This demo was written and recorded expressly
for Rod Stewart. In other words it’s a private tape
not intended for anyone else and its just Elton: raw, unpolished,
and unproduced. Sorry but I never got a score put
together on this one.
And just how raw and unpolished is it? Well Elton raw and
unpolished is still some damn fine piano playing in my book.
OK. I hear that pedal noise in the beginning. Elton’s
rockin. OK. The playing gets a little sloppy. OK. It’s
not the finest piece of work he ever did. It’s also
too damn long. But so what. I don’t care what any of
First of all, I love Elton when he’s solo on the piano.
There’s a magic and intimacy to it like you’re
somehow closer to the man and his genius. Second of all,
listening to a demo is like you’re hearing the first
cut of a song straight from a musical god. THIS IS THE KIND
OF STUFF ELTON JOHN GIVES AWAY!
Now here’s what I like about this tune. The intro
to this song is pure boogie and I perked up the first time
I heard it. I knew I had to check it out. Well the tune is
not really pure boogie, cause right away he switches into
Elton boogie (more on that later). Nevertheless it’s
close enough for me.
The song’s in F, a key Elton doesn’t use all
that often. Ostinato boogie patterns on a Bb chord aren’t
my favorite (jumpin around with my pinky on a black key causes
me to flub), so Elton just skips the left hand riff some
of the time to pound out some octaves. Large parts of this
song are actually just straight chords in the right hand
on the up beats pounding against a “4-on-the-floor” straight
left hand. Pretty basic kind of stuff. . . . . for a musical
Here’s something rather charming. When he transitions
from F to Dm, sometimes its through E, sometimes its through
Eb, sometimes its through C/E, and one time its through two
or these simultaneously. (I just picked C/E, more Eltonish
you know) I don’t think he’d quite made up his
mind on some of those pesky details. He let Rod’s boys
figure it out.
Now what’s Elton boogie you say? Well you see it popping
up a lot in many of his tunes. In this song, he uses it under
the melody on some of the F and C chords, but its really
evident in the solo section. Check out the examples below.
Elton doesn’t solo so much as he riffs furiously, mixing
traditional Jerry Lee Lewis / Little Richard type riffs with
some of his signature riffs. When it’s combined with
a boogie left hand, you got Elton boogie. There it is, on
full display right here.