Elton John

Lingua: Inglese

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Album: "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player"

Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player
Bernie Taupin wrote "Daniel" while inspired by the events of the
Vietnam War. The lyrics (including a verse in the original draft that was cut from the final version) describe a fictional veteran who was blinded as a result of the war ("your eyes have died"/"but you see more than I") and travels to Spain to escape those around him back home ("do you still feel the pain"/"of the scars that won't heal?"), including his brother, from whose point of view the story is told.

"'Daniel' had been the most misinterpreted song that we'd ever written," explained Taupin, in the Two Rooms tribute project. "The story was about a guy that went back to a small town in Texas, returning from the Vietnam War. They'd lauded him when he came home and treated him like a hero. But, he just wanted to go home, go back to the farm, and try to get back to the life that he'd led before. I wanted to write something that was sympathetic to the people that came home."



The lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin, Elton's writing partner. He explained the inspiration on his web site: "I'd seen this article in Time magazine on the Tet Offensive. And there was a sidebar next to it with a story about how many of the soldiers that were coming back from 'Nam were these simple sort of down home country guys who were generally embarrassed by both the adulation and, depending on what part of the country you came from, the animosity that they were greeted by. For the most part, they just wanted to get back to a normal life, but found it hard, what with all the looky loos and the monkeys of war that they carried on their backs.

I just took it from there and wrote it from a younger brother's perspective; made him disabled and wanting to get away. I made it Spain, basically, because it rhymes with plane."
When Elton wrote the music for this song, he chopped off the last verse because he thought the song was already too long. The deleted verse explained that "Daniel" was a Vietnam Vet who returned home to the farm after the war, couldn't find peace, and decided to leave America and go to Spain. With the last verse chopped off, it became a fairly vague story of two brothers who part ways, although Bernie Taupin says that losing the verse wasn't a big deal. Said Taupin: "We had that whole thing about the missing verse that everybody seems to believe explained the true meaning of the song. I think that's just an urban legend. It didn't really explain anything. Sure, it was cut out. But that used to happen all the time with our songs. I would often overwrite, and Elton felt it necessary to edit somewhat. But believe me, it didn't say anything that the rest of the song didn't say."

Song Facts
Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane
I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain
Oh and I can see Daniel waving goodbye
God it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes

They say Spain is pretty, though I've never been
Well Daniel says it's the best place that he's ever seen
Oh and he should know, he's been there enough
Lord I miss Daniel, oh I miss him so much

Daniel my brother you are older than me
Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won't heal
Your eyes have died, but you see more than I
Daniel you're a star in the face of the sky

Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane
I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain
Oh and I can see Daniel waving goodbye
God it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes
Oh God it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes

inviata da Jon Doe - 3/12/2013 - 04:27

Lingua: Inglese

My replacement version for Bernie Taupin's removed verse fits, rhymes, and covers the story.
I know it's not particularly inspiring or poetic--; but it shows that a verse that functionally works, at least can be written.

Shame on you, Bernie Taupin, for throwing your original version away, which I'm sure would have been far better than this--;
But at the least, you could have used your condensed version for the advance-release single, while using the full version on the album--;
Just as had already been done with other epic pop or rock songs, such as Don McLean's 1971 "American Pie," and probably Led Zeppelin's 1971 "Stairway To Heaven."

Thank You--.
Daniel had earlier come home from the war.
Hoping just to get back to the way that things had been before.
But we've all heard you can't come home again.
That's why Daniel, took right back off again right-then.

inviata da Don Porter - 11/2/2019 - 03:00

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