With lyrics by Bernie Taupin, this song is directed at a former lover, as Elton sings about how he is still standing strong without this person. An uptempo song with some harsh lyrics ("You'll wind up like the wreck you hide behind that mask you use"), It conveys a universal theme of finding confidence after a difficult breakup.
While the song is often seen as a statement of Elton's resilience, Taupin wrote it with a specific person in mind. Said the lyricist: "It's perhaps one more example of the original idea being interpreted by everyone into something quite different. I think people see it as an anthem based on Elton's strong sense of survival in the face of adversity. Which, believe me, is perfectly fine by me. In fact, it's probably infinitely more interesting, perhaps, than what it was initially written about. Which, if my memory serves me correctly, it was a sort of kiss off to an old girlfriend. You know the sort of thing, 'Don't you worry about me, I'll be perfectly fine.' Unlike George Jones' 'She Thinks I Still Care,' where, in fact, he really did, I really didn't."
The video went over very well on MTV, which helped propel the song up the charts and introduce Elton to a younger audience. With lots of scantily clad and painted people, the colorful video made this Elton's first MTV hit, and showed he was ready to embrace the format, something not every established star was willing to do. It helped the Elton is from England, where videos were popular long before MTV went on the air in 1981.
Former Weather Girls and C + C Music Factory singer Martha Wash recorded this for the 1996 First Wives Club soundtrack.
The video was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who says it was "super, super gay." Mulcahy, who directed many of Duran Duran's videos, shot the video with Elton and a variety of painted young men (and a few women), in Nice, France. Elton brought suitcases full of costume changes and put them to use, appearing in different outfits throughout the video.
Dancing With The Stars judge Bruno Tonioli appeared in the clip as one of the dancers - he's wearing a black leotard.
On January 30, 2018, Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, Little Big Town, Lady Gaga and several other artists paid tribute to Elton John by covering his songs at the Madison Square Garden concert Elton John: I'm Still Standing. At the end of the show, Elton took the stage to perform some of his songs, closing the concert with "I'm Still Standing," in which he was joined by the other performers. The concert was packaged into a 2-hour special that aired on CBS April 10.