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Music / Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

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You're gonna hear electric music, solid walls of sound.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is the seventh studio album by Elton John, released in 1973. It's best known for hits such as "Candle in the Wind", "Bennie and the Jets", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting".

A documentary about the creative process behind the making of the album was featured in the TV series Classic Albums. Time Magazine included the album in their 2006 list of 100 timeless and essential albums. The record was listed at #91 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time



Side One

  1. "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" (11:09)
  2. "Candle in the Wind" (3:50)
  3. "Bennie and the Jets" (5:23)

Side Two

  1. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (3:13)
  2. "This Song Has No Title" (2:23)
  3. "Grey Seal" (4:00)
  4. "Jamaica Jerk-Off" (3:39)
  5. "I've Seen That Movie Too" (5:59)

Side Three

  1. "Sweet Painted Lady" (3:54)
  2. "The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909–1934)" (4:23)
  3. "Dirty Little Girl" (5:00)
  4. "All the Girls Love Alice" (5:09)

Side Four

  1. "Your Sister Can't Twist (but She Can Rock 'n' Roll)" (2:42)
  2. "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" (4:57)
  3. "Roy Rogers" (4:07)
  4. "Social Disease" (3:42)
  5. "Harmony" (2:46)


Bennie and the Tropes:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Social Disease"
    My bulldog is barking in the backyard
  • The Alcoholic:
    • "Social Disease"
      For I just get ugly and older
      I get juiced on Mateus and just hang loose
      And I get bombed for breakfast in the morning
      I get bombed for dinner time and tea
    • "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting".
      I'm a juvenile product of the working class
      Whose best friend floats in the bottom of a glass
  • Alliterative Name: "Roy Rogers".
  • Alliterative Title: "Jamaica Jerk-Off", "All the Girls Love Alice".
  • Ballad of X: "The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-1934)"
  • B-Movie: "I've Seen That Movie Too"
    I'm not the blue print for all of your B films
  • Break Up Song: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" is about a country boy breaking up with his rich girlfriend/sugar mama.
  • Bury Your Gays: "All the Girls Love Alice," the ballad of a teenage lesbian prostitute who tragically dies young.
  • Call to Agriculture: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
    You can't plant me in your penthouse
    I'm going back to my plough
  • Camp Follower: "Sweet Painted Lady" depicts prostitutes "getting paid for being laid" by sailors on leave, whom never even care or think of their conquests once they go back to sea.
  • Country Mouse: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
    I should've stayed on the farm, I should've listened to my old man.
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: "I've Seen That Movie Too".
    Baby you're crazy
    If you think that you can fool me
    Because I've seen that movie too
    The one where the players are acting surprised
    Saying love's just a four-letter word
    Between forcing smiles, with the knives in their eyes
    Well their actions become so absurd
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: "Your Sister Can't Twist (but She Can Rock 'n' Roll)".
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Referenced in "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
    What do you think you'll do, then?
    I bet that'll shoot down your plane
    It'll take you a couple of vodka and tonics
    To set you on your feet again
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: The 11-minute-long "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" has an entirely instrumental first half.
  • Epic Rocking: "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" tops eleven minutes and "I've Seen That Movie Too" is nearly six minutes long.
  • Face on the Cover: Elton standing full frontal, even with his name on the back of his sweater.
  • Fake Band: Bennie and the Jets in "Bennie and the Jets".
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: "Funeral for a Friend" has bells resounding.
  • Freudian Excuse: The titular protagonist of "All the Girls Love Alice" has her teenage rebellion attributed to "a simple case of Mummy Doesn't Love Me Blues."
  • Genre Roulette: The album switches from Progressive Rock ("Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding") to melodic piano ballads (the title track) to minimalistic Glam Rock ("Bennie and the Jets") to Stonesy rockers ("Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting") to Beatle-esque numbers ("Harmony") to soft rock ("Candle in the Wind") to Reggae ("Jamaica Jerk-Off") to boogie blues-rock ("Dirty Little Girl") to proto-disco-soul ("Grey Seal") to pseudo-doo-wop ("Your Sister Can't Twist (but She Can Rock 'n' Roll)") to country ("Roy Rogers", "Social Disease") to '20's jazz ("Sweet Painted Lady") to cinematic pieces like "The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-1934)" and the aptly-named "I've Seen That Movie Too".
  • Grief Song: "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding"; the instrumental first half was written as an example of the kind of music Elton would like to have played at his funeral. "Candle in the Wind", which was written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe who died 11 years before this song was recorded.
  • Homage: "Candle in the Wind", written for Marilyn Monroe (whom Elton refers to by her original name: Norma Jean), which would become a Repurposed Pop Song in 1997 when Elton wrote it to commemorate the sudden death of Princess Diana. That version effectively became the best-selling single of all time for a while, surpassing even "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby. Nowadays "White Christmas" is back to being the best-selling one.
  • Instrumental: "Funeral for a Friend".
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: "Jamaica Jerk-Off".
  • Lower-Class Lout: Played for Laughs with "Social Disease", where a drunk lower-class person is being described.
  • Lust Object: "Candle in the Wind", where Elton describes Marilyn Monroe as being more than just a sex symbol.
    Hollywood created a superstar
    And pain was the price you paid
    Even when you died
    Oh the press still hounded you
    All the papers had to say
    Was that Marilyn was found in the nude
    Goodbye Norma Jean
    From the young man in the 22nd row
    Who sees you as something as more than sexual
    More than just our Marilyn Monroe
  • Meaningful Rename: "Candle in the Wind" addresses Marilyn Monroe by her real name, Norma Jean Baker. This is because the song looks at the person behind the myth.
  • Name and Name: "Bennie and the Jets".
  • Nice Shoes: Elton wears plateau shoes on the album cover.
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting".
  • Off to See the Wizard: The title and album cover are a shout-out to The Wizard of Oz.
  • One-Man Song: "The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-1934)", "Roy Rogers".
  • One-Woman Song: "Sweet Painted Lady", "Dirty Little Girl", "All the Girls Love Alice", "Your Sister Can't Twist (but She Can Rock 'n' Roll)".
  • One-Word Title: "Harmony".
  • Overly Long Title: "Your Sister Can't Twist (but She Can Rock 'n' Roll)".
  • The Phoenix: Mentioned in (and illustrating) "Grey Seal".
  • Portal Picture: Elton on the cover is stepping into a wall-size poster.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: "Candle in the Wind" would be re-used again in 1997 after the death of Princess Diana. Elton John re-released the single and modified the lyrics somewhat to make the references about her instead of Marilyn Monroe.
  • Rock-Star Song: "Bennie and the Jets".
    You're gonna hear electric music
    Solid walls of sound
    Say, Candy and Ronnie, have you seen them yet?
    But they're so spaced out, Bennie and the Jets
    Oh, but they're weird and they're wonderful
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The title track.
    You know you can't hold me forever
    I didn't sign up with you
    I'm not a present for your friends to open
    This boy's too young to be singing the blues
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spell My Name with an "S": "Bennie and the Jets" is spelled "Bennie" on the single sleeve, but "Benny" on the album sleeve.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: "Roy Rogers":
    Nine o'clock mornings
    Five o'clock evenings
    I'd liven the pace if I could
    I'd rather have ham in my sandwich than cheese
    But complaining wouldn't do any good.
  • Stylistic Suck: The audience in "Bennie and the Jets" is clapping behind the beat.
  • This Is a Song: "This Song Has No Title," which interestingly enough doesn't appear in the lyrics either.
  • Title Track: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."
  • "Untitled" Title: "This Song Has No Title".
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Bernie Taupin himself says that he doesn't know what the lyrics to "Grey Seal" mean. Sounds cool, though.


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