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captain and the kid

oh, I know you, and you know me; it's always half and half

Posted on 2005.26.11 at 14:04
How I feel about it all: pensivewistful
Soundtrack: Elton John - Writing
From here:

Bernie Taupin at The Learning Annex, New York, November 22

Aspiring songwriters had a real treat last night; a privileged look into the experiences of one of the greats. The One Who Writes The Words For Elton John, the title of the 1976 lyric anthology, does not do justice to the legendary talent that is Bernie Taupin. As those of us who were lucky enough to attend The Learning Annex’s How To Write a Number One Pop Song in New York yesterday were able to find out, Bernie is not only a phenomenally talented lyricist, but is also a painter, cowboy - and he is very witty!

About 150 people attended the workshop in the Roosevelt Hotel yesterday evening: a mixed audience of songwriters, teachers and many appreciative Elton fans.

Beginning the event with a brief talk, Bernie explained how growing up in a small town in England, he found his solace and inspiration in poetry. "They were my comic books", he said, as he described how the narrative poetry he read shaped his ideas. With radio at the time being hard to access, the music he was hearing at first was not nearly as inspiring as a poet such as Tennyson. However, Bernie described the moment when on hearing the work of such artists as Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie, “I suddenly realised they were story tellers”. From then on an affiliation with words as songs developed, and his vast catalogue is now a tribute to just how well Bernie can tell stories.

For the remainder of the evening Bernie answered questions from audience members. He was visibly touched by the many fans of both his and Elton’s work who told him how much their music meant to them. People asked a wide range of questions from the technicalities of song writing to what the inspiration was for certain songs. A great deal of information was available to aspiring writers with Bernie saying he felt the ability to write songs must be partly inherent in people, and he felt that was the case with him. He stressed the risk factor in song writing, and how taking a chance is important.

In terms of writing Bernie explained that his inspiration can come from anywhere and how he liked to tell stories while throwing a few curve balls in to make the story and song more interesting. He said that songs should be a progression, and that writers should always aim for their highest standard. “If you are not maintaining your standard in song writing something is wrong. Songs’, he said, 'are all 'moments in time' and thus once complete, writers should not try to go over a song at a later date.”

Even on the business side he was able to offer some advice, such as trying in Nashville because the country music scene is a great breaking ground. On getting a first contract Bernie warned not to sign your life away and read the small print.

Bernie seemed a really warm and charismatic man and he had the whole audience laughing when he said of My Elusive Drug [a song on Peachtree Road, the new Elton John album], “I didn't write that about David” - going on to say in fact that he recently said the same thing to David himself! Another big laugh came when he described how he formulated the first verse of Rocket Man while driving to his parents, and without anything to write it down with, so he had to repeat the words over and over again to himself until an hour or so later when finally arriving at his destination he ran into the house and quickly scribbled down the lyrics.

Elton fans in the audience were lucky enough to get Bernie's perspective on many songs, such as The Weight of the World which while written with Elton in mind, also makes reference to Bernie as he is the one that “hates flies in the kitchen buzzing”. Fans were delighted to hear Bernie talk with much enthusiasm about Lestat, [the new musical he has co-written with Elton] - and he also told the excited audience that he has now finished compiling The Captain and the Kid [The sequel to Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy].

Both songwriter and fans agreed that the evening was a huge success. 30 years ago a young cowboy questioned “Will the things we wrote today, sound as good tomorrow?” Thirty years later the answer is unquestionably - yes'

Why, oh why didn't I hear about this? Because I WOULD have been there, work or not. Oh, Bernie, Bernie, we are destined never to meet. *heavy sigh*

And OMG!!!! A sequel to the Best Album Ever Written? Oh, this could be good. This could be very, very good. *cheers*


my life's so common it disappears
songdog at 2005-11-26 22:04 (UTC) ()
We should plan a party on the day of the debut...cocktail hour with Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, and then...The Captain and the Kid, with much fanfare.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-11-27 02:26 (UTC) ()

i could hound you if i need to, sip your brandy from a crystal shoe, in the corner

Yes, yes! And of course, to get in the door, you gotta get a meal ticket.
deafscribe at 2005-11-27 02:38 (UTC) ()

Re: i could hound you if i need to, sip your brandy from a crystal shoe, in the corner

We're lucky that they get to do this, and we get to enjoy it, before they're both between the furrows of a field no longer sown by anyone.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-11-27 03:44 (UTC) ()

Re: i could hound you if i need to, sip your brandy from a crystal shoe, in the corner

But just like others, they must have had a once upon a time.
my life's so common it disappears
songdog at 2005-11-28 02:07 (UTC) ()

Re: i could hound you if i need to, sip your brandy from a crystal shoe, in the corner

Of course!
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