Elton John

Crocodile Rock

Song Review by

Elton John scored one of his biggest and best-remembered hits with this song, a bracing pop-rocker that blended retro rock nostalgia with the stylish energy of glam rock. Bernie Taupin’s lyrics start off with glowing nostalgia ("I remember when rock was young/Me and Susie had so much fun") about a nightspot where rock and roll was king but this nostalgia soon gives way to sorrow over the price that comes with the passage of time: "Long nights cryin’ by the record machine/Dreaming of my chevy and my old blue jeans." It seems like the set-up for a tear-jerking ballad but Elton John’s music takes the song in the opposite direction with a breathless pop melody that builds from constantly-ascending verses that build excitement with a swinging double-time chorus designed for rock and roll-style wailing. Elton John’s recording of "Crocodile Rock" tackles the song with maximum gusto, starting with a foundation of pounding piano lines and swirling synthesizer riffs that give it a retro-rock feel and adding snarling guitar riffs, pulsating bass licks and dexterous drumming that give it the stylish muscle of a glam rock. John tops it off with a lead vocal that effortlessly glides from Elvis Presley style-crooning to a wailing falsetto for the chorus’ infectious "la-la-la" tag. All these touches added up to a song that leaped out of the radio speakers the way a good single should and "Crocodile Rock" accordingly became a major hit around the world, including a #1 placing on the U.S. charts. It has since become a mainstay in his concert set lists and was later performed on television amidst a bunch of crocodile puppets on the Muppet Show.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player 1973 Rocket 3:58
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1973 Def Jam / Island / Rocket Group Pty LTD / Universal 0:00
Greatest Hits 1974 Rocket Group Pty LTD / Island / Def Jam / Motown / Polydor / Universal / Universal Music 3:55
No Image 1980 K-Tel Distribution
No Image 1981 Hallmark Recordings
No Image 1983 DJM Records 0:00
No Image 1984 Premier
Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1973 1989
Various Artists
Rhino 3:58
Rock Classics, Vol. 3 [K-Tel] 1990
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:56
The Very Best of Elton John [Polygram] 1990 Polygram / PolyGram 3:55
To Be Continued... 1990 MCA 3:55
Dick Clark's All-Time Hits, Vol. 4 1994
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 4:02
Four Weddings and a Funeral 1994
Original Soundtrack
London 3:55
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd.
Baby Boomer Classics: Rockin' Seventies 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 3:54
The Ultimate Rock Collection Gold and Platinum, Vol. 2: 1971-1973 1997
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:57
No. 1 Classic Pop Album 1998
Various Artists
Polygram 3:54
The '70s, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:56
The 70s 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:56
Dick [Virgin] 1999
Original Soundtrack
Virgin 3:53
Radio's Greatest Hits: The '70s 2000
Various Artists
Trans World 3:50
Celebrate! 2002
Various Artists
Polygram 3:55
The Kid Stays in the Picture 2002 Milan 3:51
The Greatest Hits 1970-2002 2002 Island / Universal 3:57
Byggmester Bob 2002
Various Artists
BBC / Universal 4:08
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Columbia
Rock 'N' Roll's Greatest Hits 70's 2003
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:56
Legends: Do It Again 2003
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:57
Casey Kasem Presents: America's Top Ten - The 70s #1 Pop Hits 2004
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 3:55
No Image 2004 Koch 6:39
Mustang 40th Anniversary 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 3:55
'70s [Universal 2004] 2004
Various Artists
Universal / USM 3:56
Dream Ticket 2004 WAB
Billboard #1s: The '70s 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 3:57
Barry Williams Presents: 70s Music Explosion 2006
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:56
40 Legendarische Hits Uit: 40 Jaar Top 40 [DVD] 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Essential Playlist: 20 Non-Stop Hits! 70s 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 3:48
Greatest Ever! Seventies 2007
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:56
Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits 2007 UMVD / Universal Distribution 3:55
Rocket Man: Number Ones 2007 Island / Mercury 3:57
Ultimate Hits: Best of the '70s 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 3:48
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:57
Get Ready, Here Come the '70s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:55
Die Ultimative Rock Box 2007
Various Artists
Brunswick 3:54
No Image 2007 Universal Distribution 3:54
Just Like Belgium: The Definitive Hits 2008 Mercury / Universal Distribution 3:55
5 Classic Albums (1970-1973) 2012 Island / Mercury 3:56
Party Rock 2012
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:56
Diamonds 2017 Island / Mercury / Universal 3:56
20 #1's: Classic Rock
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:54
No Image
Various Artists
Strategic Marketing 3:57
Classic Elton John Polygram
No Image Rock
Party Rock: Magic Carpet Ride
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:56
Party! [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Music 3:57
Pop Goes the 70s
Various Artists
StarVista / Time / Life Music 3:56