This title track of the classic album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road follows up my post from last month of the opening of the record – Funeral For a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road above just about any other song immerses me into the wellspring of my upbringing. For me this album and song is my musical heritage since it certainly builds on nostalgia for a childhood and culture left in the past.
I remember when I was prepubescent and calling a major radio station in Sydney and recommending that they play this song for my father, which they did. I once had an audio recording of the lovely brief conversation I had with the radio presenter.
To my ears, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is one of the greatest albums in contemporary music and this title track certainly leads the way. Elton John was at the height of his songwriting prowess when he laid this down. It is widely regarded as his Magnum Opus.
What’s staggering to recall is Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics in two and a half weeks, with John composing most of the music in three days while staying at the Pink Flamingo Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. They ended up recording the album in France.
When are you gonna come down?
When are you going to land?
I should have stayed on the farm
I should have listened to my old man
You know you can’t hold me forever
I didn’t sign up with you
I’m not a present for your friends to open
This boy’s too young to be singing
The blues, ah, ah
So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can’t plant me in your penthouse
I’m going back to my plough
Wikipedia purports: The lyrics by Bernie Taupin deal with a toy boy saying farewell to his drug-addled socialite sugar daddy / mama and longing for his country roots.
Now, if that doesn’t throw a spanner in the dewy-eyed works. I didn’t know that until researching this song. Still, I’ll remember Goodbye Yellow Brick Road fondly as I always have for other reasons.
The song was the second single from the album and was one of John’s biggest hits, and quickly surpassed his previous single, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting“, in both sales and popularity.