Meaning of “Your Song” by Elton John
“Your Song” is a ballad performed by the iconic English singer Elton John. The lyrics of “Your Song”, which were written by Elton John’s longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin, see the narrator express his love in a purely innocent and beautiful way to his significant other.
Who do the lyrics of “Young Song” address?
Despite many speculations that the lyrics of this song address a significant other in either Elton or Taupin’s teenage lives (because the song was written when both musicians were 17), Elton insists they aren’t about any particular person in either his or Taupin’s lives.
However, in an interview he had with Music Connection magazine in the late 1980s, he referred to the lyrics of the song as “childish and naïve” and said they were real at the time they were written. He further stated that the lyrics were exactly how he was feeling when he was a 17-year-old kid whose encounter with love was both new and naïve.
In another interview Elton had with Rolling Stone magazine, he said he often doesn’t ask Taupin who or what the lyrics he writes are about. According to him, he always though Taupin wrote the song about one of his girlfriends. However, he said when he asked Taupin if he wrote “Your Song” for a girlfriend of his, Taupin said NO!
Facts about “Your Song”
- The song was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, with Taupin writing the lyrics and Elton writing the melody. The pair wrote the song at the Elton’s parents’ house in London, where they were both living.
- According to Taupin, he wrote the lyrics on a “grubby piece of exercise paper” over breakfast on a kitchen table. The exercise paper on which the original lyrics of the song were written contains coffee stains. Hence if one were to take a look at original lyrics today, one would see that certain parts of them have visible coffee stains.
- Having received the lyrics from Taupin, Elton used only 20 minutes to write the song’s melody.
- The song was produced by English record producer Gus Dudgeon, who died tragically with his wife in 2002 in a ghastly road accident.
- “Your Song” officially came out on October 26th, 1970 as one of the 3 singles from Elton’s second studio album titled Elton John. The track went on to become not only Elton’s first hit but also his breakthrough single and helped significantly in establishing his career.
- Elton wasn’t the first to release the song. Prior to officially releasing the song in October 1970, the American rock band Three Dog Night had already released it. Three Dog Night released the track in March 1970 as one of the tracks on their album It Ain’t Easy. The band decided not to release the song as a single because they wanted Elton (who was at that time budding artist) to release it as a single since they felt it would help kick start his career.
- Speaking with Rolling Stone magazine in 1975, John Lennon said when he first heard “Your Song”, he was very pleased with what he heard and felt it was “the first new thing” to have happened in the music industry since The Beatles happened.
- According to many publications, “Your Song” is one of the greatest songs of all time. For example, in both the Rolling Stone magazine’s 2004 and 2010 lists of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, this track is ranked at number 137.
- “Your Song” peaked at number 7 n the UK Singles Chart and number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100, making it Elton’s first song to enter into the top 10 of both charts.
- In 2002, Elton recorded this song again with the renowned Italian opera singer Alessandro Safina for charity.
- Since its birth in the 1970, this song has been performed live at every single major Elton John concert. According to Elton, it is one of the best love songs he has ever written.
Has “Your Song” won a Grammy?
The track was honored with an induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Which artists have covered this song?
Since “Your Song” came out in 1970, several prominent artists have released cover versions. Here are some of the famous covers of this song:
- Rod Stewart in 1992. Steward’s version peaked at numbers 41 and 48 on the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100 respectively.
- Ellie Goulding in 2010. Goulding’s version made it all the way to number 2 on the UK Singles Chart.
- Lady Gaga in 2018.