Elderberry Wine

Album: Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player (1972)

Songfacts®:

  • Running to around 3 minutes 33 seconds, this lyrically dissonant track was the B-side of "Crocodile Rock." Co-written by the then still relatively new partnership of Elton and regular lyricist Bernie Taupin, it draws clearly both on Bernie's country boy origins and imagery from the netherworld of his imagination. Taupin has Elton singing from the perspective of a lazy dude looking back on the good times when his wife served his every whim. Apparently, she tired of picking the crops and making his wine.
  • Is it really true that women down south are passed on from hand to hand? 1972 was only just out of the Swinging Sixties, and as Bernie had been collaborating with Elton from the back end of that decade, that may have been how he viewed Swinging London and the sexual liberation that came with it. The same sentiment can be found in Al Stewart's epic "Love Chronicles."
  • According to the dedicated on-line Elton John discography Eltonography, "Crocodile Rock" went through 60 pressings from 1972, initially on Dick James Music; "Elderberry Wine" was sometimes replaced by "Midnight Creeper." In Mexico, "El Rock Del Cocodrilo" was backed by both "Elderberry Wine" and "High Flying Bird."

    The single was released in the UK on October 27, 1972 and a week earlier in the US, October 20. Both songs were included on the Don't Shoot Me... album for which they were recorded; "Elderberry Wine" was the third track on side 1. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3
  • There is an element of kitsch in this song, as it pokes fun at down-home southern living. Elderberry wine won't be a part of any fine dining experience, but is suitable for passing around, so these hillbillies can get drunk right from the bottle. Taupin was clearly amused by this culture - the album title comes from a novelty plaque he found in an American junk shop. A clear sign that Taupin wrote this song with tongue firmly in cheek is this line:

    You aimed to please me
    Cooked black-eyed peas me
  • Speaking with Beat Instrumental in 1973, the man himself said: "This is a stock Elton John number. It could have been on any of my albums."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Christmas Songs

Christmas SongsFact or Fiction

Rudolf, Bob Dylan and the Singing Dogs all show up in this Fact or Fiction for seasonal favorites.

Rick Springfield

Rick SpringfieldSongwriter Interviews

Rick has a surprising dark side, a strong feminine side and, in a certain TV show, a naked backside. But he still hasn't found Jessie's Girl.

Richie McDonald of Lonestar

Richie McDonald of LonestarSongwriter Interviews

Richie talks about the impact of "Amazed," and how his 4-year-old son inspired another Lonestar hit.

Adam Young of Owl City

Adam Young of Owl CitySongwriter Interviews

Is Owl City on a quest for another hit like "Fireflies?" Adam answers that question and explains the influences behind many others.

Lita Ford

Lita FordSongwriter Interviews

Lita talks about how they wrote songs in The Runaways, and how she feels about her biggest hit being written by somebody else.

Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks

Ron and Russell Mael of SparksSongwriter Interviews

The men of Sparks on their album Hippopotamus, and how Morrissey handled it when they suggested he lighten up.