Cheese Gem: “Levon”

A quick midweek Cheese Gem — since I can’t find any songs about being on deadline, though I’m sure there are some:

I love this ridiculous song. Love, love it, love it.  Yes, it’s absurdly sophomoric social commentary, to the degree that it makes any sense at all. But it is one of Elton’s best vocals ever, and has a string section ever rocked quite like this?

Listen to the bass in the verses. And then, in the bridge — under all that “Jesus, he wants to go to Venus” stuff — the bass all but drops out, and the cellos pick up the bass line precisely, playing the same fills. It is  just such a homely and touching detail, and it suits this odd, unhappy song. The strings are the heart of this one.

(Paul Buckmaster arranged the strings on this and on many of Elton John’s early records, and he’s still doing that job for pop and rock acts now.)

About Bridey

Bridey has been a music nut since falling in love with Elton John's "Caribou" album in grade school (why that one? I was nine). She's a magazine editor by trade who writes regularly about radio, music, and related industries.
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