Let Me Be Your Car
Elton John Rare Masters
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Solo Piano Demo
Key: F Structure:

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 you think!

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 god.

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.