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31 Jul 2009

The List: From Top 1 To Top 50 (I)

Since 1984 when I started compilating the AllSongsList, it always has been a rivalry between the first and second positions: that's between "Your Song" (1.747.130 points) and "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" (1.744.330 points). "Your Song" wins in the following categories: Singles (17.000 p.), Albums (87.750 p.), Videos (25.350 p.) appearances, and specially, Covers (97.700 p.), Live (341.500 p., the song most played live) and the favourite of Eltonites (375.855 p.). But "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" wins in the categories of Charts around the world, being more succesful in sales terms than "Your Song", specially since 1991, with George Michael and Elton's duet.

There's no discussion that the 1973 era has been the more succesful for Elton, because 6 of the top 10 songs are from there: "Daniel" (1.362.340 p.), "Candle In The Wind" (1.360.275 p.), "Crocodile Rock" (1.254.570 p.), "Bennie And The Jets" (1.184.865 p.), "Saturday Night's Alright" (1.121.105 p.) and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (1.088.575 p.).

If "Candle In The Wind" in the AllSongsList is number 5, in the Eltonites category is number 3 with 268.905 points. Also, it's the second more succesful song in the Spain and Norway Music Charts category. "Bennie And The Jets" peaks the second position in the US Music Charts category (190.340 p.), but it hadn't been a hit in England. "Saturday Night's Alright" is one of the songs most played life since it was premiered live (239.900 p.). "Crocodile Rock" did well in Music Charts around the world and became a big hit in Japan (20,925 p.) and Australia (84.065 p.), apart from U.S. (170.810 p.).

"Rocket Man" (1.344.195 p.) and "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" (1.430.430 p.) completed the Top 10, both being great hits in music charts around the world, always on the set lists til they were released (not missing any of the Tours since).

First songs of the 80s in AllSongsList is on number 11, and it's "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" (1.048.365 p.). Although "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (960.565 p.) is number 9 in Eltonites preferences (206.110 p.), it's out of the Top 10 in the AllSongsList.

Other cases, "Take Me To The Pilot" (446.475 p.) is one of the more covered songs by Elton (20.500 p.) and "Levon" (370.060 p.) has good results in the Live category (121.750 p.) for being one of the most played songs live. "Candle In The Wind 1997", with only 850 p. in the Live category, is peaks Top 33 for being one of the more sold singles of Elton's Catalog, with good results in U.S. (67.650 p.), England (40.375 p.) and Australia (30.510 p.). Also to highlight "I'm Still Standing" (943.675 p.) with good results in France Music Charts category (50.025 p.), beside "Song For Guy" with 48.800 p. there; "Nikita" (784.155 p.) doing well in Germany Music Charts category (43.250 p.); "The One" (709.000 p.) with good results in Italy (34.625 p.) and "Border Song" (447.705 p.), a top 5 in Japan (17.615 p.).

26 songs of AllSongsList are from the 70s, with the whole Top 10; 11 songs are from the 80s, 12 from the 90s and only one song from the 00s. All Top 50 has been released as a single.

(To be continued. You could post your thoughts or questions on the comments section. Thanks)

23 Jul 2009

Elton John In Austrian Charts

Top 1

Something about the way you look tonight / Candle in the wind

Top 2

Don't let the sun go down on me / I Believe

Top 3

Ghetto Gospel feat. Indian sunset / Thugs get lonely too

Nikita / The man who never died

Top 4

Sorry seems to be the hardest word / Sweet thing

Can you feel the love tonight / Can you feel the love tonight (instrumental)

Sad songs / A simple man

Top 6

I don't wanna go on with you like that / Rope around a fool

Crocodile Rock / Elderberry wine

Top 8

Don't Go Breaking My Heart / Snow queen

Top 10

Healing hands / Dancing in the end zone

22 Jul 2009

Famous Austrian Eltonites

Anton "Toni" Polster was born March 10, 1964 in Vienna. He is a former Austrian football (soccer) striker,the all-time leading goalscorer for Austria and the singer of the austrian band Achtung Liebe. Polster made his professional league debut in August 1982 with the Austria Wien team , at 18 years of age. He won three league titles and the domestic cup before moving abroad to play a season for italian team Torino and spanish team Sevilla FC, among others. Polster was chosen in Austria's Team of the Century in 2001.

Last year, along with austrian football legends Hansi Krankl and Herbert Prohaska, he joined up with Gyula Harangozo the director of ballet at the Viennese State Opera and the Volksopera and Josef Metzger the Press Sports journalist to create the Ball Artist Association (Ball-Künstler Verein) with the aim of emphasising the connection between sport and culture.

18 Jul 2009

The Story Behind "Dove Of Peace"

On Sacha Baron Cohen's last movie, Bruno, he is a gay fashionista who is the host of the top-rated late night fashion show in any German-speaking country… apart from Germany. His mission is to become the biggest Austrian celebrity since Hitler, and his strategy is to crisscross the globe in the hopes of finding fame and love. Not only this, also Bruno attempts to seduce a onetime presidential hopeful, adopts a black African baby and provokes a near riot at a caged boxing bout in Texas.

Over the closing credits, Bruno releases a brilliantly cheesy but subversive single, "Dove Of Peace" which mocks the charitable concern of Band Aid, and he invites celebrities like Bono (from U2), Elton John (playing also the piano), Snoop Dogg, Chris Martin (from Coldplay), Sting (from The Police) and guitarist Slash from Guns n' Roses. The track had already been part-recorded in the legendary Abbey Road Studios. "Chris Martin was in stitches throughout the recording and only just managed to get his lines out," a source told the Mirror.


"I've written a song
that I hope is gonna bring the world together
Put down your guns and bombs
and just make love forever (Okay then)

He's come to heal the world
and make our nations calm down
I am the Austrian Jesus
He is the white Obama (He's the white Obama)

War's just based on hate and fear
Stop fighting North and South Korea

You're both basically Chinese

He's Brüno, dove of peace
Ey yo Brüno, where the bitches at?
You are Brüno, dove of peace
You're a fashion model, you got the cute hoes
You are Brüno, dove of peace
(No I love black guys, I'm a chocoholic)
Du bist Brüno, dove of peace

I have a dream for the Third World: clean water, food and teaching
In every village and every town, a place for anal bleeching

We need to rid the world of hunger
I'm just like Bono except much younger
He is only nineteen
Ich bin Brüno, dove of peace

Ey ey, he gay, he gay

15 Jul 2009

Famous Utahnians Eltonites

Jewel Kilcher was born May 23, 1974 in Payson, Utah. Jewel grew up on an 800-acre homestead with her parents and two brothers. They had little in the way of modern conveniences; there was no television and the bathroom was an outhouse. She spent much of her free time writing in her journal, writing poems, and singing. At age six, she began singing with her parents in dinner shows in local hotels. Jewel never had a single guitar lesson. She taught herself, and watched other people who showed her a chord or two or a riff. At 15 she applied to a fine arts school in Michigan, called Interlochen, and was accepted on a partial scholarship. Soon she started performing at the Innerchange, a coffee shop in South Beach around 1993. Jewel was signed to Atlantic Records close to her 19th birthday. Her first record, a deeply introspective, live, voice-and-acoustic-guitar, modern folk collection called Pieces of You, sold about 3000 copies, nearly all in San Diego. Her debut poetry collection in 1998, A Night Without Armor, quickly became a mainstay of The New York Times bestseller list, with 29 printings and a remarkable million-plus copies sold. She has received three Grammy Award nominations and has sold twenty-seven million albums worldwide, and almost twenty million in the United States alone. Jewel was among the famous fans who attended Elton's Madison Square Garden Birthday.

11 Jul 2009

The Origin And Meaning Of Names

Yes, I love Bernie's lyrics. I am a fan of him and I'd never find a lyricist like him. Me too, I analyze his lyrics over and over, trying to find the meanings of the words, of the poetry. I always was wondering about how he chose the name of some of his characters... By chance? Really by meaning? And what about Elton's name? Hercules??? Reg, why not instead of Elton? So, I have to bring on an expert. She is an open encyclopedia on names and meanings.

So, thank you for the acceptation, really a pleasure to have you... Could you tell us, please, who are you and where are you from?

My name is Mònica Font and I'm from Barcelona (Catalonia), currently living in Ireland.

Great!!! One of Bernie’s lyrics reads: “I'll pick a star from the sky, Pull your name from a hat”... you’ll pick a lot of names from a hat... You are an expert in the origins and meanings of names. You've been writing several articles and you have a book on your desk, ready to be published... Why are you interested in names?

Well, I'm a linguist and given names are an element present in every single world language. A very special element, since, in some way, the given name is part of the subject who bears it: it singles out the bearer and, at the same time, the bearer identifies it as part of himself. That is why if someone criticizes our name or makes fun of it, we will feel outraged, criticized and mocked ourselves and will take offence.

Yes, certainly. In our case, for example... if we’re talking about two names... “Elton” and “John”... What’s the meaning and origin of those names?

Elton is a family name turned into a given name but its origins are dark. It clearly comes from a place name, but since there are several places named Elton in England, from different origins, it is not possible to attribute it a single meaning.

In some cases, the name comes from the Old English ael, "eel", and tun or ton, "town", that is, a town in an area rich in eels, but this one, despite being the most common explanation in baby names books and websites, it is not accurate for most of the places named Elton.

The second part of the name is not that complex: it is the aforesaid tun or ton, "town". In regards to the first part, it can come from the Anglo Saxon given name Elle, different from the modern feminine English Elle and originally a nickname for names beginning by Ælf- (Ælfwine, Ælfheah...), which was an Anglo Saxon element, ælf, "elf". But it can also come from the Anglo Saxon given name Æðel, originally a nickname for names beginning this way (Æðelfrid, Æðelwine...), from the element æðel, "noble". So, usually, we would have "Elle's town" or "Ethel's town", so to say.

The use of family names as given names in English appeared in 18th and 19th centuries among noble families, which used noble surnames from the feminine lineages in order to show the familial bonds in an exhibition of lineage pride. This custom, very common in Scotland, evolved and, at the end of the 19th century, the use of surnames as given names had spread out lto the ower classes without familiar relation with the surnames. Elton, for instance, has been regularly used as given name in the United States since at least the 1880s (the first decade with available data).

On the other hand, John has a clear etymology: it is an evolution, through the Greek and later the Latin, of the Biblical Hebrew Yochanan, coming from yeho, an abbreviation of Yahweh, "God", in the first spot of given names, and chanan, "he has forgiven" or "he has been merciful" (from the verb ch-n-n, "to forgive" or "to be merciful"). That is "God has forgiven" or "God is merciful".

Wow!!! Very interesting!!! You know Elton’s birthday name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight. For Elton, "Reg Dwight (name) was hopeless... it sounded like a library assistant (...) Reggie Jackson, for example, it sounds different”. Really “Reginald” and “Kenneth” are not very strong names, in artistic terms... aren’t they?

Well, Kenneth is very well represented in artistic field by the actors Kenneth Branagh and Kenneth Williams or the saxophonist Kenny G, Reginald by the actor Sir Reginald Denny and even Dwight has its well known bearers, as the actor Dwight Schultz or the singer Dwight Twilley. And if Elton John had stuck on his original name, we will have another very famous Reginald or Reg.

But if Reg Dwight sounded as a library assistant to him, it is very possible that to most of his coetaneous in England this combination suggested exactly this kind of character. So it is understable his urge to change it.

In another time or in another place, Reginald Dwight could be a cool name for a musician (for instance, in a vacuum, this combination brings me the image of a jazz musician) or an actor; I can easily see someone giving up his real name to take Reginald Dwight as stage name to honour Reginald Denny and Dwight Schultz.

Well, don’t mention Elton “Hercules” John his legal name registered in 1972. Hercules was the name of the horse in the British comedy series Steptoe and Son...

Since Hercules is a real human name, I don't have any problem with Elton John using it for himself to honour an animal. It would be very different to do that with a son or a daughter (honour an animal) or if it was a pet name, as Fluffy.

And we can consider Hercules a talisman name, because it contains the Greek root kléos, "fame, glory", and Elton John clearly has reached it.

Right. When Bernie wrote “Nikita”’s lyric, it was a controversial about a russian male’s name being in a song dedicated, so it seems, to a caucasian blond girl, for the influence of Ken Russell’s video clip. Has “Nikita” developed to a female name for that song?

The use of Nikita in the wrong gender is not that song's fault, but it certainly has played an initial and main role. I will make myself clear.

Just listening...

Outside of Russia and its influence area, Nikita was discovered by most of the population in the late 50s, early 60s, when Nikita Khrushchev was the premier of the Soviet Union. Since the main association, and probably the only one in that moment, was a man, despite to sound feminine in most of the European languages because of the a ending, Nikita was not used for girls; and, to be frank, neither for boys.

As the association with the Russian politician grew weak and the knowledge of the name remained, Nikita begun to be used for girls, notoriously in India; two of the most notable female Nikitas are Indian and were born before Elton John's song: Nikita Thukral (b. 1981) and Nikita Anand (b. 1983), both actresses and models. That is not puzzling if we bear in mind that in that country there is a trend for feminine Western names that sound Indian (Natasha, Monica, Tania, Sonia...) and that Nikita ends in A.

It is possible that the memory of Khrushchev was more vivid in Western countries that in India and that is why the Indian use of Nikita in feminine predates the Western one, generally speaking, but it looks more or less clear that by the early 80s all countries but Russia were ready to use Nikita as a feminine name because the new generation of parents-to-be didn't remember the Soviet leader, the name sounded feminine to their ears and it seemed as a refreshing replacement for some feminine names, as Nicole.

Just in that moment, the song "Nikita" (1985) appeared and spread the name in its feminine use all around the world. But the major boost was because of the French film "Nikita" (1990), by Luc Besson, and the TV series "La Femme Nikita" (1997-2001), based on Besson's film: they reached a large majority of the population, people who knew John's song and video and people who didn't.

It is possible that John (born in 1947) or Taupin (born in 1950) didn't know that Nikita was a masculine name, because during Khrushchev's term of office they were very young. But, honestly, it is hard to believe that Russell, who is twenty years older that John, didn't remember the historical character and the shoe-banging incident at the UN General Assembly in 1960, for example.

In any case, after the song, the film, and the TV series, Nikita grew in its feminine use and I would say that right now it is a unisex name, mainly feminine, for Western countries.

On Elton’s songs, there also very significative names... Could you analize briefly some of that names, please, for us, eltonites, Mònica?

So, if I tell you... for example... “Daniel”... the man Bernie saw as a dissillusioned Vietnam veteran and was inspired by an article he had read in Newsweek magazine...

Daniel is a Biblical name, coming from the Hebrew noun d-n, "judge" or "justice", and the suffix el, abbreviation of Elohim, "God"; that is: "God judges", "God is my judge" or even "God's justice".

The differences in naming taste between the United States and the United Kingdom are notables (Bernard Shaw said that England and America are two countries separated by a common language), but in the case of Daniel, it has been one of the favourites in both sides of the Atlantic ocean across the entire 20th century: it has been in the top 100 without interruption since 1900, which means that it is a traditional and solid choice for boys, but, more important, since the 80s it has been in the top 10 also in both countries, which means that it still is attractive for the parents.

So, not only Daniel is an absolutely accurate and plausible name for an American Vietnam veteran but it allows that both American and British of all ages can bond with the song: Daniel, the main character, can be them, or a school friend, a sibling, the neighbour next door...

“Emily”? The old and lonely woman who “(comes) and go(es)”. Some of the lines reads: “But Emily don't be afraid, When the weight of angels weighs you down. Emily prays to a faded hero, In a little frame clutched to her gown, Hears the voice of promise in his memory, Tonight's the night they let the ladder down”

Emily comes from the Latin Aemilia, feminine form of Aemilius, name of an ancient Roman gens (a kind of clan or caste) and, as many of the old Roman names, its origins are dark, probably Etruscan, a dead language not related to Latin. Since Etruscan was already an obscure language in Roman times, the folk etymologies linking it with one well known language were not unusual: from the Latin aemulus, "rival", or the Greek aimydios, "flattering, polite".

These explanations have remained until our time and some others have appeared, for instance a derivation from the Sabine given name Aemidius (related to the Latin aemidus, "swollen"), and until now it is not possible to point a clear origin or meaning.

What is important about Emily is that since the late 90s it is not only one of the most popular names for girls but its popularity is so huge that in some moments it seems that is THE name.

“Alice”? A teen year old yo-yo “raised to be a lady by the golden rule, Alice was the spawn of a public school, With a double barrel name in the back of her brain, And a simple case of Mummy-doesn't-love-me blues”...

Alice is a Germanic name. In fact, it is an English adaptation from a French name (Aalis or Alis), coming from a Germanic one (Adalhaid or Adelheid), compound of adal, "noble" and a second element hard to identify; maybe haid or heid, "wasteland", or maybe *heid, "class, condition, lineage, quality".

It was a very popular name among the Medieval French nobility, who introduced it in England after the Norman Conquest (1066). By the 17th c., in England Alice was seen as rustic and old-fashioned and it was not until the 19th c. that it was revived along with other medieval names. The name was chosen by Queen Victoria for one of her daughters, Princess Alice (1943-1876), making Alice a royal name, fashionable among nobility and high classes, who attend public schools and have double barrelled names, two particular identifying elements of the highest classes in the English social scale.

Of course the name was also popular among other classes, popularized by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), by Lewis Carroll, but it still has a regal flavour and easily brings up the picture of a high class member.

Finally, “Chloe”? “How you handle what you live through, I can never hope to learn, Taking all the pain I give you, Loving blindly in return”...

Chloe is a Greek name meaning "green grass, green shoot". It was very unusual until the 90s (not making it to the 100 more common names), but has been growing up in popularity since then and now it is in the top 10.

It is curious that in these questions the four main sources of English given names are represented: the Biblical (Daniel), the Latin (Emily), the Greek (Chloe) and the Germanic (Alice).

Yes, I knew. Just documentation... Thank you very much, Mònica. I know it’s an effort to be concrete because that could be so extensive...

My pleasure, absolutely

Oh, could you tell me your favourite Elton's songs, for my AllSongsList, basically?

"Candle in the Wind".

Marylin Monroe's tribute. Yes. I am absolutely impress!!! Although I knew that you were the expert I needed, you fullfill all of my expectations. I am sure we eltonites loved and enjoyed to read those explanations about names. Oh, I just write to Bernie to notice him about this interview and how appropiated he searched the names of the characters of his songs. Not for Chloe, I mean, because that's a Gary Osborne song. Ok, I will tell him that too!!!

7 Jul 2009

Famous Croatians Eltonites

Slavica Radić is a former Armani model and was the wife of Formula 1 racing magnate Bernie Ecclestone. She was born in 1958 in Rijeka, Croatia (former Yugoslavia) and is the Patron of the croatian community based in London. The couple have two daughters, Tamara (born 1986) and Petra (born 1990). On March this year, she was given a ‘quickie divorce’ and granted a decree nisi in just 58 seconds on the grounds that the marriage with Bernie had “irretrievably” broken down due to the 78-year-old’s “unreasonable behaviour”.

She announced her arrival to the concert by Elton in Pula’s area, but what surprised the organizers of the festival is that she bought all 50 entrance tickets to the VIP area for that concert.

3 Jul 2009

The Story Behind... Caribou Ranch!!!

Caribou is a former silver-mining town, now a ghost town near Nederland in Boulder County, Colorado, United States. It was named after the Caribou silver mine nearby. Known as "The Place were winds were born", Caribou is located at 9800 feet. Sam Conger was the discoverer of the Caribou mine. He found out from the Araphahoe indians about their "Treasure Mountain" but was unable to search until they were moved by the government. Thriving silver mining town of 5000 persons until epidemics, fire and silver busts broke the town in the late 1800's. The Caribou Ranch recording studio is several miles away, on the road from Nederland up to Caribou. Nederland is a scenic mountain town in Boulder County, Colorado.

Before it gained fame as a destination studio, it was the largest privately owned Arabian stud farm in the country. Moreafter, and known as the Lazy VV ranch, the ranch was a destination for celebrities and made history long before its '70s recording-studio days. It became world famous, with Warner Brothers filming three short documentaries there, including Arabians in the Rockies, a 1945 short showing the ranch and its horses in glorious color.

Jim Guercio, then the producer of Chicago, bought Caribou Ranch for a reported $1 million in 1971 and installed the studio in 1973. James Guercio first saw the Rocky Mountains in the '60s, while touring as a guitarist for Chad & Jeremy and fell in love with the place. The first music recorded at Caribou was Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way". In addition to Chicago (starting with Chicago VI), the studio has been used by numerous other artists: Elton John, Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, Carole King, Stephen Stills, Waylon Jennings and Supertramp.

Caribou Ranch gained additional prominence when Elton John recorded his album “Caribou” there in 1974. Kenny Passarelli remembered “Elton John came to Caribou for the Caribou sound - a sound that was like no other sound in the world, and "Caribou" was all written here". Yes, during January of 1974, Elton and the band were at the Caribou Ranch, Colorado for the recording of: "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", "The Bitch Is Back" and "Cold Highway". Unfortunately, no one had taken into account the totally different process of recording an album in America. It took precious days at Caribou to adjust to the studio unfamiliar monitor system. Repeated technical hitches threw Elton into a bad mood lasting a day and a half: "I want to take it to the highest f***ing mountain on your f***ing ranch and push it over". Finally, Elton John recorded several other classic albums at Caribou Ranch, including “Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy” and “Rock of the Westies”. Also it was there when Elton was simulating to play a guitar, an instrument he is just starting to pick up.

He also recorded the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” with John Lennon there, who used the pseudonym Dr. Winston O'Boogie, and also "One Day (At at Time)", the original of which John Lennon released on his Mind Games. Being in the studio, it was a nice break for Lennon, particularly because the U.S. government was trying to have him deported for his antiwar stance. The Caribou staff made Lennon feel at home, and Elton wanted to be sure that John had fun. And he had.

Neil Sedaka also spent time at Caribou ranch during the planning of Neil's first American release on Rocket. And songs of Billy Joel's album "Turnstiles", 1976, were initially recorded at Caribou Ranch too with members of Elton John's band, and produced by James Guercio, but Joel was dissatisfied with the results. The songs were re-recorded in New York, and Joel took over, producing the album himself.

The studio was in operation until it was damaged in a fire in March 1985. The fire destroyed the control room and caused about US$ 3 million in damage. According to the Nederland Fire Chief, while the fire department was doing overhaul on the fire to make sure it was out, several Gold Record plaques awarded to Guercio's group Chicago that were hanging on the wall of the studio, were damaged by a chain saw. After the split-up with Chicago and the Caribou Ranch fire, Guercio became disenchanted with the recording industry and shifted gears, pursuing a successful career in large-scale cattle ranching, property development, and oil and gas exploration, drilling and production, particularly coalbed methane wells. Also, he donated the remaining equipment to the University of Colorado-Denver in 1986.

Photos by Rocky Mountain News

1 Jul 2009

Famous Coloradans Eltonites

Brett Asa "Ace" Young was born on November 15, 1980 in Denver, Colorado. Young, who has been singing since the age of nine, attended voice lessons and performed at local shopping malls and recreation centers during his youth.[5] He performed at various venues in Colorado and other western states, most notably at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Young graduated from Fairview High School, his local high school, in 1999, having participated in athletics, choir, and International Baccalaureate classes during his school years.

He was contestant on season five of "American Idol". He received a GRAMMY NOMINATION for his co-write on DAUGHTRY's first single "IT'S NOT OVER". He referred to Elton as the one of his biggest musical influences growing up.