|Don't Shoot Me|
I'm Only the Piano Player
|Studio album by|
|Released||22 January 1973 (UK)|
26 January 1973 (US)
|Studio||Château d'Hérouville, Hérouville, France; mixed at Trident, London|
|Label||MCA (US), DJM (UK)|
|Elton John chronology|
|Singles from Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player|
|Christgau's Record Guide||C+|
|The Daily Vault||B+|
|Tom Hull – on the Web||B|
Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player is the sixth studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John.Released in January 1973 by DJM Records, it was John's sixth normal studio album release, first of his two studio albums released in 1973 (second one was Goodbye Yellow Brick Road , released nine months later), and was his second straight No. 1 album in the US and first No. 1 album in the UK.
The lead single "Crocodile Rock" yielded John his first No. 1 single in both the US and Canada."Daniel" was also a major hit from the album, giving him his second Canadian No. 1 single on the RPM Top Singles Chart and No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reaching No. 4 in the UK, one place higher than achieved by "Crocodile Rock".
The team returned to France to record at the Château d'Hérouville, also known at the time as "Strawberry Studios", which was how the studio was credited in the album's sleeve; Honky Château , the previous Elton John album, had been recorded there.The album featured horns arranged by producer Gus Dudgeon on "Elderberry Wine" (the B-side to "Crocodile Rock"), "Midnight Creeper" and "I'm Going to Be a Teenage Idol", the latter of which was inspired by John's friend, T-Rex frontman Marc Bolan. The horn players were the same ones who were used on Honky Château . Paul Buckmaster returned to add strings on "Blues for My Baby and Me" and "Have Mercy on the Criminal". During his Australian concerts with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 1986, John lauded Buckmaster's work on songs such as "Have Mercy on the Criminal", calling the string arrangements "revolutionary".
The title of the album came from friend and actor/comedian Groucho Marx. Elton was playing the piano at a party at Groucho's home; Groucho, who referred to him as 'John Elton', held out his middle and index finger in the style of a pistol. Elton then raised his hands and said "Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player" at Marx's gun imitation.
The album was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic, topping the UK and US album charts. It is one of only three albums to feature just the core band of John on pianos and keyboards, Davey Johnstone on guitars, Dee Murray bass and Nigel Olsson on drums, without percussionist Ray Cooper. The other two are Honky Château (1972) (bar a performance by Cooper on congas on the song "Amy") and Breaking Hearts (1984).
An outtake of note was a re-recording of "Skyline Pigeon", which became the B-side to the single of "Daniel".
Critics at the time called some of the performances, especially "Crocodile Rock", derivative, which John freely acknowledged years later. In His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John by author Elizabeth Rosenthal, John said "Crocodile Rock" was written as an overt homage to '50s records, and his vocal intentionally mimicked singer Bobby Vee. "High Flying Bird" was intended to sound like a Van Morrison record, and "Midnight Creeper" was a tip of the hat to the Rolling Stones.
John toured Australia during 1972 and was so inspired by Daddy Cool's hit single "Eagle Rock" that, with Taupin, he wrote "Crocodile Rock". The cover of this album has a photo of lyricist Taupin wearing a "Daddy Who?" promotional badge.
Don't Shoot Me... was also, according to John, the first album during which he felt comfortable experimenting with his vocal performances and style.
The album's title comes from something Elton said during an evening spent with Groucho Marx. After an evening of constant ribbing from Marx, Elton's comeback was to hold his hands up and say, "Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player."The album's cover photograph, which shows a young couple outside a movie theatre whose marquee reads: Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player starring Elton John; on the wall is a movie poster advertising the Marx Brothers' 1940 film Go West as a tribute to Groucho Marx.
The title is also a play on the 1960 François Truffaut film Shoot the Piano Player and the original Oscar Wilde quote "Don't shoot the piano player, he's doing his best", which Wilde said he saw in a saloon on a visit to the U.S.
All tracks are written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
|2.||"Teacher I Need You"||4:10|
|4.||"Blues for My Baby and Me"||5:39|
|6.||"Have Mercy on the Criminal"||5:58|
|7.||"I'm Going to Be a Teenage Idol"||3:56|
|8.||"Texan Love Song"||3:33|
|10.||"High Flying Bird"||4:12|
|11.||"Screw You (Young Man's Blues)"||4:43|
|13.||"Whenever You’re Ready (We’ll Go Steady Again)"||2:51|
|14.||"Skyline Pigeon" (Piano version)||3:56|
|"Skyline Pigeon" (Piano version)||Daniel 7" (US/UK)|
Track numbers refer to CD and digital releases of the album.
Madman Across the Water is the fourth studio album by Elton John, released in 1971 through DJM and Uni Records. The album was his third album to be released in 1971, at which point John had been rising to prominence as a popular music artist. The album contains nine tracks, each composed and performed by John and with lyrics written by songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.
Honky Château is the fifth studio album by English musician Elton John. It was released in 1972, and was titled after the 18th century French chateau where it was recorded, Château d'Hérouville. The album reached number one in the US, the first of John's seven consecutive US number one albums.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is the seventh studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John, first released in 1973 as a double LP. The album has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and is widely regarded as John's magnum opus. Among the 17 tracks, the album contains the hits "Candle in the Wind", US number-one single "Bennie and the Jets", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" plus live favourites "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" and "Harmony".
Here and There, released in 1976, is a live album by British singer-songwriter Elton John; it is his fourteenth official album release. The title refers to the two concerts represented on the album: "Here" is a concert recorded at the Royal Festival Hall in London during the summer of 1974; "There" is a concert recorded at New York City's Madison Square Garden on 28 November 1974.
"Daniel" is a song and ballad performed by Elton John. It appeared on the 1973 album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player. It was written by John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin. In the United Kingdom, the song reached No. 4 in the official chart. In the United States, the song reached No. 2 on the pop charts and No. 1 on the adult contemporary charts for two weeks in the spring of 1973.
"Honky Cat" is a song composed by English musician Elton John with lyrics by Bernie Taupin. It was used as the opening track for John's fifth studio album, Honky Château, released in 1972.
Nigel Olsson is an English rock drummer and singer best known for his long-time affiliation with Elton John.
David William Logan "Davey" Johnstone is a rock guitarist and vocalist, best known for his long-time collaboration with Elton John.
"Crocodile Rock" is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and recorded in summer 1972 at the Château d'Hérouville studio in France, where John and his team had previously recorded the Honky Château album. It was released on 27 October 1972 in the UK and 20 November 1972 in the U.S., as a pre-release single from his forthcoming 1973 album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, and became his first U.S. number-one single, reaching the top spot on 3 February 1973, and staying there for three weeks. In the U.S., it was certified Gold on 5 February 1973 and Platinum on 13 September 1995 by the RIAA.
Dee Murray was an English bass guitarist, best known as a member of the Elton John Band.
"Levon" is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin and recorded by Elton John. He recorded it on 27 February 1971, and released it on his fourth album, Madman Across the Water. Backing vocals are provided by Tony Burrows. Paul Buckmaster wrote the orchestral arrangements and directed the orchestra.
Elton John One Night Only – The Greatest Hits is a live album released by Elton John in 2000. The album was recorded on 20 and 21 October 2000 at Madison Square Garden. An extended version was also released as a DVD, entitled One Night Only: The Greatest Hits Live at Madison Square Garden. The title is "one night only" because the recording equipment failed to tape most of the audio from the first night, leaving only the second night to be recorded as an album. In the US, it was certified gold in July 2001 by the RIAA.
"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" is a song originally recorded by British musician Elton John. John composed it with his long-time songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. It was released on John's best-selling album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) and as the first single. It has been covered by many artists and featured on motion picture, video game, and television soundtracks.
"Bennie and the Jets" is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The song first appeared on the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album in 1973. "Bennie and the Jets" has been one of John's most popular songs and was performed during his appearance at Live Aid.
"Skyline Pigeon" is a ballad composed and performed by English musician Elton John with lyrics by Bernie Taupin. It is the eighth track on his first album, Empty Sky. It was originally released by Guy Darrell and Roger James Cooke simultaneously as a single in August 1969.
Elton 60 – Live at Madison Square Garden is a 2-disc DVD release, starring Elton John performing some of his biggest hits and even several fan favourites. The release features appearances onstage by comedians Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg, as well as special remarks to the audience by lyricist Bernie Taupin. The concert was recorded on Elton's 60th birthday, 25 March 2007, and coincides with his record-setting 60th concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
"Have Mercy on the Criminal" is a song by Elton John released on his 1973 album, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player. It is the most frequent live-track on the album besides the two dominating singles, "Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock".
"Teacher I Need You" is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin that was first released on John's 1973 album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player. The lyrics tell of a schoolboy's crush on his teacher, and the music evokes the sound of 1950s songs. Although never released as a single, the song was popular on album-oriented rock radio stations. It was included in John's live concert sets on a number of tours, including 1973, 1982 and 1984. Artists who have covered the song include Richard Marx and Stephen Cummings.
"Elderberry Wine" is a song written by Bernie Taupin and Elton John that was first released on John's 1973 album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player. It was also released as the B-side of John's #1 hit "Crocodile Rock" in October 1972. It was also popular on album-oriented rock radio stations. John played it live during his 1973 tour. It was covered by Irish-Scots singer Mae McKenna.
Elton John: The Classic Years was a remastering series of Sir Elton John's albums, in which some of the albums included bonus tracks.