Singing
Resurfaced video shows a young Elton John playing ‘Tiny Dancer’ for the very first time
That blue-jeaned, ballerina girl who's also the seamstress for the band is a real person.
Luis Gaskell
11.04.22

Every great piece has to start somewhere.

The most gorgeous paintings out there started as just another weekday project for an artist. And some of our favorite songs had humble beginnings too.

An old video resurfaced of Elton John explaining the origin of his hit “Tiny Dancer”.

Twitter screenshot - @JamesL1927
Source:
Twitter screenshot - @JamesL1927

The 1970 hit is quite the earworm.

The piano tune John wrote for it is amazing on its own, though it’s the lyrics that we’re looking at today.

In this old video, a young Elton John breaks down what went into writing the song.

The lyrics describe a very specific woman.

Too specific to just be a made-up woman.

Twitter screenshot - @JamesL1927
Source:
Twitter screenshot - @JamesL1927

“There’s one here I did just the other day called ‘Tiny Dancer,’ which is about Bernie’s girlfriend. I looked through all them and this is the one I fancied doing, mainly because I knew Bernie would like me to do this one.”

Indeed, the lyrics actually refer to Maxine Feibelmann.

She was the first wife to Bernie Taupin, a collaborator to Elton John who co-wrote this song.

Twitter screenshot - @JamesL1927
Source:
Twitter screenshot - @JamesL1927

Elton John makes it clear that the lyrics would only work with a slow, gentle song.

A faster-paced, heavy tune simply wouldn’t work. It’s all thanks to the specific word “Ballerina”.

“As soon as you see ‘ballerina’, you know it’s not gonna be fast. It’s gotta be sort of gentle and slow.”

They’d written the song days earlier, and it seems like they wrote it on a crumpled piece of paper.

John pulled it out, uncrumpled it, and then played the song for the first time.

John’s voice in the live first performance of the song is nearly indistinguishable from the studio recording.

It shows just how amazing of a singer he is.

Twitter screenshot - @JamesL1927
Source:
Twitter screenshot - @JamesL1927

In the room with them is Maxine herself, the tiny dancer whom the song talks about.

Of course, she likes the song quite a lot.

Not everyone gets to have a song written about them as a tribute.

Maxine revealed in 2019 that it was like receiving the greatest gift that 2 of your best friends could ever give you.

Twitter screenshot - @JamesL1927
Source:
Twitter screenshot - @JamesL1927

There was no question the song was about her.

She was into ballet as a kid and sewed all kinds of patches onto Elton’s clothes.

She did marry the music man as the song goes. Though they divorced in 1976.

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A post shared by Elton John (@eltonjohn)

Maxine and Taupin remained friends, nonetheless.

And the song’s legacy is still here. The 2022 song “Hold Me Closer” by Elton John and Britney Spears samples “Tiny Dancer.”

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A post shared by Elton John (@eltonjohn)

However, critics weren’t as widely fond of this song.

It’s simply a mashup and reuse of John’s older songs with some new vocals thrown in, they say.

I suppose when you make a lot of masterpieces like John, it makes it harder for any new stuff you release.

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A post shared by Elton John (@eltonjohn)

People will always compare them to your best ones, and you won’t always get the most favorable comparisons.

See the classic moment in music history in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Luis Gaskell
[email protected]
Luis Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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