Candle in the Wind, the boys’ tribute to Marilyn Monroe, is essentially ubiquitous (which doesn’t make it any less amazing, by the way). And, of course, the version of Candle in the Wind dedicated to Princess Diana perhaps even more so. On the other hand, Cage the Songbird, also a tribute (albeit obscure), is from Blue Moves (also obscure), and is dedicated to the legendary French singer Édith Piaf.
I don’t know much about Ms. Piaf – I know that she was a beloved French singer and I know “La Vie En Rose” (the song, not the movie). This song inspired me to get one of her CDs, since I wanted to know her voice. And a unique voice it is! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m a francophile, so I figured I should know at least a little about her. Apparently, she led a very interesting but troubled life and died at the very young age of 47.
And you can cage the songbird
But you can’t make her sing
And you can trap the free bird
But you’ll have to clip her wings
‘Cause she’ll soar like a hawk when she flies
But she’ll dive like an eagle when she dies
Sidebar: Davey Johnstone is credited with music authorship on this song along with Elton.
The cellophane still on the flowers
The telegram still in her hand
As whispers circulate all day
Their back-stage baby princess passed away
Sidebar 2: Did you know that was Édith Piaf singing in Inception (Non, je ne regrette rien)?
A recurring theme in Bernie’s lyrics – the caged bird, imprisonment, flying free…one of my favorite themes, and it was perhaps never as fitting as in this song, this tribute. Plus, the music (to me) feels a bit melancholy, which is apropos.
Let down before the final curtain
A shallow heart that left her cold
She left in rouge upon the mirror
A circled kiss to the faithful fans who’d miss her
I’d like to think The Sparrow would have approved.
Cage the Songbird (Blue Moves – 1976)