Friday, November 23, 2007
For more than 30 years, I have had two old Elton John songs on an almost continuous loop in my head -- Teacher I Need You and Elderberry Wine from the 1973 album Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player. And a few weeks ago, I was watching the season finale of Californication, and I was overjoyed to hear another song off that album -- High Flying Bird -- that I honestly had not heard in more than three decades. It immediately, and quite emotionally, transported me back to my childhood, and I realized I desperately needed to have that album. I ordered it off Amazon.ca for $5.99 and it arrived the other day, and has been on my iPod ever since.
I was just a little kid when that album came out. My sister was a huge fan, and I think it was playing constantly in our house for a year, and certainly on every road trip our family took for a couple of years. Listening to that achingly lovely song, Blues for My Baby and Me, I almost burst into tears, because I could vividly remember driving through Vermont in the fake-wood-panelled Brady Bunch station wagon on our way to Massachusetts while rubbing my father's aching shoulders as he drove. I was instantly there; I could even remember the colour of the trees and the feel of the fabric of the shirt my father was wearing.
The greatest thing, however, is that my daughter is listening to it and loving it, hilariously because she thinks Elton sounds just like the Scissor Sisters and also because many of the lyrics, written by Bernie Taupin, are about women and wives and girlfriends and, well, she's only ever known Gay Elton. I had to remind her that a straight guy wrote the lyrics.
But it is so gratifying to have your daughter turn you on to the great music of her childhood and her generation, and then a week or two later, you're turning her onto the great music of your youth and telling her how you remembered giving her beloved grandfather a neck rub as you listened to it on a family road trip. It was a sweet mother-daughter moment. Thanks, Elton!
(And for any of you youngsters out there who only knew the Lion King Elton, please, go back and rediscover his first few albums. I don't think he made a good one after Captain Fantastic, but almost everything prior to that, with Bernie Taupin writing the lyrics, was well and truly brilliant.)