Skyline Pigeon

Album: Empty Sky (1969)
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Songfacts®:

  • In Philip Norman's book Sir Elton: The Definitive Biography, this early Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition is described as "the wistful song of a captive bird turned loose by a prisoner." Taupin himself describes it as a good song with a "fairly naïve lyric."
  • "Skyline Pigeon" sounds as though it may have been inspired by the 1962 film Birdman Of Alcatraz, which is a sanitized biopic of double killer Robert Stroud. Elton recorded the song for his debut album Empty Sky, through which the theme of imprisonment - unjust or otherwise - runs. It was first released in August 1968 though, by Roger Cook, and later that same month by Guy Darrell. Darrell had a minor hit in 1973 with "I've Been Hurt," but never lived up to the hype. When Elton first recorded it, he used a harpsichord, and in the style of the album the song was light on production, but in 1973 it was re-released as the B-Side of "Daniel" with a full arrangement. It was also recorded by Geoff Long, a blind musician and occasional songwriter from Sydenham, London for his 2004 CD After The Party. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • On April 11, 1990, Elton played this at the funeral for the 18-year-old AIDS victim Ryan White, whom he had befriended. Elton was one of the pallbearers.

Comments: 7

  • Don from Shenandoah Valley, VaOne of my funeral songs as well, the other being "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison.
  • Robin from Milford, NjApparently I'm not the only one who wants this song played in memory of me when I die!
  • Sean from Altoona, WiLike Donna, I also want this song to played at my funeral.
  • Adam from West Palm Beach, FlThis is definitely the best version.
  • Andy from Mammoth Lakes, CaAnother version not previously mentioned is a live solo piano rendition recorded in 1974 and issued on both CD and vinyl versions of "Here and There." He also revisited the same solo version in 2000 during his solo stint of shows at that time, a recording of which was issued on Vol. 1 of a CD for eltonjohn.com members.
  • Andy from Mammoth Lakes, CaElton played the song at the funeral of young AIDS victim Ryan White.
  • Donna from Rutherford, NjWhen I die I plan to have this song played at my wake. It's beautiful.
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