Elton John, “Curtains”

A glorious song by Elton John from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975). This was a concept album about John and Bernie co-songwriter Taupin’s career together. If you are wondering, Bernie wrote the words, and Elton wrote the music.

The album ends with “We All Fall in Love Sometimes” and this song, the last song on the album, perfectly titled “Curtains” of course. These two songs were actually recorded together as a single song, but they were separated on the album.

The song appears to be about childhood, but it also denounces the early songs that Bernie and John wrote together in their early days or “childhood” – see references to early songs “Scarecrow”  (only available as a demo – the first EJ song they ever wrote together) and “A Dandelion Dies in the Wind” (never released and only available on demo) which were dashed off by Bernie and Elton while they worked as staff singer-songwriters for Dick James Music writing songs for various artists. So the album paradoxically closes referencing the first songs the duo wrote together. Drummer Nigel Olsson turns in one of the finest drum performances of his career.

The addition of “Philadelphia Freedom,” “One Day at a Time,” and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” on the later version of the album pretty much ruins the concept album idea.

Rolling Stone listed that song among its Top 500 albums of all time along with other John albums Honky Chateau, Tumbleweed Junction, Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Greatest Hits. This was his last best album with his classic band before they disbanded. After that, he went downhill pretty bad.

The traditional band was Davey Johnstone on guitar, Dee Murray on bass, Nigel Olsson on drums and Ray Cooper on percussion. It was produced by Gus Dungeon, who also produced various albums from John’s classic phase including Honky Chateau, Tumbleweed Junction, Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player, Caribou and Madman Across the Water. He also produced some junk like Blue Moves and Rock of the Westies.

4 Comments

Filed under Music, Rock

4 responses to “Elton John, “Curtains”

  1. GM

    Great song. Thank you Robert.

  2. Here’s a longer version of “Scarecrow”:

    Hey, would a COMMENT to BEYOND HIGHBROW, be BEYOND BEYOND HIGHBROW?

  3. “Tower of Babel” is pretty awesome, too.

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