22 October 2010

Rock Oldies FREEDOM EDITION: Elton John

Sir Elton John is a bright, talented, and strange man who often says the oddest things... but who most consider an all-time great, obviously.  And if Elton John is still good enough for Rush... cool with me, I'll forgive him for what he said about Jesus, he's obviously a little confused- lol.  Elton earned a few + points for standing up for Arizona, anyway... 

And while the 80s' Candle in the Wind might not be my cup of tea, Elton also did much great early stuff besides the mega-hits that we all love like Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Daniel, Bennie and the Jets, Someone Saved my Life Tonight, Your Song, Rocket Man, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting ... i.e. his cover of the Stones' Honky Tonk Women, etc.

In 1975, Philadelphia Freedom was released by Elton John -as "Elton John Band"- as a single. The song was written by Elton John and longtime co-writer Bernie Taupin as a favor to Elton's friend, tennis star Billie Jean King: King was part of the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team. Recorded in the summer of 1974, the only song Elton and Bernie ever consciously wrote as a single.  Taupin reportedly said, "I can't write a song about tennis"... and so he didn't. He also  maintains that the lyrics bear no relation to tennis, Philly Soul... or even flag-waving patriotism. 

Nonetheless, his words have been interpreted as patriotic and uplifting, and even though released in 1975, the song's sentiment, intended or not, meshed perfectly with an American music audience already gearing up for the country's bicentennial celebration in July of the next year. 

The song was also dedicated in part to the sound of Philadelphia, especially the music of the Delfonics, producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, and the Spinners and that group's producer, Thom Bell (and thus the Soul Train appearance)...

Previous RR Rock n Roll Oldies features -here-