It's Me That You Need
Single (Never Released on Album)
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Live Solo Piano Version
Key: C Structure: A-B-C-A-B-C

It's Me That You Need is a rarely heard early single put out by Elton and Bernie. It was released as a single in May 1969 in the UK and as the B-side to a re-release of Lady Samantha in January 1970 in the US. Elton kept it in his live set at least through 1971.

This version is taken from a bootleg of his first performance in Tokyo Japan, October 11, 1971. I've included the mp3 for your reference purposes. Elton had already begun his conquest of the US by the time of this concert and was preparing to unleash a string of hits that would make him an international star.

Elton's Mozart Style
What I like about this song is that it is the earliest example I've heard of the Elton John ballad style of piano playing. It's a style that he employed significantly in the Elton John album, which came out a year later. This is not a great song, not a bad one either, but the elements of his playing style are present and that's what I'm excited about.

For discussion purposes, I've nicknamed this style of playing as Elton's “Mozart” style. It's a style of playing where the right hand plays broken arpeggios in a manner similar to the left hand accompaniment that Mozart used in his signature pieces (also known as the alberti bass style). By itself, this style is a simple and effective approach to accompaniment that a beginning pianist could employ.

But of course the pure Mozart style would be boring if wasn't for Elton's ability to mix up the basic repetitive arpeggiation with different arpeggio patterns, passing notes, riffs and rhythmic syncopations. Combined with his articulation, these devices provide lots of subtle and fascinating shifts of emphasis that percolate beneath the melody of the song.

Starting with the opening bars, you can see how well Elton mixes it up. An important part of Elton's technique involves holding notes with the 5th finger of the left and right hands while the inner fingers do the work. Notice how he changes the accents from bar to bar with his lead notes.

The song is in 6/8 which is a nice change from a standard 4/4 time and provides a "1-and-a-2-and-a" or tuplet feel to the rhythm.

This is not an ambitious song. Harmonically it uses a descending bassline or diatonic approach to chord changes. It’s in the key of C; the verses center on the relative minor of Am with the chorus shifting to C. The song structure is in 8. After 2 8-bar verses, there is an 8-bar pre-chorus.

|| Am - Am - G - G - F - C/E - G - G || 2 times

|| F - C/E - G - C - F - C - G - G ||

The chorus also uses an 8-bar descending bassline harmony as shown in the following example.

Simple and compelling, I find this song to be of historic interest. I hope you enjoy it as well.