In putting together the official video for Elton’s 1971 classic album track Tiny Dancer, director Max Weiland wanted to shine a light on the diverse culture of Los Angeles.
“Everyone has a different emotional reaction to Tiny Dancer”, he explained. “Some people laugh when they hear it, some people like to sing as loud as they can, some people go more inside themselves. So it’s such an honour to try and capture that.” Max’s use of street casting (finding people on the day or who were friends of the cast and crew) and multiple storylines synchronised not only with LA’s driving diversity but also with the epic feel of Elton and Bernie’s 6-plus minute long ballad.
“Those tracks have been part of my life the whole way through, growing up –Tiny Dancer especially.”
Tiny Dancer, the opening track from Elton’s 1971 album Madman Across The Water was inspired by Elton and Bernie’s first visit to America in the fall of 1970 and was recorded almost exactly a year after Elton’s debut in Los Angeles. The song was issued as a single in the US in February 1972, peaking at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #35 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Tiny Dancer was taken to another level when film director Cameron Crowe placed it in a pivotal scene in his 2000 film Almost Famous, declaring it “the soul of the movie” in a 2012 interview. “Fans of the song seem to feel like we paid proper tribute [to it] and we’re real happy about that.”
The song got yet another life when it was sampled in Ironik’s 2009 hit Tiny Dancer (Hold Me Closer). That single reached number three on the UK singles chart and number two on the UK R&B chart.
When asked what his favourite moment from the shoot was, Max told Campaign, “100% – hanging out with Marilyn Manson,” referencing the industrial rock icon who makes a cameo as the man with a pet snake in the camper van. He went on to say that, “For me Tiny Dancer is a classic driving song and LA is a driving town. The city’s identity is in its highways, boulevards, cars and people. This video is a bittersweet love letter to the phenomenon of the city, and an attempt to capture its dynamic, elusive energy. We see LA through the eyes of its people, their disparate lives unified momentarily as they listen to Tiny Dancer on their radios. It is their shared soliloquy. It connects their stories as we feel their struggle and their joy.”
Since the beginning, the song has been the epitome of a “fan favourite” amongst Elton followers. Soon after the release of Almost Famous, Elton told Cameron Crowe, “I’m going to have to start playing that in all my concerts now ‘cos I’ve already started to get requests for it.” Tiny Dancer has been a mainstay in Elton’s set list ever since.
“It sums up the LA you [Bernie] were writing about…but it wasn’t about the glamorous side.”
Watch the full video for Tiny Dancer below:
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