Song of the Day, February 16: Grey Seal by Elton John

EJohnGreySealToday’s song is an old track rebuilt for a classic album. Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote Grey Seal in 1970 and used an early version as the B-side to Rock and Roll Madonna. While assembling tracks for their masterpiece, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, they dusted it off and breathed powerful new life into it. By this time John’s band were a tight, well-honed unit, and they invest the mini-epic with subtle rock power.

It’s an oddly mystical song for Taupin, who noted two decades later, “I hadn’t a clue what I was writing about.” Despite that obscure origin, the lyric contains some fine imagery — notably

On the big screen they showed us the sun
But not as bright in life as the real one
It’s never quite the same as the real one

The result is a celebration of heroism, contrasting reality with illusion. John gives it his vocal all, and the result is a highlight of a long, illustrious career.

Enjoy this amazing song today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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