For the most part, only hardcore Elton fans
know about this beautiful song. Written and recorded by Kiki
Dee, Elton's cover version was released as the B-Side to
the single Island Girl. Elton had signed Kiki to his own
Rocket Records label and was heavily involved in producing
her 1973 album, Loving & Free. Elton played keyboards
on 7 of the tracks and Elton's band also appears on numerous
tracks. Elton and Bernie even contributed 2 songs to the
album. Although it was critically acclaimed, the album didn't
sell well. Sugar, written by Kiki, was one of the standout
songs from the album.
Frankly speaking, Bernie has rarely provided Elton with
the kind of emotional and heart-felt lyrics found in this
song. And Elton's interpretation is very sparse, focusing
on the melody and wringing every bit of emotion out of the
You won't find any traditional Elton playing here. It's
simple chords (and sometimes not so simple chords) played
on a quarter note pulse - no riffing and none of Elton's
standard accompaniment style. Here are the opening bars.
The song doesn't really follow much of a structure per se.
It just sort of slowly evolves, ending with the title being
sung twice. Since there seem to be 2 distinct sections prior
to the brief chorus, I'm calling this as an A-B-C structure.
The A section consists of 2 8-bar phrases, roughly following
a I-I-IV-ii form. The B section starts at bar 21 and introduces
the subdominant EbMaj7 chord. This section is a little more
odd since it has a couple of added 2/4 bars in measures 23
and 27. We end up with 14 bars in this section.
(From a notation standpoint, these can be notated as
2/4 or they can be added to the end of the previous measures
which would then be shown as 6/4 bars. It's all subjective
and I prefer the 2/4 approach.)
The little 4-bar chorus turns around and goes back to the
I've had a couple of folks request this song over the past
year. As you know, I also share an interest in Elton's more
obscure songs. Thanks to their prompting, I'm very pleased
to present this rare treat. Enjoy!