Willy and the Strats

· 6 June 2018 ·

[New lyrics for an Elton John tune]

The hammock swayed gently as I dozed in the shade beneath the beeches. A dangling earbud buzzed at the end of its tether. Its mate, trapped by the pillow, filled one ear with 1970s pop. Follow You, Follow Me. Rock Lobster. Bennie and the Jets. When my voices began to sing along with Elton, I knew my nap was over. I smiled as I reached for the notebook.
If you’re old enough you can see what I did there. Before and after.

It’s not easy to make out what the Strats are holding instead of Strats. I know the guitars look more like Flying Vs, but there’s no pun in that.

Folger Magazine is sent thrice yearly to FSL members. I cannot confirm. This issue is from 2014.

Because who doesn’t enjoy a good soak with a Bard who’s been metamorphosed into a toy duck. Yours for £5.50. [08 Aug 2019: Looks like the SBT pulled Willy the Duck’s page. Fortunately, the Wayback Machine exists.]

The album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road will be forty-five years old this October, which on the scale of one lifetime is getting up there. Here’s the left third of the double-LP’s double-gatefold liner art.I wanted so very much to include an audio or video performance of the new lyrics. I considered calling Sir Elton to ask if he wanted to cover his own tune. A knight will usually do a favour for an earl, but then I remembered the three-year-long farewell tour he’s starting in the fall. He’s probably already busy with rehearsals, not to mention the packing.

Instead, I tried to recruit an acquaintance of an acquaintance who was absolutely the next best thing: highly recommended, unbelievably qualified, and an Authorship Doubter to boot. I thought it was fate, but alas he too had preclusive demands upon his time. I own to some real melancholia over this, because he would have been (Captain) Fantastic. I hope he kept my address.

Next I found a karaoke track. Let’s leave it at that.

So I haven’t abandoned the chase, but for the time being you’ll have to combine my words with Elton’s music using the voices inside your own head. Here are two renditions of the original, in case you need to refresh your memory.

This is the original track from Goodbye Yellow Brick
Road, as released in October 1973. Trivia: the track
was not recorded live. The crowd effects and
reverb were added in the studio by the producer.

Live at Madison Square Garden
New York City, USA, 21 Oct 2000

If you have an Elton John tribute act (or even if you don’t) and you can record to MP3 or video, feel free to give my version a shot if you’d like. Message me on Twitter, we can talk. Piano accompaniment is optimal, but anything goes. Beggearls can’t be choosearls.