Elton John Favorites: Volume 3 Songbook

The Elton John Favorites: Volume 3 collection features ten piano solo arrangements for intermediates and up by Jennifer Eklund. Includes favorites like, "Border Song," "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," "Your Song," and "I'm Still Standing."

This post is part four of the Elton John Favorites Songbook Series.
Elton John Favorites: Volume 3 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 3 Songbook

The following songs are included in the Elton John Favorites: Volume 3 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. Bennie and the Jets
  2. Candle in the Wind
  3. Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)
  4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  5. Honky Cat
  6. Nikita
  7. Rocket Man
  8. Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
  9. The Last Song
  10. Tiny Dancer

🎹 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 3!

“Bennie and the Jets” (1974)

Live from Central Park in NYC 1980:

“Bennie and the Jets,” written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, is a renowned song that featured on John’s 1973 album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” The track achieved widespread popularity and was even performed by John during his Live Aid appearance.

Originally, the song’s release occurred in the US and Canada in 1974 as an A-side under the spelling “Bennie.” In other regions, it was the B-side to “Candle in the Wind,” with the alternate spelling “Benny.” The album artwork used “Bennie,” though variations exist on the vinyl album depending on location. In the UK, it was released as an A-side in 1976 with the title “Benny and the Jets.”

A fictional band named “Bennie and the Jets” is the focus of the song, with the narrator expressing their admiration for the group. Taupin’s lyrics reflect the glamor and extravagance of the early 1970s music scene. The song’s production involved creative mixing, using sound effects from various sources to simulate a live atmosphere, despite being recorded in the studio.

The track’s North American release wasn’t initially planned as a single, but its unexpected popularity on radio stations like CKLW in Windsor, Ontario, propelled it to the top of the US singles chart in 1974. It was certified Gold and Platinum in the US, selling millions of copies. “Bennie and the Jets” also marked John’s first appearance on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart, where it reached No. 15. In Canada, it held the No. 1 spot on the RPM national singles chart for two weeks, solidifying its success.

“Nikita” (1985)

“Nikita” is a song by Elton John from his album “Ice on Fire” (1985), serving as the lead single. The track achieved significant success, peaking at number three on the UK Singles Chart, number seven in the United States, and securing top 10 positions in multiple countries. Notably, it topped charts in eight nations. The song’s lyrics center around John’s infatuation with Nikita, a border guard he cannot meet due to travel restrictions. Despite the name being associated with both male and female genders in different languages, John was aware of its masculine nature in Russian.

The music video, directed by Ken Russell, depicts a romantic interpretation of the song’s theme, portraying John’s pursuit of a blonde female East German border guard. Their joyful moments together are showcased, often featuring Watford FC colors, the soccer team John supports. Anya Major portrays Nikita, while Andreas Wisniewski plays a male border guard.

John included “Nikita” in various live performances, notably during the tours for the “Ice on Fire” and “Reg Strikes Back” albums. Although he performed the song throughout the 2000s, it has primarily been part of his solo concerts in recent years.

“Rocket Man” (1972)

Live performance from London’s Royal Festival Hall in 1972:

“Rocket Man” (officially titled “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)”) is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Released in 1972 as the lead single from John’s album “Honky Château,” the song reached No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart and No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It’s known for its highly arranged classical rock ballad style, featuring piano, synthesizer, and slide guitar.

The song is inspired by the short story “The Rocket Man” by Ray Bradbury and shares thematic elements with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Taupin’s sighting of a shooting star or distant plane triggered the idea, while the notion of astronauts becoming commonplace workers influenced the opening lines. Musically, it showcases Elton John’s band’s signature backing vocals.

“Rocket Man” has been a staple in John’s concerts and was ranked No. 149 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (1973)

Live version from Elton’s final North American show at Dodger Stadium in 2022:

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” is a ballad written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, featured as the title track of John’s album of the same name. The song’s title is a nod to L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz series. Critics have widely acclaimed the song, with some considering it one of John’s finest compositions. Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time ranked it at No. 390. The song expresses a desire to return to one’s roots, reflecting Taupin’s autobiographical elements rooted in his upbringing on a Lincolnshire farm.

Upon its 1973 release, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” quickly became one of John’s biggest hits, entering the top ten charts in both the UK and the US. Critics praised its delicate beauty, vocal triumph, and poetic lyrics blending with Elton’s music. It reached No. 2 on the US Hot 100 chart and topped Canada’s RPM 100 national singles chart for a week. In 2010, Rolling Stone ranked it among the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song continues to be recognized as a significant contribution to Elton John’s discography.

🤔 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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