Behind the Song: “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John

“Tiny Dancer” Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin There are songs that create an immediate impact on the listening world, and there are others that take a little time to make their mark on the public consciousness. Consider the example of “Tiny Dancer,” words by Bernie Taupin and music by Elton John, the opening track on John’s 1971 album Madman Across The Water. Elton didn’t even release it as a single in the U.K., and, though it was a single in America, it didn’t make much of a dent, reaching only #41 on the charts. So why wasn’t it a hit the first time around? The simplest explanation is that the radio edit for the song, which clocked in at longer than six minutes on the album, took away much of what made it great. The edit robbed “Tiny Dancer” of the subtle musical progression that takes it from John’s solo piano and vocal at the beginning to the inspiring string arrangement of Paul Buckmaster that carries the song home. Along the way, there’s some pedal steel to add just a touch of country and a choir to take the song gently into gospel territory. It’s a stellar performance…

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