I Want Love
Songs From The West Coast
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Studio Version
Key: A Structure: A-A-B-A-B-C-A-B-B

I Want Love was the first single from this eagerly anticipated album and it's a song that continues to fascinate me. While it is truly brilliant in its own right, it is also quite a different sounding song from what Elton fans might of expected. In fact that may just be the point from Elton's perspective. I Want Love is Elton's tribute to the Beatles sound. I say this for several reasons.

First the lyrics and Elton's delivery. I read one writer describe this song as aching and I would have to agree. The song comes off as an emotional open wound. You would be hard pressed to name 2 or 3 Elton and Bernie songs that present this kind of raw direct emotion. In fact the lack of honest emotions has sometimes been used as a criticism of Bernie's lyrics. For me it recalls the best of Lennon and even George's songwriting.

Then there's Elton's playing. This is simple unadorned playing, the kind of playing a lot of non-pianists employ because it is so straightforward and easy to play. It's just bangin chords on the quarter note pulse. This is really rare for Elton but very typical for John and Paul. (Note I've juiced up the transcription a little. I can't hear the piano that well so I figured I might as well make it a little more fun to play.) Also I don't know anything about effects, but to me the piano has a compressed sound to it - something else that's not Elton-like.

From the harmonic standpoint, there is a defining modulation throughout the song that most definitely has that Beatle flair to it. You can hear it right off the bat in the intro when Elton drops chromatically from the C#m to a C and then up to the D.

|| A - F#m - | C#m - - - | C - D - | A - F#m - | C - D - ||

This C to D move leading back to the root key of A is also used prominently in the chorus.

A couple other Beatle observations. Davey's electric guitar sounds pretty much like George Harrison to me, from the fuzzy tone to the simple but elegant lines he picks out throughout the song. And wonder of wonders, there's a guitar solo in this song that sounds like vintage George as well!

And oh yeah, lets not forget that Billy Preston, the 5th Beatle, adds some tasty little organ work to whole mix.

George Harrison died about 2 months after the release of this song after a long losing battle with cancer.

There's no dedication listed here, but I think it's pretty obvious that this is Elton and Bernie's tribute to the Beatles.