This song came to mind while I watched the Royal Wedding back in April. We were all honorary Brits as we followed the festivities, so in some small sense, I guess we all wished we had been “made in England,” if only for that one day.
I’ve always felt a connection to this song. No, I wasn’t made in England, per se, but I do come from a long and hallowed English line – Phillips – and I married into one, too. And I do love a British accent!
I was made in England out of Cadillac muscle
I had a quit-me father, had a love-me mother
I had Little Richard and that black piano
Oh that sweet Georgia Peach and the boy from Tupelo
The story of Elton’s relationships with his estranged father and his beloved mother and stepfather are reknowned. As is his love for gospel, early rock and roll, Motown and all kinds of American music. Perhaps he was also “made in America” then (and in many ways he was).
I was made in England like a blue Cortina
But a Yankee summer had a way about her
You had a scent for scandal, well here’s my middle finger
I had forty years of pain and nothing to cling to
I must admit that I had to google “Cortina”…lo and behold, it was car made by Ford of Britain for about 20 years, and it was one of the most popular British cars in the 70’s. Quite an appropriate metaphor, I would say. (Funny, for some reason, I thought cortina was a kind of porcelain…ok, don’t take away my honorary British status for that).
If you’re made in England, you’re built to last
You can still say ‘homo’ and everybody laughs
But the joke’s on you, you never read the song
They all think they know but they all got it wrong
I always wondered what he/Bernie meant by those last two lines…anyone care to hazard a guess?
A tiny bit of trivia for you: This song is off the same-titled album, which was EJ’s 25th studio album when it was released in 1995. The song is the only song on the album to have a title of more than one word.
Anyway, back to the Royal Wedding. There certainly was a lot of British pride that day, and I think that’s what this song is trying to evoke. It’s certainly not a love song to England (“you had a scent for scandal, well here’s my middle finger”), but I suspect there’s nothing that makes Sir Elton prouder than to be “made in England.”
Made in England (Made in England, 1995)