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"Someone Saved My Life Tonight"
Single by Elton John
from the album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
B-side "House of Cards"
Released 23 June 1975
Genre Rock
Length 6:45
Label MCA (US/Canada)
DJM Records
Writer(s) Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Elton John singles chronology
"Philadelphia Freedom"
(1975)
"Someone Saved My Life Tonight"
(1975)
"Island Girl"
(1975)

"Someone Saved My Life Tonight" is an Elton John song from his album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. It is written in the key of G-flat, though after having vocal chord surgery in 1987 that resulted in the loss of his falsetto range, John began performing the song in the key of F. It concludes side one in the album's telling of the history of John's and lyricist Bernie Taupin's struggles to find careers within the music industry. When released as the album's only single in 1975, it reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and entered the top 25 on the UK Singles Chart.

Taupin's lyric refers to a time in 1969, before John was a popular musician, when John was considering marriage to his girlfriend, Linda Woodrow. John and Woodrow were sharing a flat with Taupin on Furlong Road in the East End of London, hence the opening line "When I think of those East End lights." While having serious doubts about the looming marriage, John contemplated suicide. He took refuge in his friends, especially Long John Baldry, who convinced John to abandon his plans to marry in order to salvage and maintain his musical career. As a sign of his respect and gratitude for Baldry, Taupin wrote him into the song as the "someone" in the title,[1] and as the "Sugar Bear" mentioned in the lyrics.

In an October 2005 installment of Inside the Actor's Studio, John demonstrated how the song's piano-based introduction and structure was emotionally strengthened by using the fifth of the opening G-flat chord (a D-flat) in the bass. He spoke in terms of an F chord, reflecting the key he now performs the song in. According to John, it was Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys from whom he first heard this technique.

Pop Culture

Walter Jackson recorded a version of the song for his 1976 album Feeling Good.

Kanye West sampled the song for "Good Morning", a song on his his 2007 album Graduation.

The song was covered by The Ralph Sall Experience for the 2008 film Hamlet 2.

This song is referenced frequently by Father Callahan in Stephen King's book, Wolves of the Calla.

This song is featured in the trailer for the 2002 film Moonlight Mile directed by Brad Silberling, starring Susan Sarandon, Dustin Hoffman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Partially based on Silberling's dealing with the aftermath of the murder of his girlfriend actress Rebecca Schaeffer.

Sheryl Crow's song "Always on Your Side" features the lyric, "Butterflies are free to fly/Why do they fly away" in reference to this song's "Butterflies are free to fly/Fly away, high away/Bye, bye"

Axl Rose covered parts of the song on his piano as an intro to November Rain during the 2009/2010 Chinese Democracy World Tour.

References

External links

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