Elton John

Your Song

Composed by Bernie Taupin / Elton John

Song Review by

Here is a rare case where Bernie Taupin's lyrics compliment perfectly an exceptional Elton John melody -- not just remaining innocuously out of the way, and not outrightly fouling up a beautiful composition, but actually reaching the same level of sophisticated pop songcraft. And it may just be for the basic reason that Taupin keeps it simple, not allowing his ambition to exceed his ability or to weigh down a simple pop song with pretense and forced verbiage.

The result -- from John's eponymous second LP -- is a near-perfect song, with an aching melody, sentiment, and performance. The music is the sort of blend that John often pulls off: a little bit of country, soul, folk, and jazz, with the R&B hook of the chorus: "I hope you don't mind/I hope you don't mind/That I put down in the words/How wonderful life is while you're in the world." The instrumental focus is on John's nimble Leon Russell-influenced piano work, with acoustic guitar, Paul Buckmaster's string accompaniment, and a shuffling rhythm section. Taupin offers an innocent love-song lyric: "It's a little bit funny this feeling inside/I'm not one of those who can easily hide/I don't have much money but boy if I did/I'd buy a big house where we both could live." At times the self-deprecating narrator stumbles to get out his feelings, a melodramatic device, to be sure, but effective and sweet nonetheless: "So excuse me forgetting but these things I do/You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue/Anyway the thing is what I really mean/Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen/And you can tell everybody this is your song/It may be quite simple but now that it's done." This is the other hook: "Your Song"'s self-consciousness as a song written as a gift for a loved one. It has been a self-fulfilling legacy, going into the Top Ten in 1971 and remaining a staple on radio for decades. In 2001, it was included in the musical film Moulin Rouge, sung by actor Ewan McGregor with a far more intentionally melodramatic flair that -- out of the context of the film -- just seems over the top.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Elton John 1970 Mercury / Universal 4:05
Greatest Hits 1974 Mercury 4:04
No Image 1975 MCA
Here and There 1976 Rocket Group Pty LTD 4:07
No Image 1980 K-Tel Distribution
No Image 1983 DJM Records
Your Songs 1985 MCA 4:00
Live in Australia 1987 MCA 3:48
Brit's Blitz: The Very Best of British Rock 1987
Various Artists
Polytel (Silver Eagle) 4:03
Baby Boomer Classics: Lovin' Seventies 1988
Various Artists
Trax Records 4:02
The Greatest Love, Vol. 2 [Telstar] 1989
Various Artists
Telstar 4:00
To Be Continued... 1990 Geffen / Island / Universal 4:00
No Image 1991 Live/Artisan
Our Songs: Singers & Songwriters Encore 1992
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:02
No Image 1993
Various Artists
Alex
That Loving Feeling, Vol. 4 1993
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment 4:00
Superstars Best Love Songs, Vol. 3-4 1994
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 3:58
Radio City Love Songs, Vol. 3 1994
Various Artists
Columbia
Top of the Spot [#2] 1994
Various Artists
Polydor 4:00
Made In England [Single] 1995 Rocket Group Pty LTD 4:26
And I Love You So [Love Themes] 1995
Various Artists
Love Themes 2:31
Love Songs [1995] 1995 Mercury
Love Songs 1996 Island / Island/Def Jam / MCA / Universal / Universal Music 4:03
The Best Live 1996
Various Artists
Stichting
Love 70's 1997
Various Artists
Coyote Records 4:03
De Pre Historie: De Jaren 70, Vol. 2 (1971) 1997
Various Artists
Eva 4:01
One and Only Love Album 1998
Various Artists
Polydor/Polygram 4:02
All by Myself [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 4:00
Music for Montserrat 1998
Various Artists
Image Entertainment
Acoustic Moods [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:59
Kuschelrock Special Edition 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:01
With Love [Universal] 1999
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:02
Best Love Songs Ever [EMI] 1999
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:01
Golden Collection 2000 1999 Droppings 4:01
Amplified 2000
Various Artists
UTV 4:00
Superstars in Concert 2000
Various Artists
Import 4:09
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
One Night Only: The Greatest Hits 2000 Universal 4:17
Live at Madison Square Garden 2000 Happenstance
Passion: Songs for Lovers 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:05
Super Ballads 2001
Various Artists
BMG
Love Lights 2001
Various Artists
WEA 4:00
Sunday Love Songs 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 4:01
No Image 2001 Universal Distribution
Capital Gold Legends 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:01
Prince's Trust: 1986 Birthday Party 2001
Various Artists
Panorama Records
Songs from the West Coast 2001 Mercury 4:21
First Visit 1971 2001 Midnight Beat 4:12
To Have and to Hold [Music for Two] 2002
Various Artists
Music For Two 4:01
Casey Kasem Presents: America's Top Ten - The 70's Singer/Songwriters 2002
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 4:02
What the World Needs Now Is...: The Ultimate Love Collection 2002
Various Artists
Warner Music 4:02
The Greatest Hits 1970-2002 2002 Island / Universal Distribution 4:05
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 3 2002
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Warner Strategic Marketing 4:03
Super Sweet: For Lovers Only 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Amour [Universal] 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Sweet Memories: 18 Love Classics 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Greatest Hits Live: 1970 - 2002 2003 Mercury / Rocket
Greatest Hits Live @ Madison Square Garden 2003 Universal International
No Image 2003 Phantom Import Distribution
New Woman 2002 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:59
Best Hits 2004
Various Artists
WEA
Tonight I Celebrate My Love 2004
Various Artists
Platinum Legends 4:01
100 Love Songs 2005
Various Artists
Madacy
I Luv Mum: For the Best Mum in the World Ever 2005
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI Music Distribution 4:01
Your Song Premium 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Greatest Hits/One Night Only 2005 Universal Distribution / Mercury / Mercury Records
Very Best of FM Lovearth 2005 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Electricity 2005 Mercury
Chronicles 2005 Island 4:04
Kansai Dai-Yakei: Love Song Collection 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Your Songs 2005
Various Artists
Marks & Spencer 4:02
The Love Songs Album [#3] 2006
Various Artists
Universal International 4:01
I Love Mom 2006
Various Artists
Liberty / Capitol 4:02
Voices from the Fifa World Cup: The Official Album of the 2006 Fifa World Cup [Australi 2006
Various Artists
Sony BMG
Official Compilation for Football World Cup 2006 2006
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Voices from the FIFA World Cup [Sony] 2006
Various Artists
Ariola / Sony BMG
No 1 Mum 2006
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:59
Wedding Party 2006
Various Artists
Sony BMG
Greatest Ever! Love: The Definitive Collection [2006] 2006
Various Artists
Union Square Music 4:00
Essential Songs 2006
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Distribution 4:00
Tonight I Celebrate My Love [Hallmark #2] 2006
Various Artists
Hallmark Recordings 4:01
Essential Love [Madacy] 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 3:59
One Love [Universal] 2007
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 4:01
To Mum With Love 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:59
Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits 2007 Mercury 4:00
Rocket Man: Number Ones 2007 Island
No Image 2007 Universal Distribution 4:02
20TH Century Masters: Best of Love, Vol. 2 2007
Various Artists
UMVD 4:08
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:02
Kuschelrock, Vol. 21 2007
Various Artists
Hart Records 4:01
Ultimative Chartshow: Rockballaden 2007
Various Artists
Polystar (Japan)
Elton 60: Live at Madison Square Garden 2007 Island/Mercury / Mercury
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Flower Power [Time Life Box] 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:01
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Rocket Man 2007 Mercury 4:01
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Polystar (Japan) / Universal
A Mother's Day Tribute 2008
Various Artists
Hip-O 4:01
Just Like Belgium: The Definitive Hits 2008 Mercury / Universal Distribution 4:02
Alan Jones Presents Songs of Love and Inspiration 2008
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:03
Singer 2008
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:00
Alle Hits! Die 70er 2008
Various Artists
Warner Music 4:01
The Red Piano 2008 HST Management, Ltd.
The Red Piano [DVD] 2008 Mercury
The Classic Love / The Ultimate Ballads Album 2009
Various Artists
Decca 4:01
Love Lift Us Up 2009
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:02
Classic Love [Decca] 2009
Various Artists
Universal 4:01
Always a Woman 2010
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Music TV 4:00
No Image 2010 Concert Live
Songs About Love 2010
Various Artists
4:01
Perfect Day 2011
Various Artists
Decca / Universal 4:00
Singers & Songwriters [Time-Life Box Set] 2011
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:03
BBC Radio 2's Pick of the Pops 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:02
You Raise Me Up 2012 2012
Various Artists
Decca 4:01
No Image Rock
Greatest Hits [BR Music] BR Music
Le 101 Canzoni Della Storia del Pop
Various Artists
Universal Music 4:00
No Image Imtrat
No Image
Various Artists
Universal 4:01
No Image
Various Artists
Universal S.A. 4:01
No Image
Various Artists
SME Records 3:58
No Image Wild Street
The Midnight Hour: The 20 Sexiest Hits of All Time
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:03
Time to Say Goodbye 2010
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Vol. 1-Capital Gold Legends
Various Artists
Virgin
blue highlight denotes editor's pick