With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Play It Again Mayhem – “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” – Elton John May 23, 2020


This is the second of an occasional series of songs that I don’t believe ever got the airplay they deserved, the previous and first was for “Everybody Was Rockin'” by the late great Betty Wright. Click here to check that one out. I suspect that when I have completed a few in this series there will be an accompanying playlist!

My favourite Elton John album is ‘Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy’ and it has been ever since it was released in 1975. “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” is not only my favourite song on the album it was the only single to come from it. The record performed well in the US chart, reaching number 4, (and number 2 in Canada), but in the UK chart, it only made a lowly 22. The song, and indeed the album, is autobiographical and covers Elton and Bernie Taupin’s early life together as struggling songwriters. “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” describes Elton’s failed suicide attempt on the eve of a potential and probably disastrous marriage in 1968. He had tried to gas himself, but when Bernie Taupin found him the window was also open. Which meant it was an inept attempt at suicide or maybe just a classic “cry for help”. The “someone” and the phrase “sugar bear” in the song are believed to refer to Elton’s 60s friend Long John Baldry who spent a lot of time and effort trying to steer the then Reg Dwight away from that marriage. For me, it ranks as one of the best lyrics Mr Taupin ever wrote (lyrics are copied below). Maybe the song was too long for a UK single at 15 seconds shy of seven minutes. But Elton, given the deeply personal nature of the tune, refused to edit it for single release. It was also the last single, for 8 years, to feature the classic Elton John Band line up of Dee Murray (bass), Davey Johnstone (guitar), and Nigel Olsson (drums). The song has been covered by Mumford and Sons, sampled by Kanye West and referenced a few times in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.

I have added a bonus live version of the song from Central Park, NYC in 1980. If the woman who made it onto the stage at around 6 and a half minutes in is still around I would love to chat with her for another post. Is it you? Is it your Mom? Do you know her? Please let me know!

“Someone Saved My Life Tonight” – Elton John (music Elton John, lyrics Bernie Taupin)

When I think of those East End lights
Muggy nights
The curtains drawn in the little room downstairs
Prima donna Lord you really should have been there
Sitting like a princess perched in her electric chair
And it’s one more beer
And I don’t hear you anymore
We’ve all gone crazy lately
My friends out there rolling round the basement floor
And someone saved my life tonight sugar bear
You almost had your hooks in me didn’t you dear
You nearly had me roped and tied
Altar-bound, hypnotized
Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away bye bye
I never realized the passing hours
Of evening showers
A slip noose hanging in my darkest dreams
I’m strangled by your haunted social scene
Just a pawn out-played by a dominating queen
It’s four o’clock in the morning
Damn it listen to me good
I’m sleeping with myself tonight
Saved in time, thank God my music’s still alive
And someone saved my life tonight sugar bear
You almost had your hooks in me didn’t you dear
You nearly had me roped and tied
Altar-bound, hypnotized
Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away bye bye
And I would have walked head-on into the deep end the river
Clinging to your stocks and bonds
Paying your H.P. demands forever
They’re coming in the morning with a truck to take me home
Someone saved my life tonight, someone saved my life tonight
Someone saved my life tonight, someone saved my life tonight
Someone saved my life tonight
So save your strength and run the field you play alone
And someone saved my life tonight sugar bear
You almost had your hooks in me didn’t you dear
You nearly had me roped and tied
Altar-bound, hypnotized
Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away bye bye

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“Through the coldest winter in almost fourteen years” January 11, 2010


Hello once again dear readers, I’m back with another brief post and one which celebrates yet another birthday. Today is January 10th and it is the day that Roderick David Stewart becomes a pensioner, the old fella is 65 today.

Clearly Rod had forgotten to bring his winter clothes on his latest trip to England

My Dad was a bit of a Rod Stewart fan, especially at News Years Eve owing to Rod’s Scottish roots. In fact my Dad insisted that Rod was indeed Scottish and I argued that one with him for years. Actually Rod was born in London although his Dad was a Scot. We also had Rod’s version of “Sailing” played at my Dad’s funeral back in 2001.

OK own up who has hidden my bus pass and pension book?

Rod has always been a keen footballer and played at Centre Half for Middlesex School Boys in the 50s. He also famously spent a short time with Brentford FC. He was once quoted as saying that the only two things he could do were to play football and sing. Along with dating and/ or marrying a string of leggy blonde beauties presumably.

Rod those shades are fooling no one, we know exactly what you're looking at!

During the 60s he played in a number of bands whose personnel included; Ray Davies (later of the Kinks), Long John Baldry, Mick Fleetwood and Peter Green (the latter two went on to form Fleetwood Mac) among others. He began to really make a name for himself when he became lead vocalist with the Jeff Beck Group. It was in Jeff’s group that he first met Ronnie Wood. They both left the Jeff Beck Group in 1969 and went on to join Ian MacLagan, Ronnie Lane and Kenny Jones, the three remaining members of the Small Faces to form the Faces. The rest, as they say, is history.

No Rod I don't think you're sexy and I certainly don't want to get either jiggy or ziggy with you!

So let me finish this brief post to wish Rod a very happy birthday and let’s listen to a few of his greatest moments (in my opinion anyway, so that means definitely no room for “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” or “Baby Jane”)

The Killing Of Georgie” – Rod Stewart (a live version from 1977). In the original video for this song Rod wore quite a bit of eye shadow and seemed to come across as quite camp. Apparently his Dad made it very clear he didn’t like that look!

Downtown Train” – Rod Stewart. For me Rod is a great songwriter and a great vocalist, but he is also a great interpreter of other peoples songs. This is his excellent version of the great Tom Waits song

You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything” – Rod Stewart and the Faces. This was the final Faces single and remains my favourite. It signalled the end of a great band way back in 1974 when even I was young. Incidentally the full title for the single is “You Can make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything (Even Take the Dog For a Walk, Mend a Fuse, Fold Away the Ironing Board, or Any Other Domestic Shortcomings)”

You Wear It Well” – Rod Stewart – Definitely my favourite of all of Rod’s UK number one singles

Mandolin Wind” – Rod Stewart – A song that always helps me get mellow

 

 
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