3 Eternal Classic Rock Songs by Elton John

Elton John made the piano cool. He made it rock and roll. At a time when so many were standing on stage shredding with six-string guitars, the British-born John was comfortable behind the 88 black and white keys singing his songs with his bedazzled glasses and bejeweled suits.

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Today, the songwriter and performer remains an icon because of it. But which of his many hits will stand the ultimate test of time? Which songs of his are not just fabulous, but forever? That is what we wanted to dive in here below. These are three eternal classic rock Elton John songs.

[RELATED: The Time Elton John Mistook a Scruffy-Looking Bob Dylan for a Trespassing Gardener]

“Tiny Dancer” from Madman Across the Water (1971)

Released on John’s 1971 album Madman Across the Water, this song tells the story of a young woman with stars in her eyes. It’s also a song about promise, the fabled American dreams and the sunshine state of California. Possibility abounds in this song, but that doesn’t mean there’s always a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. This tune, though rich with spirit and joy, also has a feeling of sadness. Of nostalgic distance. What can be lost around so much hope? Either way, it’s a song that will last forever and John sings brightly over his bouncy piano riffs,

Blue jean baby, L.A. lady
Seamstress for the band
Pretty-eyed, pirate smile
You’ll marry a music man
Ballerina, you must’ve seen her
Dancing in the sand
And now she’s in me, always with me
Tiny dancer in my hand

“Rocket Man” from Honky Château (1972)

Released on the 1972 album Honky Château, this is another song about distance. An astronaut’s life is wondrous—to see the depths of space, few are ever able to do such things. But what’s the price? Most working people have to face a choice between family and the job. But what about those whose jobs take them to outer space? That’s what this song is about and, if you listen closely, maybe it’s how John feels about his own star-studded life. On it, he sings,

She packed my bags last night, pre-flight
Zero hour, 9 a.m.
And I’m gonna be high as a kite by then
I miss the Earth so much, I miss my wife
It’s lonely out in space
On such a timeless flight

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh, no, no, no
I’m a rocket man
Rocket man
Burning out his fuse up here alone

“Candle in the Wind” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)

This 1973 song was written in honor of actor and model Marilyn Monroe in the wake of her passing. Later, John performed a new version of it in 1997 after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, after her death. Both because of its artistry and its connection to two late legends, this song will live forever. It’s a pop funeral procession. And in this way, the memory of the subjects it was performed for will also remain long past their physical forms. Sings John on the ode,

Goodbye England’s rose
May you ever grow in our hearts
You were the grace that placed itself
Where lives were torn apart
You called out to our country
And you whispered to those in pain
Now you belong to heaven
And the stars spell out your name

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