According to Elton John’s website, in 1967, 17-year-old Bernie Taupin submitted a number of his lyrics to Liberty Records in reply to a solicitation in the New Music Express. At the same time, Elton John replied to the same advertisement, and Ray Williams at Liberty put him in touch with Taupin. They began writing songs together (though never in the same room), and became one of the most prolific and popular songwriting duos ever.
In addition to writing songs specifically for Elton, they’ve written music for other artists, particularly in the late 1960’s when they were staff songwriters for Dick James’s DJM Records. One of them was Lulu, who performed John and Taupin’s “I Can’t Go On (Living Without You)” for the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest, where it finished sixth (out of seven). It’s been covered by a number of other artists, among them Sandie Shaw and Cilla Black. Here’s Lulu’s original version.
In 1973, John and Taupin wrote the song “Candle In The Wind” as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe. Elton recorded it for the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and released it as a single. It rose to #11 in the UK, #5 in Australia, and #8 in Ireland. (The flip side, “Bennie and the Jets” was a #1 hit in the US and Canada.) When Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car accident in 1997, Elton asked Bernie to write new lyrics for it. The result, “Candle in the Wind 1997,” was issued as the B side of “Something about the Way You Look Tonight,” and the single went to #1 around the world, selling over 33 million copies worldwide. Elton played it at his friend Diana’s funeral. Here’s that performance.
Elton John and Bernie Taupin, your Two for Tuesday, November 24, 2015.