I thought I’d blog about these two songs together – to me, they go hand in hand. Thematically, they’re very similar; musically, they’re both very mournful, arguably even anguished. One slight problem: This may encourage an extra lengthy blog post from moi. (Ah, I hear that collective, heavy sigh from my readers, all 2 or 3 of you).
Both songs are from Blue Moves, a highly underrated album, if you ask me. And, though they’re not back-to-back tracks, if I recall correctly, Elton has performed these songs live back-to-back. And rightfully so.
So let’s start with Sorry, since it’s the one that’s likely most familiar. I dedicate this song to my husband, who claims (and rightfully so) that this is quite often the most difficult word for me to say.
Beautiful lyrics + a sorrowful melody = A classic. A simple thought, yes, but so universal.
What have I got to do to make you love me
What have I got to do to make you care
What do I do when lightning strikes me
And I wake to find that you’re not there
Side note: When EJ sings this in concert, after the first line (“What have I got to do to make you love me”), he always turns to the crowd and gives us a sly look – and of course the crowd cheers. We love you, Elton, we love you!
It’s sad, so sad
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd
It’s sad, so sad
Why can’t we talk it over
Oh it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word
There’s a maturity (or perhaps a reality) in these lyrics vs. the unabashed romanticism of youth (such as Your Song). I can appreciate both perspectives, but it shows (to me, anyway) the boys are growing up. (EJ would’ve been about 29, Bernie about 26).
Sorry may be the hardest word but it sure makes for some beautiful music
Which brings us to Tonight…
I’ve got to think of a better adjective than beautiful to describe this song. Brilliant doesn’t even seem to suffice, but let’s go with that for now. I can not listen to this song without getting goosebumps.
Do we have to fight again
I just want to go to sleep
Turn out the light
But you want to carry grudges
Nine times out of ten
I see the storm approaching
Long before the rain starts falling
The piano introduction is amazing, the orchestration is amazing, the vocals are amazing (can’t you just hear the sorrow in his voice?), the lyrics are amazing. Running 8 minutes on the album, it was too long for radio air play, which is unfortunate, because again, the message is universal.
It’s late, too late
To chase the rainbow that you’re after
I’d like to find a compromise
And place it in your hands
A piano and orchestral storm leading to a pleading denouement, culminating in a melancholy, yet hopeful ending. A big production for a simple theme…I love the dichotomy.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good video of this song, but here’s one that someone put together with the fully orchestrated studio version:
Why don’t you listen to this tonight
Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word (Blue Moves, 1976)
Tonight (Blue Moves, 1976)