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Original Handwritten Lyrics For Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ To Go Under The Hammer

This is the original first draft of the lyrics to ‘Your Song’, arguably the crown jewel of the Elton John and Bernie Taupin songbook.

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Elton John Bernie Taupin Lyrics Auction
Photo: John Ruso

A preview of The Original Handwritten Lyrics written by Bernie Taupin for Elton John’s Your Song, the iconic track that catapulted Elton John’s career to stardom, will be on show at Bonhams, Montpelier Street, London from 10-14 October, in advance of Bonhams Rock and Roll Memorabilia Sale which will take place at Bonhams New York on 19 November.

This is the original first draft of the lyrics to ‘Your Song’; arguably the crown jewel of the Elton John and Bernie Taupin songbook. The world-famous song was created one morning on the roof of 20 Denmark Street, in Tin Pan Alley, the epicentre of London’s music industry in the 1970s, and where the young Elton was working as an office boy for a music publishing firm.

The lyricist Bernie Taupin was waiting there for John, which is how the line “I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss” materialised. After being handed the lyrics, John took all of 10 minutes to come up with the haunting melody that accompanies Taupin’s paean to young love.

‘Your Song’ was first released in America in October 1970 as the B-side of ‘Take Me To The Pilot’, before its popularity provoked the record company to switch it to the A-side. Critics fell at the feet of Elton and Taupin’s hit record. At the time of its release, Derek Johnson from NME wrote, “The song itself is glowing and strangely haunting, the scoring is smooth and delicate and the performance is symptomatic of a new era in pop idols.”

John Lennon compared John and Taupin’s talent with The Beatles, proclaiming “that’s the first new thing that’s happened since we (The Beatles) happened.”

Your Song is John and Taupin’s first classic hit and timeless piece of piano-based pop songwriting. It remains one of the most identifiable and best-loved songs that the long-term collaborators worked on and holds an immortal position in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Catherine Williamson, Director of Books and Manuscripts at Bonhams commented: “’Your Song’ played a pivotal role in projecting both Elton John and Bernie Taupin into the limelight. It is a remarkable song that has stood the test of time and this original script highlights that its longevity is due to the mastery of the two artists.”

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