The True Story Behind Elton John's Your Song

Elton John is one of the most recognizable, successful, and flamboyant faces in the music world. Over his decades-spanning career, he has released a truly incredible number of hit albums and singles. He's one of those artists who, even if you're not a fan, you're surely familiar with dozens of his releases.

Megastardom has been brutal to John at times, and he's certainly not been shy about reflecting on the demons in his past. In 2019, he discussed his autobiography "Me" with GQ Magazine. "If I hadn't gone through what I did then I wouldn't have become the person I am now," he candidly told the outlet. "So in a way, I'm grateful for those years of sex and drugs, although I despise looking back on them. I had a good time at the beginning, but at the end it was just awful."

His whole extraordinary career, however, may never have come about without "Your Song," which is still regarded by many as one of his very best songs. Here's how this romantic classic came about.

Elton John and Bernie Taupin made magic together

"Your Song" was written by Elton John's ever-present collaborator, Bernie Taupin. According to Biography, the pair met in 1967, having both responded to an NME Magazine appeal to songwriters and singers. Taupin, of course, applied as the former and John as the latter, and their combined talents made them a formidable duo.

"Your Song" is an emotionally-charged and poignant love song, clearly told from the perspective of a nervous and inexperienced person new to the incredible power of love. You might think, then, that the young Taupin was expressing some new and overwhelming feelings of his own. According to the man himself, though, this is not the case. In a blog post in which heĀ aimed to "correct the massive amount of misinformation regarding how the lyrics to 'Your Song' were originally conceived," he stated that the true story behind the Elton John classic is far simpler than that (via Yahoo).

"I scribbled ... on a lined notepad at the kitchen table of Elton's mother's apartment in the London suburb of Northwood Hills, breakfast time sometime in 1969," he wrote. "That's it. Plain and simple." Taupin went on to suggest that John seemed to think that the song was written with somebody specific in mind, but the writer insists that it wasn't.

Your Song's journey to tremendous success

It seems that the song formed naturally, rather than as the result of a deep and inspired writing process. Elton John told Rolling Stone in 2013 that he immediately loved the words and felt a lot of pressure to get the accompanying music just right. This he certainly did, and very quickly. "It came out in about 20 minutes, and when I was done, I called him in and we both knew. I was 22, and he was 19, and it gave us so much confidence," he told the outlet.

Whether the two young men truly knew what they had created in "Your Song" is another question entirely. It wasn't an instant success, according to Vulture: it was a rather obscure B-side of John's single release "Take Me To The Pilot." However, the song garnered attention on both sides of the pond, thanks to the musician's now-legendary first U.S. shows in Los Angeles. "Your Song" became a huge critical success in the United States by the turn of 1971.

Taupin and John profess that it wasn't written about anybody in particular, but ultimately, it doesn't need to have been. It's about raw, feelings, first loves, and perhaps this is exactly why it remains relatable for so many. John himself went on to Rolling Stone, "the older I get, the more I sing these lyrics, and the more they resonate with me." He's not the only one.