Elton John

Your Song

Composed by Elton John / Bernie Taupin

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
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 4:00
No Image 1980 K-Tel Distribution
No Image 1983 DJM Records 0:00
Sounds of the Seventies: 1971 1989
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:01
AM Gold: 1970 1990
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:02
The Very Best of Elton John [Polygram] 1990 Polygram / PolyGram 4:02
To Be Continued... 1990 MCA 4:00
No Image 1991 Live / Artisan
Our Songs: Singers & Songwriters Encore 1992
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:02
Best Love Songs, Vol. 4 1993
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 3:58
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
And I Love You So [Love Themes] 1995
Various Artists
Love Themes 2:31
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Love Songs [1995] 1995 Rocket Group Pty LTD 4:02
Love Songs 1996 Island / Def Jam / Universal / Universal Music 4:03
Love 70's 1997
Various Artists
Coyote Records 4:03
One and Only Love Album 1998
Various Artists
Polydor / Polygram 4:02
All by Myself [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 4:00
Acoustic Moods [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:59
Kuschelrock Special Edition 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
With Love [Universal] 1999
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:02
Amplified 2000
Various Artists
UTV 4:00
Passion: Songs for Lovers 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:05
Love Lights 2001
Various Artists
WEA 4:00
Sunday Love Songs 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 4:01
Lifetime Music Presents: Weddings of a Lifetime 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 4:02
Capital Gold Legends 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:01
Songs from the West Coast 2001 Universal 0:00
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 4:05
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 3 2002
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Dream Ticket 2004 WAB
I Luv Mum: For the Best Mum in the World Ever 2005
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI Music Distribution 4:01
Chronicles 2005 Island 4:04
The Love Songs Album [#3] 2006
Various Artists
Universal International 4:01
I Love Mom 2006
Various Artists
Liberty / Capitol 4:02
One Love [Universal] 2007
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 4:01
Rocket Man: The Definitive Hits 2007 UMVD / Universal Distribution 4:00
Rocket Man: Number Ones 2007 Island / Mercury 4:04
20TH Century Masters: Best of Love, Vol. 2 2007
Various Artists
UMVD 4:08
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
Bang & Olufsen: Jazz/Soul/Pop/Rock/Electronic/Classical 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:02
Bang & Olufsen: Pop 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:02
The Classic Love / The Ultimate Ballads Album 2009
Various Artists
Decca
Love Lift Us Up 2009
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:02
Classic Love [Decca] 2009
Various Artists
Decca 4:02
Always a Woman 2010
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Music TV 4:00
Pure Love Songs, Vol. 2 2010
Various Artists
3:58
Songs About Love 2010
Various Artists
4:01
Gnomeo and Juliet 2011
Original Soundtrack
Buena Vista 4:02
Singers & Songwriters [Time-Life Box Set] 2011
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:03
You Raise Me Up 2012 2012
Various Artists
Decca 4:01
5 Classic Albums (1970-1973) 2012 Island / Mercury 4:04
Romantically Yours: Being with You 2012
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:03
Diamonds 2017 Island / Mercury / Universal 4:03
Easy Listening Classics/Time Life's Movie Classics
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:00
No Image Rock
Love 70's [International Version]
Various Artists
Universal 4:02
Molly: Do Yourself a Favor [Original TV Soundtrack]
Original TV Soundtrack
Liberation 4:02
Rock & Romance Collection
Various Artists
Time Life 4:01
Romantically Yours
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:03
The Heart of Classic Rock [Box Set]
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:02