4 Songs You Didn’t Know Elton John Wrote for Other Artists

If you had one wish and you had to use it on an entertainer coming to your home to play you a special concert, there is a near 100% chance you’d pick Elton John. The British-born artist is warm and yet also larger than life, talented and yet approachable. Oh yeah, and he’s got hits for days.

Videos by American Songwriter

But John’s talents don’t just include his flamboyant performances and his keen, catchy, spirited songwriting for his own tracks like “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and “Candle in the Wind.” Sir Elton has also penned countless lyrics and tunes for other artists along the way throughout his decades-long celebrated career.

[RELATED: 3 Songs You Didn’t Know Cody Johnson Wrote for Other Artists]

Below, we share four such songs you likely didn’t know John helped write for other artists.

1. “Elaborate Lives,” Heather Headley

Written by Elton John, Tim Rice

This song comes from the 1999 concept album, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, which is based on the opera Aida from 1871. Rice, for those who don’t know, is a British-born lyricist and writer known for his work on animated movies like Aladdin and The Lion King. For the album, the song is performed by Heather Headley, a Trinidadian-born American singer, who won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her work in Aida. (In 2010, she also won a Grammy for a gospel album.) In the song Headley sings:

We all lead such elaborate lives
Wild ambitions in our sights
How an affair of the heart survives
Days apart and hurried nights

Seems quite unbelievable to me
I don’t want to live like that
Seems quite unbelievable to me
I don’t want to love like that

I just want our time to be
Slower and gentler, wiser, free

2. “Circle of Life,” Carmen Twillie

Written by Elton John, Tim Rice

One of the recognized songs from one of the most famous animated movies, this 1994 track from The Lion King was performed by Carmen Twillie. It was written by Elton John and Tim Rice, who wrote the music and the lyrics, respectively. This song opens the film and as it’s sung, viewers are introduced to the animals and natural surroundings depicted in the famed Disney movie. “Circle of Life” was nominated for both an Oscar and a Grammy the year it was released. On the song, Twillie sings:

From the day we arrive on the planet
And, blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round

It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
‘Til we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life

3. “Supercool,” Kiki Dee

Written by Elton John, Bernie Taupin

British-born “blue-eyed soul” singer Kiki Dee (aka Pauline Matthews) was the first female singer from the U.K. to sign to Motown’s Tamla Records label. Her 1976 duet with Elton, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” hit No. 1, both on the UK singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100. But it’s Dee’s 1973 solo track, “Supercool,” written by John and Bernie Taupin, that is the subject here today. The song appeared on Dee’s album, Loving and Free, along with another John-Taupin offering, “Lonnie & Josie.” And on “Supercool,” the track opens with big, buzzing guitars. Dee offers energetic vocals, singing:

You came walking by where I was sitting pretty
Said, “Hey, babe, do you want to dance with me?”
And I noticed that you acted kind of funky
As if somehow you were trying to be

Supercool, no one’s fool, just a rolling stone
Acting out your party piece
In Valentino tones

4. “Radames’ Letter,” Adam Pascal

Written by Elton John, Tim Rice

Another from Elton John and Tim Rice’s 1999 concept album, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, this song is something of an apology combined with an admission of love. While just a minute-and-a-half long, the emotive song has Adam Pascal sing:

I’m sorry for everything I’ve said
And for anything I forgot to say, too
When things get so complicated
I stumble, at best, muddle through
I wish that our lives could be simple
I don’t want the world, only you

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

3 Rock Albums That Labels Thought Would Flop–and Why They Didn’t