Indian Sunset

Album: Madman Across the Water (1971)
  • As I awoke this evening with the smell of wood smoke clinging
    Like a gentle cobweb hanging upon a painted tepee
    Oh I went to see my chieftain with my warlance and my woman
    For he told us that the yellow moon would very soon be leaving
    This I can't believe I said, I can't believe our warlord's dead
    Oh he would not leave the chosen ones to the buzzards and the soldiers guns

    Oh great father of the Iroquois ever since I was young
    I've read the writing of the smoke and breast fed on the sound of drums
    I've learned to hurl the tomahawk and ride a painted pony wild
    To run the gauntlet of the Sioux, to make a chieftain's daughter mine

    And now you ask that I should watch
    The red man's race be slowly crushed
    What kind of words are these to hear
    From Yellow Dog whom white man fears

    I take only what is mine Lord, my pony, my squaw, and my child
    I can't stay to see you die, along with my tribe's pride
    I go to search for the yellow moon and the fathers of our sons
    Where the red sun sinks in the hills of gold and the healing waters run

    Trampling down the prairie rose, leaving hoof tracks in the sand
    Those who wish to follow me, I welcome with my hands
    I heard from passing renegades Geronimo was dead
    He'd been laying down his weapons when they filled him full of lead

    Now there seems no reason why I should carry on
    In this land that once was my land I can't find a home
    It's lonely and it's quiet and the horse soldiers are coming
    And I think it's time I strung my bow and ceased my senseless running
    For soon I'll find the yellow moon along with my loved ones
    Where the buffaloes graze in clover fields without the sound of guns

    And the red sun sinks at last into the hills of gold
    And peace to this young warrior comes with a bullet hole Writer/s: BERNIE TAUPIN, ELTON JOHN
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 11

  • Norm from BostonAnyone who likes this song needs to hear the Warren Haynes version, very transformative.
  • Susan In Fl from FloridaAlso yellow moon means harvest and abundance. Also noticed use of term teepee and Iroquois had long houses.

    Perhaps the person saying all of this was from a more western tribe than Iroquois?
  • Susan In Fl from FloridaI’ve always loved this song. It is very powerful. There is, however, a lot poetic license in it and it runs afoul of reality and geography. My impression is that the story is from an Iroquois, who were located in NE and into Canada. Yellow Dog, however, was Crow and their territory was/is Wyoming through Montana abd in N Dakota. Mention of Sioux gauntlet - would that be known in area of Iroquois? Sioux were in area now known as ND, SD, Wisconsin, Minnesota. I guess I was unaware that they traveled and mixed like that.

    However, that doesn’t minimize the heartbreak of the decimation of the indigenous peoples.
  • T from North Myrtle BeachThis song is another tapestry of the american west by Bernie Taupin written in blood and tears
  • Charger from TennesseeI have been a huge Elton John fan since the 70's and I must admit I was listening to MATW in the car the other day and this track came on. I was blown away again, I had forgotten all about this song over the years!! I hope he plays it when I see him in Chattanooga in March!!!!
  • Nathan from From The Country Of, CanadaTo Alexander of London England:, European scalping was prevalent during the migration period into Europe, but that was 4th-9th century. Europe didn't make sustained contact with Europe (Vikings and some explorers happened upon Europe) until much, much later.
  • Hope from Boston, MaI first heard this song when I was about 10, but have recently re-discovered it. It is just so deep and moving, and it moves me to tears every time I hear it.
  • Charles from Bronxville, NyI recently returned from a trip with my family to Arizona where we spent time on the Navajo reservation. First of all their name is actually D'ni. If you visit Canyon De Chelley (Pr. De Shay) and find out about what happened there with General Sherman, it's hard to listen to this song without being moved.
  • Alexander from London, EnglandIt is well known that the White Man introduced the practise of taking scalps; the film "Soldier Blue" contains a graphic depiction of this.

    A Baron
  • Gregg from Coralville, IaAmazing song. I was literally moved to tears
  • Charles from Charlotte, NcDon't want to sound like I'm trivializing the suffering of the Native Americans, but weren't they the scalpers and the white man the scalpees?
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