Peachtree Road, like much of Elton's recent
work, is primarily filled with ballads. While some fans would
have preferred some uptempo songs, there is no doubt
that Elton's songwriting ability is as strong as ever. In
fact some of the songs are as harmonically rich
and sophisticated as anything Elton has ever written.
There is much to appreciate here even if there isn't a strong
Top-40 single on the album.
But I have to admit, when I look at an Elton album, I
look at it as a piano player. A piano
player who loves playing Elton's music. For me, the big
with this album is there isn't much piano playing going
on here. There are some great songs here, but with the
exception of Too Many Tears, we're presented with song
after song where Elton just bangs chords on a quarter
note pulse. IT'S A MAJOR CASE OF BORING HERE!
For the beginning piano player however, this is a good album
for learning how to play from a chord chart. Visit my friends
over at Elton
John Chords and you can pick up the chord charts for
So for this sampler plate, I'm gonna give you some bits
and pieces from some of my favorites on the album.
For you guys who are new at playing Elton, compare
these scores against the chord charts. My scores show
the actual voicings that Elton is playing, but ultimately,
the exact notes Elton plays are not that important. Elton
will play them differently every time he sits down. Get
used to working from a chord chart. You'll be better
off in the long run.
The Peachtree Sampler Plate gives you partial scores to
4 luscious songs. No midi files this time! Just enough of
these songs to get started on your own. Maybe sometime I'll
complete these songs or perhaps maybe I'll even add a couple
Elton starts off the album with a superb statement about
the tranquility that one can find later in life: when you
let go of the world's problems and just concentrate on the
little things around you. As a guy who is only slightly younger
that Elton, I find these to be very, very wise words indeed.
Weight might seem like a simple song, but its very deceptive.
Like most of Peachtree, the piano work consists of straight
chords played on the quarter note, with a few riffs tossed
in. If you're an experienced keyboardist, you're probably
familiar with the chord pattern in the verse.
|| I - V/I -| IV/I - - - | ii7 - - - |
V - - IV | I - - - ||
We start off with chords played over a constant G-bass,
a harmonic device used mostly by keyboardists that
point. Note that the verses consist of 5 bars, not
the usual 4. This happens because Bernie's
lyrics are (as they often are) asymetrical in their
structure. But you also have
to marvel at how easily Elton is able to
our perception, making a 5-bar verse sound perfectly normal.
The chorus shifts to the relative
minor key (E minor) of
the root key of G. In this section, the chord progression
becomes quite complex. Elton uses a ii7b5 as a dramatic substitute
chord for a V (bar 16). Also the descending chromatic bassline
(bars 17, 18) leads to a stunning turnaround back to the
Also note, the chorus consists of 7 bars. Once again, it
starts with the shape of the lyrics, but Elton then crafts
an oddly sized verse and chorus that sound smooth as
even realize how uniquely structured this song is.
In a nutshell, THIS IS MASTERFUL SONGWRITING OF
THE MOST ADVANCED KIND!
I've also included the solo in the score. This is a relaxed
little bit that reminds me of Bruce Hornsby. Enjoy!
Answer is one of the simpler songs on the album. It's also
an upbeat and positive song and I guess that's why I like
it. To me it sounds like it could of been written for Lion
It's written in Bb, one of Elton's more common keys. As
I've mentioned many times in these writeups, keys such as
Bb and Eb work out real well for Elton. As you finger the
chords on the piano, you'll discover that these keys allow
the thumb and little finger, your 2 shortest digits, to spend
most of their time on white keys. Your other fingers will
take care of the black notes. Much of Elton's playing style
and his sound rely on this approach to playing and voicing
In my mind, Elusive represents the most stunning song on
Peachtree. The lyrics are just raw emotions. This is something
that Elton and Bernie (for all their good points) don't give
us very often. Elton matches it with some of the most sophisticated
harmonies he has ever devised. The result is a poignant,
I'm not going to try and analyze this one - it would just
take too long. The harmony bounces around so much, this is
a difficult song to even pin down what key we're in. Here
are a few key points.
- How about the opening 2 bars? A parallel modulation from
F to Fm. The F chord is in Bb. The Fm chord is in Eb, Ab,
or its relative minor key of F-minor. WHAT KEY ARE WE IN?
Elton isn't going to make it easy for us to know.
- He again uses the 7b5 chord to dramatic effect. For some
reason I didn't write it on the score as a 7b5. I guess
just to keep it simpler for you guys. I call it a Gm/E
in the score, but that's the same thing as an Em7b5. The
Gm7/E is actually an Em9b5. The crazy thing is, this chord
is used to modulate from Eb to D-minor. Or are we in Bb?
Holy cow this is complicated!
- He liberally uses ii and iii as dominant 7ths in order
to modulate. Again, these pop up every few bars, and it
keeps the harmony jumping.
And how about that ending.
| F A/C# Dm Dm/C | Bb - F/A - | G7 G7/B
C - | Db Ab/C Bbm - | C - - - | Fm - - - ||
Elton said in an interview when he was talking about Your
Song, "It has quite a lot of chords." My
Elusive Drug also has quite a lot of chords.
Now here's what I call some piano playing! Elton gives us
a bouncy, fun song to play - really the only song like it
on Peachtree. Elton's approach should be familiar to veteran
Elton piano players.
Many thanks to Brian who pointed
out how similar this song is to the classic Where to
Now St. Peter from Tumbleweed Connection. The intros
are virtually identical!
This is another song that starts off sounding rather simple,
but its not. In this one, Elton dances all around the root
key, without ever hitting it. The song is in A, BUT HE NEVER
PLAYS the A chord. Oh he glances over it couple of times.
But when he does, the bassline isn't playing an A.
Open your ears to what's going on here. Listen to the slightly unsettled sound
of the verse as Elton manipulates us around the keys of E
and D, the V and IV of A. Notice the delicious way he throws
in minor chords. Notice the way he pushes the harmony in
different directions. That unsettled feeling occurs because
he never gives you a true harmonic resolution.
The chorus is at once an amazing contrast to the verse and
yet it works so beautifully emanating from it. He starts
off immediately teasing us with an A/C#. The last bar of
the chorus is the only, and I MEAN THE ONLY time he finally
resolves this incredible progression to the root chord of
I hope you've enjoyed this sampler. This approach is a much
quicker way for me to get music out there for you. This gives
you a good head start on these songs, but you'll have to
do a little more work on your own. As I mentioned before,
perhaps I'll get back to these songs another time and complete