This song has a title, no words, just a tune…

Ok, so I’ve butchered the lyrics, Bernie – my sincerest apologies!  But as I was listening to Blue Moves recently, I was drawn to recall Elton John instrumentals (there are 3 on that album alone) and how perhaps that’s a side of Elton’s music that many people don’t know about.  I mean, when you have that voice, why wouldn’t you use it?

Probably the most famous of all his instrumentals is Funeral for a Friend…and well it should be!  What an amazing piece of music.  Supposedly Elton wrote it trying to imagine the music he’d like at his funeral.  Morbid as it might sound, this better be played at my funeral (hint, hint).

Trivia tibdit: Funeral for a Friend and Love Lies Bleeding weren’t intended to be recorded together, but Funeral for a Friend ends in the key of A and Love Lies Bleeding begins in A…and voila!  A masterpiece.

Here are some others…I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but it’ll give you a taste of Elton’s talents as a composer:

  • Hay Chewed (Empty Sky, 1969) – Note: Hay Chewed actually starts about 3:09 into this clip…I really like this one – it’s a very jazzy, upbeat number.  And perhaps the title is a play on “Hey Jude?”
  • Funeral for a Friend (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973)
  • Your Starter For… (Blue Moves, 1976) – Actually written by Caleb Quaye, Elton plays the piano on this piece.
  • Out of the Blue (Blue Moves, 1976)
  • Theme from a Non-Existent TV Series (Blue Moves, 1976)
  • Reverie (A Single Man, 1978)
  • Song for Guy (A Single Man, 1978) – I especially like this one – it is a melancholy piece, which in and of itself is enough to make me like it – but I can also play it on the  piano!  And, in his own words…“As I was writing this song one Sunday, I imagined myself floating into space and looking down at my own body. I was imagining myself dying. Morbidly obsessed with these thoughts, I wrote this song about death. The next day I was told that Guy (Burchett), our 17 year-old messenger boy, had been tragically killed on his motorcycle the day before. Guy died on the day I wrote this song.”  
  • Carla/Etude/Fanfare (The Fox, 1981)
  • The Muse Soundtrack (1999) – The film score is composed and performed by EJ himself.  There is one song with lyrics on the soundtrack (called The Muse, of course).  I haven’t actually listened to the full score, but have watched the movie a couple of times.

So there you have some examples of EJ as a composer and not as “the voice.”  Hope you enjoy – I know I do!

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