As a kid, I grew up listening to Elton John. Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player just came out and Crocodile Rock was all over the radio and I taught myself to play the opening organ riff on our little house organ. Yeah, it sounded cheesy, but then again so was the organ that was used in the song. However, it was called music. Real music.
I can remember when I first heard Daniel on the radio, I had to learn the whole song. Of course I learned it on our ol’ cheesy house organ. When my mother would take me to Town and Country Square shopping maill, the first place I would go to was the keyboard store and play Daniel on the Lowry organs with the built-in rhythm machines. I can remember it almost like it was yesterday.
My sister actually introduced me to the album Honky Chateau. She would play it on stereo night and day. Honky Cat and Rocket Man became my turning point. I had to learn how to play all these songs. My problem was that all I had was that cheesy organ and these were piano songs. As well, I was becoming more fascinated with the guitar. I decided to learn some of those songs on the guitar. It wasn’t the same, so I had to let it go for a while and make room for music from Kiss, Rush (which is still one of my favourite bands), Led Zeppelin, and plenty of guitar heroes who have gained my respect as I grew up and grew old.
Full circle 40 years later, and I have been taking piano lessons for a while, from a set of lessons that I found on the Internet. Aside from fact that these lessons focus more on helping me just play the piano, they are showing me that I can indeed play the piano. As well, I also found a bunch of Elton John piano transcriptions and have finally got to a point in my lessons where I can start learning my favorite songs, like “Levon” and “The King Must Die”. The cool part about it was that I was actually playing those riffs and my ears loved what they heard.
Say what you want about him, but there’s no mistaking the fact that Elton John is a great musician, composer and arranger. Back in the seventies, his music was amazing and that’s how I prefer to remember him. Perhaps, his songs of today are far from what I would prefer to hear, but then again, I was always a child of the 70s, and to me, that was music all around.