Skyline Pigeon

Album: Empty Sky (1969)


  • 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: 6

  • 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 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.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Songs About Movies

Songs About MoviesSong Writing

Iron Maiden, Adele, Toto, Eminem and Earth, Wind & Fire are just some of the artists with songs directly inspired by movies - and not always good ones.


PrinceFact or Fiction

Prince is shrouded in mystery, making him an excellent candidate for Fact or Fiction. Is he really a Scientologist? Does he own an exotic animal?

Grammar In Lyrics

Grammar In LyricsMusic Quiz

Lyrics don't always follow the rules of grammar. Can you spot the ones that don't?

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & TearsSongwriter Interviews

The longtime BS&T frontman tells the "Spinning Wheel" story, including the line he got from Joni Mitchell.

Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds

Jim McCarty of The YardbirdsSongwriter Interviews

The Yardbirds drummer explains how they created their sound and talks about working with their famous guitarists.

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he Inspired

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredSong Writing

Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.