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"Big Dipper"
Song by Elton John

from the album A Single Man

Released October 16, 1978
Recorded January-September 1978
Genre Dancehall, pop
Length 4:04
Label MCA (US/Canada)
Rocket Records
Writer Elton John, Gary Osborne
Producer Clive Franks, Elton John
A Single Man track listing
"I Don't Care"
"Big Dipper"
"It Ain't Gonna Be Easy"

"Big Dipper" is a song by Elton John with lyrics by Gary Osborne. It is the fourth track off his 1978 album, A Single Man. It gained notice for not being included on the Russian release of the album due to the meaning of the song.

Musical structure

The music is not reminiscent of anything else that John has ever done. The main part of the song is a jaunting piano joined by a New Orleans-inspired jazz horn section. The drum and pass pattern also follows this, making it sound like something that could easily be ragtime. The backing vocals on this song is John's then-owned football team, Watford F.C.. This is one out of their two appearances on this album.

The last verse is adapted from an old classic, "Makin' Whoopee".

Lyrical meaning

It was banned when released in the Soviet Union along with another song, "Part-Time Love". The song could tell about a man looking for love with a sailor, using "Big Dipper" (which in British slang is a rollercoaster, and an asterism in the American language) as a substitute for a penis. The sailor says he can't handle anymore, so the man "filled him up with all kinds of stuff to relax him". This could symbolize that a drug rape was taking action. The third verse opens with "He hadn't been too keen at the start - now he seems to have a change of heart", indicating that the sailor finds out about his homosexuality, and therefore continues his relationship. The song ends fading out with the line: "Another ride, another tune, another crazy afternoon, another reason for squeezin' your big dipper".

It was a highly controversial issue to put in a song at that time, but since the album nor the song gained was very commercially successful, it did not gain widespread notoriety.




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