wistful yearning to the sadness of the lyrics make this one of the greatest Elton songs ever.
After a rocky start, this hit single proved that Elton John had a lot more to offer than crazy outfits and wheelbarrows of cocaine. It was the first of many massive hits to come, and a staple in his live sets for decades.
Elton John reaches for his poetic side in this touching ballad about the death of a beloved country singer. The track showcases his musical versatility and demonstrates the depth of emotion that the songwriting duo could achieve together.
This melancholy ballad was penned as an ode to Marilyn Monroe but was rewritten to honor Princess Diana upon her passing. It’s a classic that has been covered by artists across the decades. The song was even featured in the animated film Sing in 2016, introducing it to a new generation of fans.
3. “The Fox”
After a tumultuous ’70s and a disco album misstep, this strings-peppered ode to Philly soul (and the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team) gave John his fourth US No. 1. Rerecorded with Kiki Dee for his TV special in the early ’90s, it’s a gut punch of a ballad that proves John still had what it takes.
With the crazy outfits, barmy glasses and wheelbarrows of cocaine a thing of the past, this song finds Elton using his deeper range and older man’s gravitas to stunning effect. A timeless classic.
4. “Rocket Man”
This early hit demonstrates that John and Taupin weren’t afraid to play with their style. Despite its similarity to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (both songs shared producer Gus Dudgeon and the lyrics were inspired by Ray Bradbury stories), this is a different song altogether.
It’s the tale of an astronaut on a routine space mission who finds himself missing his wife back home. It’s also the first video by an English singer to get a big play on MTV, which helped introduce him to a younger audience.
5. “I Can See For Miles”
A soaring ballad that could have been easily overlooked on an album loaded with iconic hits, this track reveals John’s deeper voice and broader range. The piano-heavy arrangement fuses classical and rock for an orchestral feel that underlines his soaring vocal hook.
After a tumultuous ’70s and a failed experiment with disco, John and Taupin hit their stride on this classic. The song’s tune and lyrics capture a sense of rebirth and renewal. It remains a top choice for weddings and sentimental moments. It’s a timeless masterpiece.
6. “Pink Elephants”
A sweeping ballad of self-discovery, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” remains one of Elton John’s most recognizable songs. Its enduring popularity is due to its universal themes of self-reliance and personal freedom.
After a disastrous attempt at Philly soul with 1979’s Victim of Love, new songwriting partner Gary Osbourne helped Elton regain his soft rock mojo on this strings-peppered track. It became his fourth US number one. It was also a top 10 hit in Britain.
7. “Stay With Me”
Elton’s 1969 debut album didn’t make much of a dent, but on his follow-up he and Bernie Taupin hit the ground running with this wistful song about fading love. Taking cues from NYC and Ben E King’s Spanish Harlem, it’s a classic track that has been part of his live set ever since.
After a short break from his lifelong lyricist, Gary Osbourne helped Elton relocate his soft-rock mojo on this track, which became one of his biggest hits. It’s a fine example of the storytelling ability Taupin brought to so many of John’s songs.
8. “It’s a Cold Wind”
A lovely B-side from The Fox that almost made the cut as a single. This fully orchestrated etude is a gorgeous, almost melancholy love song with a key-changing bridge.
One of Bernie Taupin’s eeriest lyrics is the centerpiece of this musically complex album track. The rocker brims with confusion about a love that’s gone wrong. It’s a bit of a breakup song that ultimately led to John finding later-in-life domestic bliss. American rock had moved on from this soft, breathy big-bass vibe by the time this was released.
9. “Beautiful Stranger”
Almost a lost gem from the album that gave us “Piano Man” and the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s cult film Almost Famous. The feel-good light funk of this track was a sign that John and lyricist Bernie Taupin were more than ready to shake off their glam rock past.
The soft, breathy, big-bass vibe of this song seemed very much out of step with American rock by 1997 — but it became a classic anyway. It’s a touching story of fading love and pleading for one more chance.
10. “I’m Still Standing”
With the flamboyant stage shows and crazy outfits of the ’70s long behind him, Elton John stripped back to basics for this warm slice of ’80s mid-tempo pop. The ballad — which featured in Cameron Crowe’s love letter to the era, Almost Famous — showcases his deep range and piano skills.
Bernie Taupin’s wry lyrics paint an autobiographical picture of John finding rejection from someone he cared about. The song’s powerful message has stood the test of time. It’s a confidence-boosting jam, perfect for anyone who feels down.