JANUARY 23, 2021

Your Song — 50 Years In The Charts

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Elton’s first classic song appearing on the US and UK charts, we give you Ten Things You Did Not Know About ‘Your Song’.

By John F. Higgins


The song was a double A-side single in the US when UNI records released it, backed with Take Me To The Pilot, on October 26, 1970. Legend has it that Take Me To Pilot was there for DJs who wanted to play a more up-tempo song, but the ballad won the airplay contest in the end.


The 45 was the second of Elton’s US singles to appear on the Billboard charts, and the first to crack the top 10.

It peaked at #8, holding that position for four consecutive weeks, on the Hot 100 on January 23, 1971, a year and a day after it was recorded and the same date that it first entered the UK Singles Chart.

It also peaked at #9 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart on February 4, 1971, the first of 72 appearances to date on that rundown, the most of any artist in the chart’s history.


Your Song was Elton’s sixth single in the UK, and, so far, has spent at total of 32 weeks in the Top 100, the second-most of any Elton single (Step Into Christmas is at 45 weeks to date).

★  Enters chart on January 23, 1971: 12-week run with a peak at #7 on February 13.
★  Charts on July 27, 2002: 9-week run with a peak at #4 on July 27.
★  Charts on January 4, 2003: 4-week run with a peak at #73 on January 11.
★  Charts on March 1, 2003: 2-week run with a peak at #89 on March 8.
★  Charts on April 4, 2007: 2-week run with a peak at #77 on April 4.
★  Charts on November 27, 2010: 2-week run with a peak at #61 on November 27.
★  Charts on December 25, 2010: 1-week run with a peak at #97.4


The song was written on October 27, 1969, just six days before he would meet Paul Buckmaster, the arranger for the track and the whole Elton John album.

Elton’s diary for that Monday says, “Didn’t do anything in the end. Wrote Your Song.”


The piano demo was recorded either on October 27 or sometime during that interim week, as Paul was given a tape of the demo day or two after their meeting, which took place at the Ronnie Scott’s club in London during a Miles Davis gig.<\/p>\r\n

The demo was first released on the To Be Continued…<\/em> box set in 1990. It later appeared on the Deluxe Edition of the Elton John<\/em> album in 2008 as well as the Elton John<\/em> Record Store Day bonus LP in 2020.<\/p>


Your Song was recorded on Thursday, January 22, 1970, the first of three songs tracked during that day’s 3-6 pm session (preceding Sixty Years On and Take Me To The Pilot). Two of the musicians on the song went uncredited on the album liner notes.

Musician Credits:

★  Elton John – Piano, Vocals
★  Frank Clark – Acoustic Guitar
★  Colin Green – Acoustic Guitar
★  Clive Hicks – 12 String Guitar
★  Barry Morgan – Drums
★  Dave Richmond – Electric Bass Guitar
★  Herbie Flowers (?) – String Bass (uncredited)
★  Skaila Kanga – Harp (uncredited)
★  Paul Buckmaster – Arranger


Various versions of Your Song can be found on over a dozen Elton albums over the years, including a live version on the vinyl-only 17-11-70+ in 2017 and the piano demo and studio versions on the Elton John Record Store Day release.

A live rendition with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra was issued as a UK single in the summer of 1987 and Elton’s duet with Italian tenor Alessandro Safina peaked at #4 in Britain on July 27, 2002.


Your Song was named the UK’s “Favourite Elton Song” by the British public in 2017 and was used as the backdrop for the hugely successful Jon Lewis Christmas Ad, The Boy & The Piano, the following year.

A scene depicting its writing was also was one of the most emotional moments in the 2019 film, Rocketman.


50 years ago, Elton performed Your Song on a handful of television shows, including:

★  The Andy Williams Show (US) – December 11, 1970 (telecast on January 16, 1971).
★  BBC TV’s Into ‘71 (UK) – December 31, 1970.
★  Top Of The Pops (UK) – January 14, 1971.
★  Top Of The Pops (UK) – February 4, 1971.
★  AVRO’s TopPop (Holland) – February 17, 1971. These are the two black-and-white promo videos showing Elton walking next to Amsterdam Forest holding a microphone, one of which has him having his picture taken by numerous photographers.


Your Song was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame in 1998 and Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 2004 and 2010.


[With thanks to John McEwen for his research assistance.]