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Elton wrote the music for this song after thinking about what he would want played at his funeral.
The "Funeral For A Friend" section is instrumental. It transitions into "Love Lies Bleeding," an angry song about a broken relationship. Bernie Taupin, who is Elton's songwriting partner, wrote the lyrics.
Since this is about 11 minutes long, it was not released as a single. It became a very popular song on FM radio, partly because it wasn't played very often, and also because it gave DJs a chance to take a bathroom break or smoke a cigarette.
The synthesizer part was played by Dave Hentschel, a producer and engineer who learned how to program the Moog Synthesizer, which was fairly new at the time. He went on to work with Ringo Starr and Phil Collins.
Progressive Rock group Dream Theater (who are known as Dream Theatre in Europe) did a cover of this on their 1995 album A Change of Seasons. (thanks, Danny - Franklin, GA)
Don breaks down "Hotel California" and other songs he wrote as a member of the Eagles. Now we know where the "warm smell of colitas" came from.
After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.