Friday, July 31, 2009

"Holiday Inn" by Elton John and Bernie Taupin

Well, today's blog will be a deep in depth study on the somewhat legendary Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition "Holiday Inn." Ok, let us learn, a little bit more...

The song "Holiday Inn" was included on the 1971 Elton John release "Madman Across the Water" back in the early days of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin writing team (Elton would write the music, and Bernie the lyrics of course), but what you man not have known was that the lyrics went through a few incarnations or transformations, Below you can hear the song Holiday Inn as it appeared on "Madman Across the Water" at youtube which was graciously posted by youtube user Nalencer:

What many Elton John fans may not be aware of was the deletion of the line "the tv don't work and the french fries are cold/ and room service closed about an hour ago." This version can be heard on this live performance of the song which is generously provided by at youtube by hrleo...

An earlier version of the song "Holiday Inn" (which can be found on The Unsurpassed Dick James Demos's Vol. 3 CD) sheds yet more light on this evolution. Elton originally sang "You ain't seen nothin'/ till ya been... in a motel PRISON, like the Holiday Inn." Which is a good deal more edgy than the more common lyrics "till ya been... in a motel, baby" and feels more like other John/Taupin compositions from that era. This version of the song for us is luckily posted with kudos to mab5805 at youtube...

So, you may be wondering, why so many changes between original versions and later versions. Well, if you have read the biography of Elton John written by author Phillip Norman, or if you are perhaps you are old enough to remember (and I certainly hope for your sake, you aren't that old) then you know that Elton's song "Holiday Inn" was actually used in commercials promoting the hotel chain of the same name. Now, I am speculating here, but it appears Elton sold out a little bit in order to make the extra cash in the Holday Inn commercials and modified the song, changing it from being about a dreary experience in a relatively low budget hotel, and romanticizing the experience.

Here are the complete lyrics for the song "Holiday Inn" by Elton John and Bernie Taupin in the most common form from the 1971 release "Madman Across the Water":

Elton John
Madman Across the Water (1971)

Boston at last and the plane's touching down
Our hostess is handing the hot towels around
From a terminal gate to a black limousine
It's a ten minute ride to the Holiday Inn

Boredom's a pastime that one soon acquired
Where you get to the stage where you're not even tired
Kicking your heels till the time comes around
To pick up your bags and head out of town

Slow down Joe, I'm a rock and roll man
I've twiddled my thumbs in a dozen odd bands
And you ain't seen nothing till you've been
In a motel baby like the Holiday Inn

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