Elton John Favorites: Volume 1 Songbook

The Elton John Favorites: Volume 1 collection features ten piano solo arrangements for intermediates and up by Jennifer Eklund. Includes favorites like, "Blue Eyes," "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues," "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," and "Sad Songs (Say So Much)."

This post is part two of the Elton John Favorites Songbook Series.
Elton John Favorites: Volume 1 Songbook

🎹 About Elton John

Elton John, born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947, is a legendary English singer, songwriter, and pianist who has left an indelible mark on the world of music. With a career spanning several decades, he has become one of the most successful and influential artists in pop music history. John’s extraordinary talent lies in his ability to blend various musical genres, including rock, pop, and ballads, into a unique and captivating sound. His songwriting partnership with lyricist Bernie Taupin is particularly iconic, producing numerous hit songs that have become cultural touchstones.

John’s flamboyant stage presence and distinctive fashion sense have made him a true rock and pop icon. His live performances are celebrated for their energy, charisma, and the way he effortlessly connects with his audience. Notably, his piano skills and powerful voice contribute to his captivating stage persona. With hits like “Rocket Man,” “Your Song,” “Candle in the Wind,” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” Elton John has garnered over 300 million record sales globally, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. Beyond his music, he is also renowned for his philanthropic efforts, particularly in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In recognition of his exceptional contributions to music and charity work, Elton John was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998, officially becoming Sir Elton John.

🎶 Elton John Favorites: Volume 1 Songbook

The following songs are included in the Elton John Favorites: Volume 1 songbook. These are all available as separate singles, but you get the most value by purchasing the whole collection. All of these arrangements are appropriate for intermediates and up.

  1. Believe
  2. Blessed
  3. Blue Eyes
  4. Can you Feel the Love Tonight
  5. Club at the End of the Street
  6. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
  7. I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
  8. Sacrifice
  9. Sad Songs (Say So Much)
  10. You Can Make History (Young Again)

🎹 Watch a performance of the entire volume:

Let’s dive deeper with some more details about a few of my personal favorites from Elton Favorites: Volume 1!

“Sad Songs (Say So Much)” (1984)

Tune in and turn them on!

“Sad Songs (Say So Much)” serves as the closing track on Elton John’s 18th studio album “Breaking Hearts,” penned by John and Bernie Taupin. Released in 1984 as the lead single from the album, the song reached notable chart positions, including No. 7 on the UK chart and No. 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It achieved Top 10 status in several countries, although it reached the Top 20 in Germany and Italy.

Lyrically, the song conveys the notion that listening to old radio blues classics can provide solace to those feeling sad or who have experienced loss. The music video, directed by Russell Mulcahy and filmed in Sydney, features Elton John without his iconic glasses in certain scenes. The single’s sleeve also depicts John without his glasses.

Elton John performed the song in concerts from 1984 to 1993 and later resumed performances from 2000 onwards, often collaborating with artists like Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart. In 2013, John and Stewart delivered a special rendition of the song at the London Palladium during an event where John was honored with the Brits Icon award for his enduring influence on UK culture.

“You Can Make History (Young Again)” (1996)

A little off the beaten track, but a great tune from the compilation album “Love Songs”:

“You Can Make History (Young Again)” is a song by Elton John, initially recorded in 1996 and featured on the American version of his compilation album “Love Songs.” The song’s lyrics center around the idea of a lover rejuvenating one’s youth, widely believed to be inspired by Elton John’s partner at the time, David Furnish, with whom he entered a relationship in 1993.

The song’s release included a cassette single that performed well, reaching number four on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and number 70 on the main Hot 100 chart. It also achieved a position of 19 on the Canadian charts. A year after its initial release, the song gained international exposure when it became the B-side to the globally successful single “Something About the Way You Look Tonight”/“Candle in the Wind 1997,” dedicated to Gianni Versace and Princess Diana.

The song was well-received by critics, with Billboard’s Larry Flick praising its soft rhythms, strings, and engaging lyrics. Elton John performed the song live only twice, both instances on November 15, 1996, on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” A music video was created for the song, serving as a tribute to Elton’s illustrious career. The video features Elton performing against a backdrop of striped walls while incorporating panning and zooming visuals of photographs and video footage from his career. The video ends with some of the frames catching fire, symbolizing a transformative evolution.

“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (1976)

“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” is a 1976 duet by Elton John and Kiki Dee. Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin under the pseudonyms “Ann Orson” and “Carte Blanche,” the song is a playful homage to the Motown duet style popularized by artists like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Originally intended for Dusty Springfield, the song became a hit, reaching No. 1 on the UK charts for six weeks and becoming Elton John’s first No. 1 single in the UK and Kiki Dee’s first No. 1 single ever. In the US, it also topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for four weeks.

The song’s success led to numerous live and special performances, such as a rendition on The Muppet Show with Miss Piggy and a performance at Live Aid in 1985. John later re-recorded the song as a duet with drag queen RuPaul in 1994, which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart. The track received positive reviews for its harmonies and simplicity, winning the Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically in 1976.

Despite its popularity, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” was never included on an original studio album and was released as the third single on the 1994 album “Duets,” featuring RuPaul. The song’s B-side, “Snow Queen,” drew inspiration from Cher’s hits and remained relatively unavailable until being included as bonus material in various later releases.

“Sacrifice” (1989)

A beautiful video for a beautiful song:

“Sacrifice” is a song by Elton John from his 1989 album “Sleeping with the Past.” Co-written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, the song was initially released as a single in 1989 but gained widespread recognition in 1990. The song explores the challenges of maintaining fidelity and commitment within a marriage, questioning the idea of sacrifice in sustaining a successful relationship. The song gained significant popularity in France and the United Kingdom, becoming John’s first solo number-one hit in both countries.

Despite its initial release not achieving great success, “Sacrifice” gained momentum when it was re-released as a double A-side single with “Healing Hands.” This second release reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in June 1990, holding the top spot for five weeks. The song also topped the charts in France and garnered praise for its songwriting and emotive balladry. The accompanying music video, directed by Alek Keshishian, depicted a troubled relationship between a man and a woman, reflecting the song’s themes of separation and sacrifice.

The success of “Sacrifice” led to its continued presence in Elton John’s performances over the years. The song’s introspective lyrics and poignant melody resonated with audiences, contributing to its lasting impact in the realm of pop music.

🤔 Looking for more Elton John sheet music? We’ve got you covered!

👋 Do you have a favorite Elton John tune? We’d love to hear about it!

Jennifer Eklund
Written by Jennifer Eklund
Jennifer Eklund holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music from California State University, Long Beach. She is an avid arranger, composer, and author of the Piano Pronto® method books series as well as a wide variety of supplemental songbooks. She is also a Signature Artist with Musicnotes.com with a large catalog of popular music titles for musicians of all levels.


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