Madman Across the Water

Album: Madman Across the Water (1971)
  • A very dark song with a Leon Russell influence, Bernie Taupin made up the story about a lunatic ranting on visiting day at the asylum. Predictably, it wasn't chartworthy, but it did provide the album title as well as plenty of speculation that Elton was singing about United States president Richard Nixon. Taupin says that wasn't the case, although he was quite amused by the interpretation. He says the lunatic in the song wasn't based on anyone in particular.
  • "Tiny Dancer" and "Levon" were the most popular songs on the Madman Across the Water album, but Elton says that he feels most connected to the title track. The album marked a major musical shift for Elton, as he brought a guitarist into his band for the first time, enlisting Davey Johnstone.

Comments: 3

  • Johnnyzhivago from Holmby Hills, CaI always heard, "Is the madman blind or are the windows painted?" Meaning, can he not see out because he's blind or is it because the windows are blacked out.
  • Mike from Pittsburgh, Pa, PaAfter listening to this tune for the 4000th time in the last 7 months since I "discovered" it as a tune from my youth(I was about 7) at the time, i have determined today as a matter of fact that the lyric "Is the nightmare black or are the windows painted" means this, BOTH!
  • Robin from Milford, Nj"is the nightmare black or are the windows painted?' Incredible lyric!
see more comments

Kip WingerSongwriter Interviews

The Winger frontman reveals the Led Zeppelin song he cribbed for "Seventeen," and explains how his passion for orchestra music informs his songwriting.

Gavin Rossdale of BushSongwriter Interviews

On the "schizoid element" of his lyrics, and a famous line from "Everything Zen."

Second Wind SongsSong Writing

Some songs get a second life when they find a new audience through a movie, commercial, TV show, or even the Internet.

Angelo Moore of FishboneSongwriter Interviews

Fishbone has always enjoyed much more acclaim than popularity - Angelo might know why.

LecraeSongwriter Interviews

The Christian rapper talks about where his trip to Haiti and his history of addiction fit into his songs.

Intentionally AtrociousSong Writing

A selection of songs made to be terrible - some clearly achieved that goal.