My gift is my song and…

…well, we all know the rest of that line!

And you know what? Not only that particular song, but each Elton song is a gift, imho – a gift that certainly keeps on giving and giving and giving.

I had the opportunity to take an unexpected road trip last week – at night – so I wanted to make sure I had several Elton CDs on hand as I made the drive. Playing the music loudly (and, of course, singing it loudly, too) keeps me awake better than any caffeine drink, no question.

I picked a stack of CDs randomly, and I ended up with Rock of the Westies, The Diving Board, Songs from the West Coast and Captain Fantastic. An eclectic mix, that’s for sure. (And then a few days later, on a another, albeit shorter road trip, I added Tumbleweed Connection and Breaking Hearts).

Anyway, as I was enjoying the mini EJ concert in my car, it dawned on me that every time I pick up a CD that I haven’t listened to in a while, it’s like opening a gift.

Even though there’s familiarity, I often catch something new that I hadn’t appreciated before. Or, a song that I’ve skipped over in the past rings a little more true or catches my fancy in a new way.  Invariably, I’ll realize what a good album it is (there are so many good Elton album) and that I should put it into the rotation more often.

I’m also amazed at how I know what song is coming next even though I may not have listened to the album in a long time. (This morning, I knew that Slow Down Georgie came after Restless and Did He Shoot Her came after Burning Buildings, and I can’t tell you the last time I listened to Breaking Hearts).

And then there’s the scrapbook to my life that Elton’s music evokes in me.  I have such vivid memories associated with so many songs. Whenever I hear any of these songs, I always, always, always think about:

  • Singing Blessed to my daughter in utero
  • Silly dancing with my son to I Can’t Wait to be King when he was 4 or 5
  • Chloe, Eric and I giggling every time we hear the way he says “squee-werl” in Burn Down the Mission
  • My grandfather and the faux pas I made when I hear Funeral for a Friend (I had just discovered GBYBR and asked my grandfather to listen to FFAF because I had never heard anything like it – and it was much too soon after his son – my uncle – died)
  • How my daughter sings out of the side of her mouth to sound like Elton in Amoreena
  • How some of my college friends started calling me Little Kimmee after Little Jeannie
  • The first time I heard The Captain and the Kid and I got all teary eyed at the intro
  • When a friend of mine remarked that most people wouldn’t know what Sartorial Eloquence is
  • How I have to harmonize to Elton’s voice when I sing Sacrifice, even when I try not to
  • Sharing a wink and a smile with my sister about Johnny and the Governor during In the Hands of Angels
  • The fans at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida doing the Gator chomp to Crocodile Rock
  • Getting all verklempt when I read The Greatest Discovery to my sister

I think that’s the real gift of his songs.  They’re not just a part of his life or legacy, they’re a part of mine, too. As Bernie so eloquently put it, “The gift you give us all is the one I hold inside.” (Yes, I took a little poetic license there). Thank you, Elton (and Bernie!) for such precious gifts.

Do you have any special memories associated with certain Elton songs? I’d love to hear about them.

And, to all my Elton friends out there, though I don’t write songs (I wouldn’t even try), let my gift be my blog and… this one’s for you.