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April 20, 2001

Doggerel Through The Ages

Ages ago, I was singing Candle In The Wind whilst Jean attended to her morning toilet. Jean, not being one to let well enough alone, spoke the exact words to completely deflate the grandeur of the tune:

"That song doesn't make any sense at all. It's like MacArthur Park," which if you've never heard it, can be confusing, though I always understood the gist of it.

I immediately launched into my rendition of MacArthur Park, preferring to imitate the lesser-known but surely more annoying Anthony Newley performance to that of the more famous Richard Harris version. "Someone left a cake out in the rain / And I don't think that I can take it / 'cause it took so long to bake it / and I'll never have that recipe AGAIN!!!!"

But that was then, this is now. Just this Tuesday, I was tooling up 65th, an old farm lane, on my way to pick up Kelly from Bridgeport Elementary School (I ferry her to Kid Connection on Tuesdays, while Jean has class). I had the radio on, tuned to pop music, when on comes a two-fer of Elton John tunes, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Take Me To The Pilot.

I was in high school when these things were first out, and so they are etched into my hindbrain, beyond reproach. But still, there is that element of wild non-sequitur there. It's poetry, folks, so it doesn't have to make sense. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road actually tells a story, but still has it's gems, just follow the link. But Take Me To The Pilot, now there is one helluva fine brain sprainer:

If you feel that it's real I'm on trial

And I'm here in your prison

Like a coin in your mint

I am dented and I'm spent with high treason

Now them's good lyrics. And sure enough, as I recall from way back when, all three of these songs were written by lyricist Bernie Taupin, who I think was Elton's boyfriend at the time too. Sampling other tunes I remember with that same painfully out-of-phase word logic, such as Tiny Dancer, I find, yes, The Taupster. He's consistent in his inconsistency. So there you go, Jean, blame Bernie.

Posted by dpwakefield at April 20, 2001 10:44 PM