This heartfelt ballad proved to be the undeniable highlight of Caribou thanks to its combination of aching lyricism and a soaring melody. Bernie Taupin's lyrics present a narrator begging for a reprieve from heartbreak in the most nakedly emotional style imaginable: "Don't discard me/Just because you think I mean you harm/But these cuts I have inside/Oh, they need love to help them heal." Elton John lives up to the intensity of the lyrics with a powerful melody consisting of verse melodies whose abrupt ebb and flow convey the narrator's churning emotions and a heartbreaking chorus whose blend of soaring and descending phrases give it a "swirling" feel. Elton John's recording turns the song into a vocal showcase by downplaying his usual penchant for lush backing tracks in favor of a stripped-down arrangement: the sound is dominated by his rolling piano fills and a steady beat, plus touches of Beatles-ish guitar and stately horns on the chorus. The end result seemed like a hit waiting to happen, but it would not have seen release had it not been for the determination of producer Gus Dudgeon: John had trouble nailing his vocal and was ready to discard it, but Dudgeon kept his best take and added gorgeous backing vocals from a group consisting of Bruce Johnston, Carl Wilson, and Toni Tennille. Their lovely but subtle wordless vocals provide the perfect balance to John's soulful, sad lead, and the finished vocal combination of raw power and ethereal beauty helped the song become a number two hit. Since then, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" has come to be considered as one of the gems of the John/Taupin catalog: it instantly became an audience favorite at live shows and has been successfully covered by Oleta Adams and George Michael (as a chart-topping duet with Elton John, no less).