OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN 1980 HOLLYWOOD NIGHTS SPECIAL DVD WITH ELTON JOHN
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Elton John and Bernie Taupin rose out of absolute obscurity to become the most successful songwriting duo since Lennon & McCartney. The obstacles they encountered on the road to fame are recorded here: the frustration, the longing, the hope, the anger, the despair. Taken together these adventures attain the status of myth.
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"It's hard to write a song with bitter fingers, /In the late '60s John had played keyboards in a group called Bluesology, backing singers such as Lee Dorsey, Patti LaBelle and Long John Baldry. Initially, John enjoyed the gig but quit during a stint with Baldry: he didn't want to play cabarets, which -- then and now -- was considered something of a dead-end career move. Thankfully, by the time he quit Bluesology, he had already been working with Taupin for six months. (One example of John's brief career with Bluesology, "Come Back Baby", was included on the 1990 box set To Be Continued.... It exists for no other reason than to demonstrate that John would never have made it as a songwriter without Taupin.)
So much to prove so few to tell you why, /
Those old die-hards in Denmark Street start laughing, /
At the keyboard players' hollow haunted eyes. /
It seems to me a change is really needed, /
I'm sick of tra la las and la de das, /
No more long days hocking hunks of garbage, /
Bitter fingers never swung on swinging stars.
"Wise men say, /There's an almost eschatological feel to these verses, a sense of foreboding that carries with it the ominous hint of change. But the quiet track begins to evolves into something more majestic about halfway through, as the object of love comes into focus. What is the love? Is it a metaphor for the transformation of an obscure songwriter into a full-fledged pop star -- the consummation of an unorthodox lust for fame? Is it something more subtle, perhaps, an affirmation of the almost intuitive but assuredly platonic bond that holds John and Taupin even after all these years?
It looks like rain today, /
It crackled on the speakers, /
And trickled down the sleepy subway trains, /
For heavy eyes could hardly hold us, /
Aching legs that often told us, /
It's all worth it, /
We all fall in love sometimes."
"I held a dandelion, /Structurally, the lyric is one of Taupin's more ingenious inventions, a four-stanza free verse poem without chorus. The music begins at the exact point where "We All Fall in Love Sometimes" fades into something more expectant, rising and rising into an inexpressible crescendo. Like "God Only Knows", the song instills an almost numinous sense of awe in the presence of what could only be described as divine harmony.
That said the time had come, /
To leave upon the wind, /
Not to return, /
When summer burned the earth again."