Daniel (1973) – Elton John


Daniel was one of the earliest songs I remember listening to in my life. It and Crocodile Rock were two of Elton John’s biggest breakout hits. It’s said that Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics after reading an article about a Vietnam veteran who had been wounded, and wanted to get away from the attention he was receiving when he went back home. I had thought it was about the son of my Godmother whose name was Daniel and this song was called Daniel – so naturally Elton John a squillion miles away was writing about a lad in Australia about my age who hadn’t flown in a plane.

Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane
I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain
And I can see Daniel waving goodbye
Oh it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes

It takes a while to grow up. I am still yet to master it. The real Daniel which Bernie Taupin wrote about just wanted to get home after the War and live the simple life on his farm. Like Daniel in the song I have also want to get home, thanks to the great upbringing I had (kudos Mum and Dad), but it’s not going to happen. Daniel by Elton remains a landmark track and to this day I consider a classic of contemporary music.

Elton’s song composition prowess through Bernie’s superior lyrical writing were indeed a match made in heaven as far as commercial success was concerned. It’s also said from songfacts when Elton wrote the music for this song, he chopped off the last verse because he thought the song was already too long. The deleted verse explained that “Daniel” was a Vietnam vet. With the last verse chopped off, it became a fairly vague story of two brothers who parted ways, although Bernie Taupin maintained that losing the verse wasn’t a big deal.

The song was an overwhelming success in the US, Australia and Europe. It was instrumental in launching Elton to international stardom. Allegedly the record company didn’t want to release Daniel as a single because they thought it was too long and sombre to be a hit. Elton had other ideas, and insisted they release it as a single before the album came out. The record company did, but with very little promotion. It became a hit anyway.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music
3 comments on “Daniel (1973) – Elton John
  1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    The only Elton song I like better than this one is Tiny Dancer and it’s close. This song is so great musically and lyrically. I do think of my childhood listening to it on our stereo.

    • Tiny dancer is great. He even sings it with a bizarre American accent lol. I think my favourite from Elton is ‘Your Song’ followed very closely by ‘2 Low for Zero’. The way ‘Your Song’ is presented in the biopic (Rocketman) is excellent. Very inspiring considering the Manager was pestering Elton and Bernie to find that one great song which they hadn’t up until that point. When the Manager heard ‘Your Song’, he said he hadn’t heard anything as good as that since ‘Hey Jude’.Haha.

      • badfinger20 (Max) says:

        Bernie and Elton were a perfect match. We like these songs because of the music and lyrics…just incredible what they did.
        Rocket Man is up there also…so many.

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