Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
This fun track is an early John/Taupin collaboration, which appears to be based on the old joke about the wimp who has sand kicked in his face at the beach by a muscle man, who then walks off with his girlfriend. Although he wrote the lyrics - as always - it is difficult to imagine country boy Bernie allowing himself to be subjected to such treatment, but the likely inspiration is that it is a joke directed at Elton himself, who was a self-deprecating type even way back then. Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, the singer-songwriter took his showbiz name Elton from saxophonist Elton Dean who played with Bluesology, and Long John Baldry, the band's leader. He changed it legally to his real name by notice in the June 11, 1972 edition of the London Gazette - an official British Government publication.
The second verse of "Hercules" contains the lines:
"Ooh well I like women and I like wine
And I've always liked it that way."
That was indeed the case at that time and for some time later when in spite of music industry whispers provoked by his own at times candid comments about his sexuality, Elton married the German sound engineer Renata Blauel. They divorced four years later when Elton decided that neither the lovely Renata, nor any woman, was for him.
Confirmation of the actual inspiration for the song was given by Elton himself when prior to a live performance at Sydney, Australia in 1984 - the year he married Renata - he told the audience that it was indeed about his middle name. (thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2)
Did Eric Clapton really steal George's wife? What's the George Harrison-Monty Python connection? Set the record straight with our Fact or Fiction quiz.
After many years working on the Bridge School, Pegi is establishing her career as a singer/songwriter.
Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).