- The Washington Times - Friday, March 30, 2012

Elton John, who was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, celebrated his 65th birthday Sunday. The List this week looks at Mr. John’s top 15 songs.

  • 15. Blue Eyes (1982) — Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics for the majority of Mr. John’s songs, but Gary Osborne wrote the lyrics for this charming love song. (Charts position: U.S. 12, U.K. 8)
    “Blue eyes, Baby’s got blue eyes”
  • 14. Someone Saved My Life Tonight (1975) — The song is about Long John Baldry discouraging Mr. John from marrying his fiancee, Linda Woodrow, heiress to the Epicure Pickle company. At 6:45 minutes, it was one of Mr. John’s longest singles. (U.S. 4, U.K. 22)
    “And someone saved my life tonight sugar bear”
  • 13. Can You Feel the Love Tonight (1994) — This song is from Disney’s 1994 animated film, “The Lion King,” composed by Mr. John with lyrics by Tim Rice. It earned Mr. John the Grammy Award for best male pop vocal performance. (U.S. 4, U.K. 14)
    “There’s a calm surrender to the rush of day”
  • 12. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me (1974) — Beach Boys’ Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston helped on the backing vocals. A live duet of the song with Mr. John and George Michael became a No. 1 hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 1991/1992. (U.S. 2, U.K. 16)
    “I can’t light no more of your darkness”
  • 11. Sad Songs (Say So Much) (1984) — The is a song from Mr. John’s “Breaking Hearts” album. Mr. John performed the song at Madison Square Garden with Canadian rock star Bryan Adams. (U.S. 5, U.K. 7)
    “When all hope is gone, Sad songs say so much”
  • 10. I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues (1983) — The song features Stevie Wonder on harmonica and is one of Mr. John’s most-played songs on the radio. It is also well known for being played at Chelsea F.C.’s home matches. (U.S. 4, U.K. 5)
    “Live for each second without hesitation”
  • 9. Sacrifice (1990) — This moving ballad was Mr. John’s second No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom. It won best song and best-selling A-side at the Ivor Novello Awards in the U.K. in 1991. (U.S. 18, U.K. 1)
    “It’s two hearts living, In two separate worlds”
  • 8. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (1976) — This duet with Kiki Dee was Mr. John’s first No. 1 hit in the U.K. and sixth No. 1 in the U.S. He would not produce a solo British chart-topper until “Sacrifice” in 1990. Miss Dee recorded another duet with Mr. John, “True Love,” which reached No. 2 in the U.K. (U.S. 1, U.K. 1)
    “Honey when you knocked on my door, I gave you my key”
  • 7. Candle in the Wind (1997) — The song, produced by George Martin, was originally written about Marilyn Monroe and reached No. 6 in the U.S. in 1987. This version, with new lyrics, honored Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 8, 1997, at the age of 36. (U.S. 1, U.K. 1)
    “Goodbye England’s rose, may you ever grow in our hearts”
  • 6. Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be a Long, Long Time) (1972) — The song was produced by Gus Dudgeon, who also produced David Bowie’s 1969 song “Space Oddity.” Mr. John performed “Rocket Man” at the launch site of Space Shuttle Discovery in 1998. (U.S. 2, U.K. 6)
    “She packed my bags last night pre-flight, Zero hour 9 a.m.”
  • 5. Nikita (1985) — One of the few good things from the Cold War was this song and the delightful MTV video that went with it starring Anya Major as a Soviet border guard. Mr. Michael performed the backing vocals. (U.S. 7, U.K. 3)
    “Counting 10 tin soldiers in a row, Oh no, Nikita you’ll never know”
  • 4. Your Song (1970) Mr. John’s first hit. The song has been placed at No. 137 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” (U.S. 8, U.K. 7)
    “It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside”
  • 3. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) — In 2008, Ben & Jerry Ice Cream created the flavor Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road to honor Mr. John’s first performance in Vermont. (U.S. 2, U.K. 6)
    “When are you gonna come down, When are you going to land”
  • 2. Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny) (1982) — This haunting ballad is dedicated to the memory of the late Beatle John Lennon. The “Garden” in the song is Madison Square Garden, where Lennon performed a duet with Mr. John in 1974. (U.S. 13, U.K. 51)
    “And I’ve been knocking but no one answers”
  • 1. Daniel (1973) — The song is about a fictional soldier who is blinded, returning from the Vietnam War to his small town in Texas. (U.S. 2, U.K. 4)
    “Your eyes have died, but you see more than I.”

Sources: Allmusic.com, Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits