|Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player
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One of the best entries from Elton John and Bernie Taupin's remarkably successful mid-'70s run, this album still holds up well over a quarter of a century after its release. Even casual fans will recognize "Daniel," "Elderberry Wine," and "Crocodile Rock," but "Teacher I Need You," "Have Mercy on the Criminal" and "I'm Going to Be a Teenage Idol" are equally good. Elton's backing band at the time (guitarist Davey Johnstone, bassist Dee Murray, and drummer Nigel Olsson) was easily his best, and producer Gus Dudgeon and orchestral arranger Paul Buckmaster bathed the tracks in a warm and enticing glow. The only complaint is that, due to its size, the CD reissue doesn't remotely do justice to the colorful packaging of the original album. --Dan Epstein
Japanese-only SHM-CD (Super High Material CD) paper sleeve pressing of this classic album from the British singer/songwriter and entertainer, originally released in 1973. SHM-CDs can be played on any audio player and delivers unbelievably high-quality sound. You won't believe it's the same CD! Includes four bonus tracks. Universal. 2008.
- I remember when rock was young...
Luis Mejia (son) - After the very well critisized Madman Across The Water and the stunningly produced Honky Chateau, Elton John goes through a pop basis and more difficult songs, leaving the stage of simple piano ballads.
This album is an excellent work by Elton, debut at 1973, the album marked a brilliant fame in USA, having some of his most catchy, simple, mellodic, classic and creative moods of all of Elton's albums. Not his best work, yet a fantastic album wich stablish his era of piano rock and catchy sounds with a simple and familiar style. Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player keeps a fresh and juvenile mood in every song, having graceful and imaginative compositions, also very humorous, still without loosing all of his piano ballad basis. The production is also fantastic but not as great as Honky Chateau.
This album keeps a structure that make every song fit perfectly with the other, making the whole album worth and all alike, like the simple, pop and mellodic tracks Daniel, which is the 2nd most famous track, and Blues For Baby And Me, the dramatic, thematic, suburban songs like Midnight Creeper and Have Mercy On The Criminal, the catchy, beautiful and joyful songs High Flying Bird, Elderberry Wine and Crocodile Rck (one of my personal favorites and the most famous song in this album), the humorous, refreshing tracks like I'm Gonna Be A Teenage Idol and Teacher I Need You, and the exagerated but consistent composition Texan Love Song.
As I said before, Elton's aspirations changed a lot in this album, applying a consistent mixture of popular music with a joyful rock and roll. His piano performance is seen much better in past albums, where he kept piano as the basis of his compositions, but its enjoyable as well. Bernie Taupin lyrics are much more creative and juvenile, leaving deep and melancholic lyrics and entering in this mood, which is certainly one of the aspects that make the 70's Elton's best era. The band performs with dedication and great rythm, leaving the album just as what it is, a bright and stylish album.
In conclussion this album keeps a lot of originality and the start of piano rock and familiar, popular sounds, very comprehensible, fresh and juvenile....more info
- don't shoot me, I want to hear this brilliant album
It's impossible to say Elton John had an underrated album. He was just too good at what he did back in the day to not have a consistently enjoyable career. A singer-songwriter that went WAY beyond what a normal human being can do.
The big hits like "Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock" don't hold a candle to the other songs, such as "Texas Love Song" and "High Flying Bird". In fact, every other song besides the big two are more enjoyable to me personally. That's not to say the hits are bad or anything- no way! I have a lot of memories connected to both "Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock" from my childhood and they immediately take me back to those days. So they are very important songs to me. Over time though, we realize the hits aren't the only worthwhile songs on an album, and this is a prime example of that. Pick it up today....more info
- My first and favorite!
This was the first Elton John album I bought and it remains to this day my favorite. Yes, I had a vinyl album, and for some reason never moved to the cassette or CD. After buying this CD and singing along once again, I realized that it did indeed stand the test of time. Elton's melodies and piano-playing and Bernie Taupin's lyrics stand out. I know that "Honky Chateau" is considered by many to be a finer effort, but I just like every song on "Don't Shoot Me". In fact, several of the songs that weren't released as singles seem to me stronger efforts....more info
- Great SHM-CD Sound!
Since most of us can sing this soundtrack of our youth word-for-word in its entirety, and since others here have detailed the songs with much more detail and authority than I can, I'll just stick to the SHM sound quality. (That's what many of you who are thinking of repurchasing the CD are probably wondering about anyway.)
I own a few of these CD's and am a big fan of them. The sound is crisp and clear, and there's a lot of air in the reproduction. It's true that they are pricey, but to me, it's worth the few extra dollars. I don't think you will be blown away by the technology, but if clean sound and subtle nuances are important to you, then I think you'll be satisfied with this CD. I certainly am....more info
- A Pretty Good Player
Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player expands on the pop sensibilities of Honky Chateau and contains some of the catchiest songs Elton John has ever recorded. "Daniel" is pure AM radio gold as is his first number one song "Crocodile Rock". You can't help but sing along with the La-La-La chorus. "Teacher I Need You" bounces along and Mr. John conveys all the feelings of a schoolboy crush. "Elderberry Wine" is another great song as is the tongue in cheek "I'm Gonna Be A Teenage Idol". The album was the second consecutive number one for Mr. John and continued his winning streak....more info
- Very good
This 1972/73 album captures Elton John at the beginning of his untouchable period as the biggest star on the planet, which he would hold onto for a couple of years. Strangely though its never been one of my all-time favourite Elton albums. Overall its a very good album but not great like Tumbleweed Connection, GYBR, Honky Chateau or Captain Fantastic.
The good songs are fabulous, Daniel, Have Mercy on the Criminal, Midnight Creeper and Elderberry Wine are all excellent. The last two in particular show the rocking side of Elton John, which is frequently forgotten because of his great ballad writing. However some of the others are less memorable and the main problem is that Daniel is the only classic Elton John song on the album. I don't count Crocodile Rock as this is just a pastiche and even Elton himself doesn't really like it.
Don't get me wrong if you're a fan it should be in your collection, but for the the casual purchaser, I'd buy the other albums listed above first and a decent compilation ahead of this one. ...more info
- Where To Start
If you are familiar with only the hits, but have a desire to invest in an actual album, this is definitely the route to go. Nearly eight years ago, this was the first E.J. album I picked up, and presently, I have them all. I originally wanted the album for "Crocodile Rock", and "Daniel", having no idea what I was about to discover, or how much music was about to change for me, forever. Aside from the hits, the first songs to really pull me in were "Teacher I Need You" and "Blues For Baby And Me". The latter, features "Madman Across The Water" type strings, and is a beautiful ballad, that paints the ideal picture of being able to take off with your girl(or guy), and leave all the bad behind.
"Have Mercy On The Criminal" was probably the next track to reel me in, a song that could fit so many situations, whether a person is stuck in a life they are not content with, or facing some type of heartache, or you actually are a "criminal", it fits anyone who feels trapped, and simply longs for one more chance, and an escape. Though Elton wouldn't truly "rock" until his next release, he certainly comes close with songs like "Elderberry Wine" and "Midnight Creeper". What's left to say? I've only touched on my favorites, but every song here is first rate, with the possible exception of "Texan Love Song", but even it slides by as a witty stab at country. As for the bonus tracks, I will admit, that I have some mixed feelings about adding extra tracks to a carefully crafted album, but the majority of these tracks are winners. "Screw You(Young Man's Blues)" is fun, and deserved to be on an album, along with the poignant, classic piano version of "Skyline Pigeon"....more info
- Elton sells out
I'm sorry, but this album is horrible. The drastic drop in quality from the brilliant, affecting "Honky Chateau" LP makes it clear, in retrospect, that this is where Elton made the tacky transition from "Artist" to "Entertainer". Sure, "Daniel" still sounds great; but "Have Mercy on the Criminal" is just horrid, and "Midnight Creeper" is quite possibly the most embarrassing Rolling Stones imitation of all-time. And the rest just reeks of early-70s tackiness -- all dressed up in baby blue polyester suits with nowhere to go.......more info
- Top 40 Elton
Just two years removed from Mad Man Across The Water, it might as well be 100 years, these albums are so different. Like Honky Chateau, Elton's goal appears to be to record just 4 minute pop songs. There are the monster singles, "Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock," the embarassing "Teacher I Need You," and the catchy "Elderberry Wine." What saves the album for me, though, is "High Flying Bird." It is one of Elton's most beautiful and haunting songs. It doesn't hurt that it was the favorite song of my best friend's sister, who I had a secret crush on for years. She died of cancer a few years ago, and to this day I can't hear "High Flying Bird" without thinking of her. A brilliant song. Thanks, Elton and Bernie....more info
- A highly important album!
'Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player' is clearly one of the most distinguished albums of my music collection.Not only because I am a piano player myself,but also because it's full of evidence that Elton John is both in a great musical shape and in a good mood.
I must confess I'm not a long-time Elton John fan.I've shared with him just one year and a half.I'm 18 years old,but I know what this wondrous John-Taupin collaboration is all about.This album is a classic one.Total brilliance.Their legacy is in here.
'David'is a well-known song.Full of sensitivity.Just listen to those few bars following the refrain.Simple words,beautiful music.That's all it takes to show that the guy cherishes deep and truthful feelings for the song's character,Daniel.War is the one being hurt here.
'Teacher I need you' is a lively,cheerful song that gets you into teenage world.Falling in love with your teacher...Never happened to me,but,God,it sounds so good!You can almost feel the kid's heartbeat when she's in sight!I love the backing vocals of the refrain and the way he pronounces the word'Teacher'.Cool lyrics,too!An awesome track!
'Eldererry Wine'is a powerful song.Elton sings the blues with real passion.Hey,the guy needs his wife and her wine back!I love this verse:'But I can't help thinkin'about the times/You were a wife of mine/You aimed to please me,cooked blacked-eyed peas-me/Made Elderberry Wine'.You feel drunk just listening to him!
'Blues For My Baby And Me'.Elton's sensitive again.A hauntingly beautiful song with an amazing refrain.Bernie's lyrics get the music they deserve.The song makes you wanna get on that bus and go west.Leaving everything behind you and never looking back.You get the sense of relief and hope:'And it's all over now/Don't you worry no more...'Of freedom:'Lord,it looks so sweet and so free...'You can see the guy holding her hand as they travel along a countryside highway.It's gonna be alright...Trust me...
'Midnight Creeper'is a strong track.Elton now rocks hard.I love the way he says 'honey' at the end of the line.Makes you believe that he WILL be present in your next nightmare.And...come on...that ain't bad at all!
'Have Mercy On The Criminal'is another powerful song.He's a criminal for God's sake!'Who's running from the law',actually.Good lyrics by Taupin.What seems tiring to me is that short musical phrase linking each line of the refrain.It's dominant in the song and reminds me of Eric Clapton's 'Layla'.I'm not implying anything,of course!
'I'm Going To Be A Teenage Idol'is one my favourite tracks.Listen to the strong and playful chords of his piano playing and the amazing backing vocals surrounding the refrain.'A motivated supersonic king of the scene...'the words reach the sky...Elton has already made a go of becoming a teenage idol,though!He is mine,after all!
'Texan Love Song'takes you to the American mainland.Rough,conservative,patriotic people,suspicious of change.You see their sweaty faces,carved by wrinkles and hardships.Nothing's carefree here.Don't let the music fool you...
'Crocodile Rock'is one of the most popular Elton John songs.A tribute to those carefree,golden days of rock and roll.When it was a new-born baby.Elton sings it in a childish and nostalgic way.He and Susie 'had so much fun'.A sweet recollection of an era.Anyway,it gets you back in the late 50's,unable to sit still!
'High Flying Bird'is my favourite song.Makes you raise your eyes to the sky,looking for some high flying bird.You feel as if you were by the sea underneath a blue sky full of sunlight.Your hands are empty.She's gone.She's flying up high.But you love her.She'll be better off this way.So,it's alright with you.A bird,flying each time she thinks she's going to be caught.Freedom gives her that haunting,enchanting beauty.She'll rest on somebody else's shoulder,but she'll fly again...
You must have this album.It's full of images,Bernie's trademark.It's full of harmony and melody,Elton's trademark.Don't listen to it.Experience it!...more info
- THE QUINTESSENTIAL ALBUM THAT MAKES ONE MISS THE 70'S
Released between the progressive Honky Chateau and the all-time classic double-LP, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, is the often overlooked and underrated Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player. This landmark release encapsules what would be Elton's very first Top 5 singles, including the #2 Daniel and what would be Reggie Dwight's first chart-topper, namely the unforgettable Crocodile Rock.
Besides being a disc that contained what were then Elton's biggest hits, it included some interesting tunes that received their share of airplay on FM radio, including Teacher, I Need You, Elderberry Wine, and High Flying Bird. These songs were intertwined with other tracks that would shed light on an Elton John who was carefree when necessary and yet was somber in the same respect.
I would not say that Don't Shoot Me... is Elton's very best, but if any particular work of art ever showcased an Elton John who seemed to let loose and enjoy life after having heavy burdens lifted, then that was it. Arguably, the energy emanated ideally reflects what many fondly remember about 1973. Not only was that when Don't Shoot Me... was released, but it was also a time when, for millions, several days, months, and years of perpetual worry and stress over domestic and international affairs, including wartime combat, were finally coming to a close.
Again, Don't Shoot Me.. is probably the release that perfectly highlighted Elton's lighthearted and serious sides, with the first part serving as a continuation of the humor nicely put forth in Honky Chateau and the second part, which would pave the way for pensive songs that would come to summarize the first phase of Elton's career and thus complete the first volume of his greatest hits, including Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me. ...more info
- Elton's Best
I've always regarded this as Elton's best and I also think it has aged better than Yellow Brick Road. On this album, Elton had just come into his full creative powers as a songwriter and the album is near perfect. Elton was not especially regarded as a great singer up to this album and at this point, he started regularly writing great songs that were perfect for his voice. The two hits-"Daniel" and "Crocadile Rock"-are a little overplayed but within the context of the strong album material, I continue to include them on my MP3 player and I like listening to the album as a whole. I would even venture to say that "Teacher, I need you", "Eldeberry Wine", "Midnight Creeper" and "Blues for Baby and me" are some of my favorite Elton John songs. ...more info
- Quintessential Elton
"Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player" has got to be one of Elton John's best early '70's albums, if not THE best. You will hear EJ at his rockin' best here in songs such as: "Teacher I Need You", "Elderberry Wine", "Midnight Creeper", "Crocodile Rock" and "I'm Gonna Be A Teenage Idol". Elton even does his darndest to sport a "Southern-Hombre" type accent beneath his British dialect in "Texan Love Song". "Don't Shoot Me" brings out its melancholic side in the songs "Daniel", "Have Mercy On The Criminal", "Blues For My Baby And Me" and "High Flying Bird". The bonus tracks featured here are a delight. There are nice rockers in "Screw You (Young Man's Blues)" and "Whenever You're Ready (We'll Go Steady Again)". There's a little country flavor in the short, but sweet "Jack Rabbit", and easy-listening flair featured in "Skyline Pigeon (Piano Version)". The compositions featured here are some of EJ's and Bernie Taupin's best musical and lyrical works. But don't just take my word for it. Buy your copy of "Don't Shoot Me" today!...more info
- A good album enhanced by strong bonus tracks
"Don't Shoot Me" was a good album to begin with, one of Elton's best pop efforts, but with the addition of four solid b-sides from his 1973 singles, this becomes a four and a half star collection. Usually b-sides are throwaways but all four collected here are worth owning. Three of the four are included on the "To Be Continued..." box set. All four are compiled on the odds-n-ends catchall "Rare Masters".
The best of the four b-sides is the remake of "Skyline Pigeon". This was originally the b-side of "Daniel". What a great a/b pairing that was - I went through two copies of the 45 specifically for that song and have just replaced the crackly warped second copy with Amazon's mp3 download. This ballad originally appeared on Elton's debut effort, "Empty Sky", but you'll find this version much more polished and, simply put, much better.
"Whenever You're Ready" and "Jack Rabbit" appeared together as the b-side to "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting", the rare single from Elton's powerhouse years that didn't blast into the top ten. And "Young Man's Blues", the b-side of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", is sometimes more recognized by its catchphrase, "Screw You". These were four of Elton's best b-sides ever. Later non-album b-sides such as "Cold Highway" and "Sick City" just didn't measure up to the expectations set by these tracks.
As for the album itself, it was supported by two great singles, "Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock". Another two tracks, the tedious "Have Mercy on the Criminal" and "Midnight Creeper", were the kind of filler that inspired you to lift the needle from the vinyl album and skip to the next track or flip the album. The other six songs were uniformly strong. Thirty years later most of them still sound pretty good, they've aged well. Oh, if I were downloading just the best tracks, "Texan Love Song" would be the kind of hateful little number I'd leave on the cutting room floor but that's a quibble.
If you've already got one of the many 'best of' collections and are just looking to pick up a couple of the best album cuts to complement "Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock", start with the ballad "High Flying Bird", follow up with the rocker "Elderberry Wine", and make sure you get the bonus track "Skyline Pigeon" in there somewhere as well. Any more than that and you might as well pay for the whole collection...and it'd be worth it.
- Classic Elton
This album includes a number of Elton's 45s that my mother and uncle listened to as kids. Good sound and quality. This is still early in Elton's career and it is interesting to see how much different he sounds in this album from more recent albums. Elton John fans should have this album....more info
- Elton John's BEST effort, bar none.
Ahhhh yes ... a taste of what was to come with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". In my opinion, THIS was EJ's absolute BEST work as a complete package. Yes,(although I'm sure many would disagree) dare I say, even BETTER than "Yellow Brick Road". This masterpiece is a MUST HAVE for any music fan, let alone any Elton fan....more info
- elton john's don't shoot me...
This is one of the great rock classic of ej, prior to goobye yellow brickroad. There are a number of good songs which never get much attention, including, high fying bird, elderberry wine, texan love song, & i'm gonna be teenage idol.
Of course there is daniel probably the most popular song in this album.
This album is a must for collectors of ej's songs.
- Classic Elton
This was the first Elton album that I bought back when it was on vinyl. Then i replaced it with a cd, then I replaced that with this newly remastered edition. So right there, it shows how much I like this album. Elton has a way of combining different styles in his albums. Take the bonus track of 'Jack Rabbit' for instance. You can't get much more country than that. Then there's his all-out rockers like 'Crocodile Rock' and lovely ballads like 'Daniel'. This album has it all. And the booklet has the lyrics and plenty of photos of Elton, Bernie and the band, as well as a 4 page essay. Recommended....more info
- great album
DANIEL,CROCODILE ROCK may have been the hits but DON'T SHOOT ME is much more TEACHER I NEED YOU,ELDERBERRY WINE,BLUES FOR BABY AND ME,these are all awesome tunes the final HIGH FLYING BIRD these a just an example of some of the great tunes ELTON and BERNIE would come to write....more info
- 'Have Mercy'
Not evrything from the 70's was bubble gummy. High energy and great lyrics. Some of his best...more info
- Japan's SHM-CD is the same sound quality as the 1996 Gus Dudgeon remaster
The Japan LP replica edition SHM-CD is no improvement in sound over the 1996 Gus Dudgeon remaster - in fact if you lay out the wav file on cool edit pro, you'll find they're exactly the same....more info
- This is such a good CD, my ten year old listens to it now
When a kid that listens to modern pop likes this CD in year 2007,something is VERY right! What's really cool, I once got in trouble at age ten for singing the lyrics to "Teacher I Need You" in school. The old mean lady teacher didn't get it,but I sure did, cuz I was singing about the music instructer...she was hot!
So's this album. Taupin writes lyrics that create perfect mental imagery, and then Elton and band create sonic art that is timeless. Since they have added the other tracks,and Amazon has such a great price on it,you'd have to be crazy not to buy this one.
- Forget The Singles & Check Out The Gems.
Following the popular appeal of HONKY CHATEAU, Elton scored big comericially and critically with this album. It yielded two huge hits: DANIEL and CROCODILE ROCK but this is an album where most of the the other tracks are of a much higher quality.
I remember buying the LP in the 70s and the one nagging problem I had was the playing order of Side 1. I always felt that MIDNIGHT CREEPER should have been the opening song and then follow with the four remaining songs so that Side 1 would close with the more effective BLUES FOR MY BABY AND ME. In fact it was one of the few Elton albums that seemed to start off in a mundane way and only got better towards the end. But that is a small gripe. Also make sure you have your reading glasses to read the minutely small lyrics!
The cd comes with four extra songs; three of high quality and one that is just a piece of fun! There are also some very helpful liner notes by John Tobler including how a converstaion EJ had with Groucho Marx helped create the album's title.
Tracks listed below with my personal rating of 1 to 5 stars.
1. DANIEL. ** (3.53)
Oh Boy, nothing like a controversial start! This is my least favourite song and it is a very dreary way to start off a terrific album. I am amazed that it was selected as a single and also amazed that it became so popular. Has a great story that is woefully undeveloped and ultimately goes nowhere. How people think that Daniel's "scars that won't heal" is about Vietnam is beyond me. There is a rumour that Bernie had a third verse but would not include it. So for me the song has no closure and seems very pointless. There I've said it!
2. TEACHER I NEED YOU **** (4.10)
Schoolkid-teacher infatuation. Rather light-hearted but at least the album is getting upbeat and it is quite an infectious bouncy song.
3. ELDERBERRY WINE **** (3.34)
Getting more hard edged and nothing wrong with that. Almost like a forerunner to SOCIAL DISEASE on the Yellow Brick Road album. I am not sure if his wife in the song has left him or if she died but it looked like they lived in a drunken stupor for most of their married life.
4. BLUES FOR MY BABY AND ME ***** (5.39)
A truly great song. It is actually one of my favourite Elton and Bernie compositions. A song about leaving it all behind and crossing the USA on a Greyhound bus with the girlfriend, no not to find America a la Simon and Garfunkel but to sart a new life together on the west coast. Features some very nice sitar accompaniment from Davey Johnstone and an understated orchestral arrangement from Paul Buckmaster.
5. MIDNIGHT CREEPER *** (3.52)
Not too bad. Another rocker but not too memorable. Like I said earlier, it might be more noticed if it opened the album. Following on from the previous track, it sounds rather slight.
6. HAVE MERCY ON THE CRIMINAL **** (5.58)
Over the top, bombastic and garish and the longest song on the album. The one song on the album that is a throwback to the MADMAN days. Heavy use of the orchestra again provided by Paul Buckmaster and the song tends to ram home its message more than is neccessary. But great lyrics and Elton turns in a powerful vocal performance.
7. I'M GONNA BE A TEENAGE IDOL ***** (3.54)
This song is so much fun with a wonderful brass arrangement. It may not be very deep but it puts a smile on my face when I listen to it as there were so many teen idols that came and went so fast in the 70s. I always wonder if Elton and Bernie wrote it about themselves, fearing their fame would die out soon.
8. TEXAN LOVE SONG ***** (3.34)
Another favourite. Very funny and hits the nail on the head emphasizing the cultural differences in the USA between the liberal city folk and the rural conservatives. Another rare song where acoustic guitar and mandolin by Davey are prominent and Elton on harmonium is more in the background.
9. CROCODILE ROCK **** (3.58)
Can't really add anything about this chestnut. It is fluff, pure pop and I do not mind it at all. As far away from MADMAN as they could get! BUt it is much better than the overwrought DANIEL any day.
10. HIGH FLYING BIRD ***** (4.12)
A lovely, tender song to fininsh the original album. Very tender although it contains the uncomfortable lyric: " But I could never shoot down my high flying bird". Nice backing harmonies from the band. I did notice however with this song that Nigel Olsson's drumming started to get very wayward and it continued through the next albums until Elton fired him after Captain Fantastic.
The following four songs are bonus cd tracks:
11. SCREW YOU (YOUNG MAN"S BLUES) **** *(4.43)
Original B-side to the single: GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD. Pure Vitriol but pretty good.. Just check out the lyrics on Google. However it is out of place on this fun, pop album and it would have been better to add it as a bonus track to the GYBR album which had more controversial songs. It was called Screw You in the U.K. but that title was too dangerous for the USA so somehow the ridiculous title of Young Man's Blues was created.
12. JACK RABBIT *** (1.50)
Sounds like it was a ditty conjured up in the studio but it is harmless fun and it sucseeds mainly thanks to the musicianship of Davey .
13. WHENEVER YOU'RE READY (WE'LL GO STEADY AGAIN) **** (2.51)
Big title for a rather short song. This was left off the GYBR album but it is a fast paced rocker and could easily have benn released as a single. Sounds a little like Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting and maybe that is why it was left off the album.
14. SKYLINE PIGEON (Piano Version)**** (3.53)
A remake of a song from the Empty Sky album and a much better version. The original was mainly harpsichord and a tinny vocal by Elton. Here it is more lush, maybe a little schmaltzy but Elton's voice is deeper and the band is better. Simple lyrics but as with most of Bernie's lyrics, I am sure there is a deeper meaning.
- Pure Pop!
Don't Shoot Me...I'm Only The Piano Player is the album that finally captured all of Elton's pop sensibilities and fused them together in a way no other album had done previously. The album before it, Honky Chateau, hinted at his pop leanings, but stayed in the middle ground of FM rock. He had been the darling of music critics until this release. Now a full fledge pop star, Elton broke out of the serious songwriter mode and found a new voice. And what a voice! This is simply a fun album that is full of many styles: 50's rock, country, ballads, R&B. Amazingly, this album had the exact same band as Honky Chateau but the feeling here is a lot more expressive.
The big hits of course are Daniel and Crocodile Rock. Much has been written about them so I'll leave 'em alone. But you'll discover great "lost gems" in the punchy Elderberry Wine and funky Midnight Creeper. The 50's flashback are evident in the aforementioned Crocodile Rock, but Teacher I Need You swings with the best of them as well. And I'm Gonnna Be A Teenage Idol has many interesting parts with a chorus that's simply too catchy for words.
But there are few high drama moments as well with two beautiful ballads in High Flying Bird and Blues For Baby And Me. While Have Mercy On The Criminal is a tightly arranged powerhouse that still catered to the FM audience at the time. Lastly, Texan Love Song is at last a Taupin lyric that doesn't romanticize the South, instead, acknowledging old world values and opinions. It's the only song that doesn't really fit in with the rest of the album.
Elton and Bernie were starting on their incredible roll here and you can see how this was easily a hint of what was to come with the next album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
You won't be disappointed with this one from Elton and Bernie. It's has stood the test of time well, as much as their other classic albums have as well.
Best Tracks: Daniel, Crocodile Rock, Elderberry Wine, High Flying Bird....more info
- The First Rocky Album He Did!
After such mellow albums as he's done before, with "Honky Chateau" being his most recent before this one, you begin to think Elton is mainly in the musical genre, which he probably was. But, then he artistically morphs into a VERY rocky album. The first song would probably give you the mellow feeling, "Daniel". This song is beautiful, about a guy who sees his brother Daniel get on an airplane to leave for the Vietnam War.... The second song is "Teacher I Need You", which Elton likened to Bobby Vee, and he pulls it off to the point where the song sounds playful. The next song is one of my favorites from the album "Elderberry Wine", where Elton gives you that rock vibe I was talking about. It has a nice display of the horn section and Elton's piano all give it an irresistible vibe. The next song is "Blues For Me and My Baby", also mellow, but a good tune. Then you have two of the best songs on the album: "Have Mercy On the Criminal", which sounds like a James Bond tune... it displays Elton's TRUE vocal talent, and it is unforgettable. Then "Midnight Creeper" which seems like an old-school rock song that absolutely rocks. That is the best point of the album, and they are the best highlights, but songs like "Texas Love Song", "High Flying Bird", and "Crocodile Rock" (His first 1 single) make it an unforgettable album, and one that all Elton fans must have. The bonus tracks are even decent, too... the best there is one of my favorites by Elton "Skyline Pigeon" in the piano version, which is better than the harpischord version on "Empty Sky"... it is absolutely beautiful.
All Elton fans should have this one, no questions asked, and so should those looking to be Elton fans....more info
- "Never knew me a better time/and I guess I never will"
This is probably my favorite EJ album, possibly tying Madman Across the Water. There are bits of it I can't really enjoy: two bathetic melodramas (Have Mercy On the Criminal; I'm about to Become a Teenage Idol) almost singlehandedly ruin the album, and while the first half of Blues for My Baby and Me is very entertaining, the sitars just screw the song.
Thankfully, most the rest of this album is top-notched, with a strong sense of humor - take Teacher I Need You, very funny song, and one of the best here. Even Bernie Taupin's nasty misogynist/raging redneck stuff (Elderberry Wine, Texan Love Song) is completely tongue-in-cheek, and should be taken with a grain of salt. And they also make light of (wait for it) a song about a serial killer. No, I'm serious. Midnight Creeper is a funky, horn-driven stomp about a mass murderer. A lot like the Stones' Midnight Rambler, which is why it comes under some criticism, but I could care less.
There were two huge hits from this album, and both of them rank among the best Elton has ever done. Crocodile Rock has got to be my favorite song on this album. A rather annoying friend of a friend of mine (which translates to "an immature perv who I prefer to act like I don't know") once dissed the song, following it up with a crack at Elton's own sexuality. He and I have not spoken since. (which may have more to do with the fact that he's a moron than that we have different musical tastes, I don't know, but this is a stupid aside that shall end... now). The point is, Crocodile Rock is a great feel-good song, and if you're having a bad day, how can you resist smiling to the insane falsetto chorus (that I always thought was a kazoo or synthesizer until another friend of mine, who is NOT a moron, was kind enough to sing it for me because I kept telling her to sing and she kept refusing until Crocodile Rock came on the radio - damn! All these asides! Okay, I swear that was the last one). Oh, and it's catchy as all hell. and it's a lot of fun, and you can dance to it. My favorite EJ song of ALL TIME. A classic!!!!!!!!!
The other big hit was Daniel, and again I love that one. Not as good as Crocodile Rock, but still a pop song par excellence, as most of Elton's work tends to be. The melody is GREAT, and the mellotron is too. Very touching song. Love it!
So yeah, get rid of either of the stupid orchestral melodramas and this is a five-star record. Piano Player gets snubbed a bit by critics in favor of the self-titled, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Honky Chateau and several others from the era, which is a shame, because it's a great pop album with a sense of humor. And the title's funny. Oh, I almost forgot the uplifting, melodic High Flying Bird - still another strong point....more info
- More hits, but far from essential
Elton apparently got the name for this album after being subjected to a night of ribbing by famed jokesmith and Vaudevillian Groucho Marx. At his breaking point, Elton is supposed to have remarked, "Don't shoot me..." etc. etc.
If the album's title has comic roots, the nature of the songs preserve that comic, tongue-in-cheek feeling. Songs like "Texan Love Song" about some rednecks looking to kick some hippies out of town, or "Teacher I Need You" about a boy's crush on his teacher, smack of flippancy and comedy. Certainly Taupin's lyrics are a far cry from the more serious, self-involved lyrics on previous efforts, like "Madman" or "Tumbleweed".
Elton's songs here are purely pop-oriented. Thus, while this translated into massive sales back in the day (1972), the album is invested with a dated feel that does not stand up well with the passage of time. To his credit, the piano work on "Teacher" and the horns on "Elderberry Wine" make the songs catchy and infectuous. But one can tire of them easily. "High Flying Bird" is a bit too sappy, and "I Wanna Be Your Teenage Idol" is far too silly, despite Elton's impressive piano jamming.
Altogether "Daniel" and "Blues For Baby and Me" are two sentimental songs which hold up well. Buckmaster's orchestral arrangements on "Have Mercy on the Criminal" are equally compelling (perhaps the only truly serious lyrics on the album). The well-known "Crocodile Rock" suffers in that it is both campy and over-played, but as much as I hate to admit, many fans love it and continue to request it. To date, Elton has played it at every concert I've been to, but on a lighter note, this has always made for a short beer line at the concession stands.
The remastered version has some forgettable B-Sides like the country twang of "Jack Rabbit" and the rather pointless "Screw You".
This is Elton at his most poppish. Because this album was the result of Elton following a recipe or formula for commercial success, it lacks creativity and cannot be considered one of his essential recordings. ...more info
- A landmark album for Elton
Some people may now remember this album as the one before Goodbye yellow brick road, but this was an important album that remains one of Elton's best. Four bonus tracks have been added to this re-issue but (unlike some of Elton's other re-issues) none of the bonus tracks were A-side singles. In fact, they were all originally released as B-sides, one of them being a re-recording of Skyline pigeon, originally released on Empty sky. The re-recording features Elton playing piano instead of harpsichord.
As originally released, the main album became the first Elton John album to top the British album charts. It was also the first album to spawn two British top five singles hits. In America, this was Elton's second chart-topping album. The two singles both made the top three there, with Crocodile rock (a look back at the rock'n'roll era) giving Elton his first American number one single hit. The other single, Daniel, was originally written about a Vietnam war veteran but, like many great songs, it can be interpreted to mean a lot of different things.
There are many other excellent songs on this album including Texan love song, which the writer of the liner notes suggests may be some kind of tribute to country singer Merle Haggard (never mind that the Hag is Californian). That's possible - Elton once recorded a duet with Tammy Wynette and later covered Stand by your man, for in her memorial album, so he has shown some interest in country music - but I'm not sure if it's true.
Other excellent songs include Blues for my baby and me, Midnight creeper (with its references to Tina Turner), I'm going to be a teenage idol and High flying bird. This has always been one of my favorite Elton John albums and remains so....more info
- Never Too Much!
Love Elton John's music! When I saw these CDs on Amazon, I just had to have them. Now the PIano Player plays for me every day....more info
- Elton John - Continues His Commercial Rise
After "Honky Chateau" became Elton's first album to top the charts, he continued on with this next release in a still more commercial direction. This album gets mixed reviews from John fans. Fans of John's older material cried sell out, as Elton continued to gain more and more commercial success, while this and the previous album gained Elton a whole new following of fans at the same time. For me "Piano Player" is a solid album and although not Elton's best, it is mostly quite good. Of the two hit singles I like "Daniel" a lot better than "Crocodile Rock" which never really clicked with me. Of the album tracks there are several good to great ones including "Teacher I Need You" (which pre-dated Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" by about a decade), the funky pop rock of "Elderberry Wine", "Blues For My Baby And Me", the epic "Have Mercy On The Criminal" which is my favorite song on the disc, and the album closer "High Flying Bird". Elton was on a commercial role at this time and "Don't Shoot Me" remains one of his classics....more info
- And root toot shoot myself to fame
Elton John jettisoned his past for good the instant "Crocodile Rock" hit the airwaves. With its nod to nostalgia and the la-la-la-la-la falsettoed chorus, the introspection fans of "Your Song" or "Tiny Dancer" had become accustomed to was replaced by flamboyance and high camp. And suddenly, Elton John became a superstar. "Crocodile Rock" went to number one and "Don't Shoot Me..." soon followed to the top of the album charts.
All of this was well deserved. Elton's evolution from the ballad heavy "Elton John" to here had seen continual fine-tuning of his chops and his personality, until the pensive, bearded bard on "Honky Chateau" became the pink suited, wild glasses man wearing platform shoes on the "Don't Shoot Me..." inner sleeve. He'd also expanded his musical vocabulary to the electric blues of "Midnight Creeper" and the goofy pop of "Crocodile Rock" and "Teacher I Need You." (You can bet a young Ben Folds probably had this album in his collection.)
That isn't meant to say that Elton and Bernie Taupin had forsaken their past. The dramatic "Have Mercy On The Criminal" and the lovely "Daniel" both adhere to the formula of Elton's earlier work. Elton's fascination with the American South takes a satiric turn on "Texan Love Song." The combination of styles on "Don't Shoot Me..." hinted at the extravagance to come on "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." But even with that masterpiece to come, "Don't Shoot Me..." remains the watershed moment of Elton's early career where his aspirations to stardom caught up with the material he and Taupin were writing...and to listeners around the world....more info
- Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Reviewer !!
Elton John's 1972 classic "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player" became a smash hit on the strength of it's two top ten hits "Daniel" (peaking at number 2 on Billboard charts), and "Crocodile Rock" (John's first number 1 hit in America). These singles helped "Don't Shoot Me..." reach the top of Billboard charts in February 1973, and kept the album in the top 40 for nearly 8 months. These two instantly recognizable tunes aside, the album as a whole is a little uneven.
With the track "Blues For My Baby And Me", John forcefully attempts to come up with a hook. As a result its lengthy and wordy chorus quickly becomes tiring with its numerous repetitions. "Have Mercy On The Criminal" sounds like an out-take from "Tumbleweed Connection" without the melodic brilliance that made that album such a favorite among critics and fans. "Midnight Creeper", and "Elderberry Wine" are obvious fillers; and "Texan Love Song" is certainly not one of John's greatest country-flavored ballads.
The album does contain, however, some of John's greatest hidden treasures. Tracks like "Teacher I Need You", and "High Flying Bird" are brilliant forgotten gems with the impressive melodic sensibilities that John was popular for. Overall, the album is not as immediately accessible as "Elton John" is , or "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", but time does reveal its strength lies with individual tracks, and not with the project as a whole. One may have thought that the John/Taupin partner-ship was finally running out of "steam" after the release of this record (which was their 6th studio album); the incredible double LP "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", which followed "Don't Shoot Me..." within months, proved otherwise.
The 1995 reissue of the album contains the b-sides to the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", and "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" singles as bonus tracks. It also includes a piano version of "Skyline Pigeon", which was originally played with a harpsichord on John's "Empty Sky" recording. This version, which was recorded during the sessions of "Don't Shoot Me...", is a priceless interpretation of one of John's most beautiful masterpieces....more info