Elton John - Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player
Label: DJM Records
Catalog#: DJLPH 427
Format: Vinyl, LP
Record: VG+ VG++, few light scuffs
Cover: laminated gatefold, top edge split 4 inches, light cornerwear
Includes original booklet VG++
Country: Original UK Issue
Style: Pop Rock, Classic Rock
Teacher I Need You 4:08
Elderberry Wine 3:34
Blues For Baby And Me 5:38
Midnight Creeper 3:53
Have Mercy On The Criminal 5:55
I'm Going To Be A Teenage Idol 3:55
Texan Love Song 3:33
Crocodile Rock 3:56
High Flying Bird
Artwork By [Art Direction & Sleeve Design] - David Larkham , Michael Ross
Bass - Dee Murray
Drums - Nigel Olsson
Engineer - Ken Scott
Guitar - Davey Johnstone
Lyrics By - Bernie Taupin
Photography - Bryan Forbes , Ed Caraeff , Maxine Taupin , Michael Ross
Piano, Music By - Elton John
Producer - Gus Dudgeon
Recorded at Strawberry Studios, France
Re-mixed at Trident Studios, London
Album includes a 12 page full colour booklet with photos and lyrics
The bad news for Elton's hard rock fans in 1973 was that the guy who made "Madman Across The Water" less than two years before had left the building. In his place was a pop craftsman with a keen interest in making music for the masses.
The good news, of course, was Elton's arrival as a full-fledged pop star came with some terrific music, still very enjoyable more than a quarter century later. Actually, his pop leanings were in evidence in 1972 with the release of "Honky Chateau," but this time the gloves are off, and his aim is clearly Casey Kasem country. The result was his first two top-five singles in the U.S., the chart-topping "Crocodile Rock" and #2 hit, "Daniel." "Don't Shoot Me" reached the top of the charts, too, just as "Honky Chateau" did.
If you like "Honky Chateau," chances are good you will like "Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player," which in many ways feels like a sequel. The title, for instance, sounds like something the singer in "Honky Cat" might have said if offered an extra chorus. "Crocodile Rock" deals with a faithless girlfriend named Susie, while someone with the same name and inclinations also appears in a song named after her on "Honky Chateau."
The two hits on "Don't Shoot Me," painful as it is to say, aren't as enduring as the hits on "Honky Chateau." Frankly, both "Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock" suffer from radio overplay in a way "Honky Cat" and "Rocket Man" don't. That's not to say they aren't great songs, just less enduring. Elton works in some interesting keyboard tones with "Daniel" and plays to the '50s nostalgia craze (quoting Pat Boone, ye gads!) with "Croc Rock," a song I grooved to as a youngster when it first came out and dearly love today. Yet when it comes on my stereo, my focus sometimes wanders a bit.
What makes "Don't Shoot Me" a vital chunk of Eltonia is the rest of the album. People deride pop music, and often for the right reasons, but this is pop of an especially high order. "Teacher I Need You," "Elderberry Wine," and "Blues For My Baby And Me" all sound like how-to clinics on making enduring post-Beatles pop, clever and engaging and affecting, each in a different way. If they played these tunes on the radio as much as "Crocodile," I'd probably tire of them, too, but they don't and I'm grateful for that when I get to groove to them today.
The rest of the album showcases Elton's diversity. "I'm Gonna Be A Teenage Idol" has fun with the notion Elton was becoming just that, working off a charming melodic underpinning and a solid rhythmic undertow which Elton was indeed becoming a star by using to great effect while other singer-songwriters of his day faded off into obscurity with their bell-bottom Birkenstock blues about the polluted environment or not having a date for the prom. "High Flying Bird" shows Elton's winning sentimental side, while "Have Mercy On The Criminal" revisits "Madman" waters with a better result than most of the songs off that earlier album.
Many people rag on "Texas Love Song," but to me it shows lyricist Bernie Taupin was aware of his overromanticizing the South and Western regions of the U.S. and wanted to acknowledge what one of the more narrow-minded denizens of those parts might think of him if they ever met. Sure, the protagonist comes off like Michael Rooker in "Mississippi Burning," but where does it say pop music narrators all have to be nice and sweet? It's a challenging song lyrically, while the music is suitably low-key and rather more authentic-feeling than most of Elton's (otherwise brilliant) country-rock excursions.
Elton John - Crocodile Rock
Elton John - Daniel - Live Edinburgh 1976
this song is about an older brother (daniel) going off to fight in vietnam but telling his little bro that hes going to spain...
This is one of "the" most beautiful songs. Bernie wrote many more verses to this song but it made the song too long, thus it had to be cut. It literally brought tears to my eyes tonight. I think of all of those who didn't return from Viet Nam and other wars and it was a song for them. Elton, even when on drugs was so brilliant at what he did and he still is. He's an incredible human being and we are lucky to have him on this Earth.
Elton John - Daniel ( poor sound quality example)
Elton John - Elderberry Wine
Elton John - Teacher I Need You
Elton John - Blues For My Baby And Me
One of my favorite Elton John vocals ever. I've always thought that this record was seriosly underrated. Too popular to be a critical success at the time, but it has aged well.