Sometimes I just get inspired to work on
a particular song. With this one, it started with a fan sending
me what he thought was a transcription of this performance.
I'm always open to submissions from anyone, but they have
to be of "reasonable" quality. As I was looking
at it and noting the differences, I decided what the heck-
I love this song. I'm just gonna do it!
And I especially want to dedicate this
to my amazing and wonderful wife, Christine. You're my
I Need You is a good example of the classical sound Elton
achieved on the Elton John album. It's in 3/4 (waltz) time,
and features Elton's arpeggiating style. The original was
played on a harpsichord, accompanied by acoustic guitar and
of course Paul Buckmaster's incredible string arrangements.
This solo treatment, recorded at a Christmas show in 1974,
gives you a chance to see how Elton translated the song to
This is an excellent song for the beginning to intermediate
pianist, particularly if you've had a few years of classical
training. One of Elton's dominant styles is an arpeggiated
or broken chord style of play, which he uses in his right
hand. Sometimes I'll call this his "Mozart" style
of playing, in reference to the arpeggiated style that Mozart
used in his left hand (usually referred to as an alberti
bass style). But one thing you learn very quickly about Elton,
he doesn't stick to simple arpeggios. He's got a highly evolved
approach that's filled with riffs, passing tones and other
devices that make his music an absolute treat to play.
The figure above illustrates my point. The basic chord progression
is Em - D - G - A - Am - Em. Anyone could do some type of
arpeggio figure with these chords and the song would sound
alright. If you're a pianist, go ahead and try it. You'll
see that it sounds fine.
But you'll also discover that it begins to sound repetitous
and boring compared to Elton. That's exactly the point. Look
at a couple examples of the types of things that Elton does
when he's playing his "Mozart" style.
- Added 9ths and 4ths. You can call these suspensions,
sus chords, 9-3 resolutions or whatever you want. The
bottomline is he tosses these in as riffs, either on-the-beat
or off-the-beat, or as passing tones. And he rarely repeats
himself with these devices. They change and evolve throughout
a performance. He literally has dozens and dozens of
variations of these at his command.
- I call these anticipations or lead-ins. Elton leads
into the harmony in the next measure by playing notes
that are not in the chord from the current measure. MOST
PEOPLE MISS THIS CRUCIAL ELEMENT IN ELTON'S PLAYING.
In a nutshell, this is what gives Elton's sound its richness.
It's uniquely Elton.
As always, I hope you enjoy this addition to Elton's Cafe.
Oh and my apologies. The MP3 file is a little off-pitch.
I don't have a way to correct it.