Elton John is one of the greatest musicians of all time. His catalog of work is critically acclaimed, and belongs next to the likes of The Beatles and Elvis Presley. For the hundreds of songs he creates, only 100 can be considered his greatest.
Elton John has gone on record as saying he is heavily influenced by The Beach Boys. And the proof is in the pudding. “Chameleon” is as Beach Boys as “Surfin U.S.A.”
99) Bad Side of the Moon
Another early rock song created by the young and naive Reg Dwight. The song was a common visitor to his early setlists. It remains one of Elton’s best rock songs. It would be a welcome to his current stagnant live set.
98) My Elusive Drug
“My Elusive Drug” is an autobiographical account of Elton John’s battle with addiction and subsequent relationship with husband David Furnish. The bluesy piano and string arrangement is a 3 star song from a 2 star album.
97) Right Before My Eyes
Elton wrote “Right Before My Eyes” for his Broadway failure “Lestat.” Elton performed this song solo on TV shows like Ellen and The Today Show. It proved that, behind the pomp and circumstance of Broadway, Elton wrote a endearing love song.
96) Ballad of the Boy in Red Shoes
Regarded by many fans as Elton John’s best track of the new century. Personally, I don’t even think its the best track on the album. The song suffers from a heavy political subject, which is a huge turn off. Elton John often criticized Ronald Reagan before singing this song in concert.
95) Ball and Chain
From the “Jump Up” album, “Ball and Chain” is a fast paced pop song. No rock and roll in this one. But its catchy and fun, and compared to the “Jump Up” album as a whole, its one of the better tracks.
Released at a time when Elton John was trying to reinvent himself musically. As close to an Elton John punk song as you’re going to get. A fun rollercoaster with some funky rhythms. A strong tune that is different from what Elton usually does.
93) Amazes Me
From the 1990 album “Sleeping With the Past,” “Amazes Me” is a tune heavily influenced by black music. It’s got a very gospel ridden soul, and evokes the image of a Southern Baptist Church. One of Elton John’s most beautiful and bare songs.
92) The House Fell Down
On the follow up to 1975’s “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy,” this brother to “I’m Still Standing” is a little more stripped down. But the fun and catchiness remains. The song revolves around Elton’s drug abuse in the 80s.
91) Talking Old Soldiers
One of Elton John’s most underrated songs of the 1970s. A very bare bones song, just Elton John and his piano. The song is about an old soldier who spends his nights all alone in a bar. This song helped give Elton John his folk music credentials.
90) Original Sin
Described by many hardcore fans as the second coming of “Tiny Dancer.” Although some claim that there are similarities, the only thing that the two songs have in common are the beauty in their simplicity.
89) Elton Song
Something happened to Elton John in the late 70s and early 80s. He kind of disappeared. I mean, he was still around, but his songs weren’t as noticeable as before. However, he was able to write a couple decent songs during this time. This includes Elton’s Song, a sad song written about teenage gay romance. Definitely a risque topic for 1980.
88) Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
This 1976 summer time hit is the type of song Elton can write in his sleep. Simple and easy, the song was a bit tongue in cheek. In fact, Elton and Bernie credited their pseudonyms out of sheer embarrassment. But the song is a beloved piece of sweet sugar cane. A guilty pleasure for fans worldwide.
87) The Fox
Elton John experiments with country music in the title track off “The Fox” album. The album itself is dismal, with Elton lack of creativity at the forefront. But “The Fox” is one of the gems on this album.
86) I Swear I Heard the Night Talking
Released as a B-Side in 1990, “I Swear I Heard the Night Talking” is a fast paced pop rock song. It didn’t have hit single potential, but would have easily fit on his 1988 album “Reg Strikes Back.”
A long repetitive stroke of genius. The 1995 album track from “Made In England” could be argued as the best track from the critically acclaimed album. The tune proved Elton John could still write strong relatable ballads.
84) The Retreat
Whoever decided to leave “The Retreat” off “The Fox” album is a lunatic. This ode to a soldiers life could have easily gone the same route as Billy Joel’s “Goodnight Saigon.” A true masterpiece that was cultivated at Elton’s least creative time.
An uptempo pop song from 1992 “The One” album. “Emily” isn’t breaking new ground and is a basic Elton John color-by-numbers song. But its simple and sweet and Elton’s voice lends itself nicely to the chorus.
82) I Feel Like a Bullet
“I Feel Like a Bullet From the Gun of Robert Ford” is the only ballad off the “Rock of the Westies” album. The album was second album in history to debut on the Billboard Top 100 Album Chart. The first on? Elton John’s “Captain Fantastic” album from the a year earlier.
81) Last Song
If there were ever a song that could move a cold hearted person to tears, this would be it. A slow sad song with a haunting chorus. The song is about a man dying of AIDS, who is visited by his father. Incredible.
Bogged down by ballads, “The Wasteland” is a welcome break on the 2001 “Songs From The West Coast” album. It’s a bluesy ode to southern idol Robert Johnson. You’re not going to find “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,” but you will find a musician in his 50s who can still steal your breathe away.
A nice laid back country song from the 1971 Tumbleweed Connection album. Has one of the greatest Elton John opening lyrics ever. “Lately, I’ve been thinking, how much I miss my lady, Amoreena’s in a corn field….”
78) Michelles Song
“Michelles Song” was a part of the soundtrack to the 1971 movie “Friends.” The song, and the movie, was not a big hit. Despite Elton scoring some notice from the other song on this album, “Friends,” this song was far more beautiful and elegantly put together.
77) Where To Now St. Peter
Owning one of Elton John’s best opening lines. “I took myself a blue canoe, and floated like a leaf.” Bernie’s majestic lyrics continue to soar to new levels. Could have been a single off the “Tumbleweed Connection” album. A true folk style ditty.
76) The King Must Die
From Elton John’s second album, Elton John, “The King Must Die” is an orchestral juggernaut.
A funky piano ditty. The lyrics are strange and you won’t get much meaning from them. It’s a good song to shake around and bop your head to. Lyrically, there is no depth.
74) Club at the End of the Street
Elton John was so busy blazing his own style, that he never really got to do Motown. But when he finally released “Club At The End of the Street,” he proved he could do almost any genre of music. The song is very much akin to Rod Stewart’s “The Motown Song.”
73) Come Down In Time
A bluesy folk song with very descriptive lyrics. Bernie Taupin was on his A game and inspired during this time in his career.
72) American Triangle
The first song written for the critically acclaimed “Songs From The West Coast” album. The song is a slow building memoir to the tragedy of Matthew Shepard, who was killed by two young men because he was a homosexual. The song is a moving testament to Elton John’s fight for equality.
A long and somber song, with a dramatic and lovely ending. Simple in the beginning, and grows into a boisterous finish.
70) Can You Feel the Love Tonight
The theme song from “The Lion King” will never be mistaken as the greatest song of all time. But this sugary sweet piece of bubble gum ballad introduced a whole new world to Elton John. And the song is decent, if not somewhat schmaltzy.
69) Captain And The Kid
This song was the sequel to the 1975 title track “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.” It tells the story of where Elton John and Bernie Taupin are now in their life. In this reviewer’s opinion, this is the best track off the “Captain and the Kid” album.
68) The One
A classic Elton John love song. Although a little overblown with the production, it wouldn’t have been such an mega hit if it lacked the drama. It was the song that put Elton john back on the map after his stint in a sober clinic.
67) Look Ma No Hands
In the same vein as “Bitter Fingers,” “Look Ma No Hands” is a triumphant spring walk through Central Park. Its fresh and easy, with lyrics that don’t make you think too much. It was a refreshing break from the typical music Elton was putting out at the time.
66) Teacher I Need You
A goofy but catchy track off the “Don’t Shoot Me…” album. It’s a mix between “Bitter Fingers” and “I Think I’m Going To Kill Myself.”
65) I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That
A popular radio hit from the late 80s. It’s often forgotten about today, as the song doesn’t fit into many radio stations genres. Widely overlooked despite behind a big hit.
A sleeper hit from the 1970s. Taken from the “Honky Chateau” album, the song “Amy” was never released as a single but it earned a lot of radio play on AM radio. Like much of “Honky Chateau,” the song was funky and different. It had a smooth white boy groove to it.
63) Jimmie Rodgers Dream
Spear-headed by one of Bernie Taupin’s best lyrics in years. The mid tempo country song about a trucker on the open road. The song is easy, fun and compatible with his 70s output.
62) All the Girls Love Alice
A nice uptempo rock and roll song. It was proof that Elton, in addition to crafting pop, could write a full tilt rock and roll song. The song swings back and forth from raucous guitar riffs to a nice slow chorus. Elton’s voice is in top form.
61) Empty Garden
This sweet song, dedicated to John Lennon, was released on the “Jump Up” album. The song is nice, and comes with a unique chorus. But it doesn’t sound like your typical “my friend died” song. I don’t know. It’s a great song, but there’s something about it that makes me feel unsatisfied.
Countrified and soulful, this is the type of Elton John song that he can write in his sleep. A mid-tempo bouncy song about birds. Nothing more.
59) Elderberry Wine
A fresh and suitable pop rock song for its time. The song still holds up today, though it was never good enough to be a hit single.
58) Ballad of a Well Known Gun
A tremendous country bumpkin song. Comes from the album “Tumbleweed Connection” which was Elton’s only album to not have a radio single. The entire album was a critical success, and “Well Known Gun” is in the top.
Released as a single in 1995, “Blessed” was a very minor hit and received a lot less radio play than its predecessor “Believe.” It’s a nice song, but nothing as innovative as “Believe.”
56) You Gotta Love Someone
The southern ballad is kind of like Billy Joels “River of Dreams.” It was a part of the movie “Days of Thunder.” Decent song but a very minor blip in the commercial charts.
When I first heard “Tinderbox” I wanted to cry. Not because of the content. But because I was happy knowing my favorite artist Elton John could still write music like the old days. “Tinderbox” is as close to 1970’s Elton John as you’re going to get in 2011.
“Nikita” is one of those songs you tend to forget how good it really is. Elton’s crooning 80s voice is at it’s pinnacle in this popular hit from the cartoonish era. Lyrically, Taupin has seen better days. Funny enough, the video depicted Nikita as a Russian woman, even though the name is decidedly male.
53) Live Like Horses
Elton 1997 album “The Big Picture” was, musically at least, a big flop. However, “Live Like Horses” is a diamond in the rough that is “The Big Picture.” A bit overdrawn, and maybe even tired, the some is still able to evoke emotion. The chorus makes the song, whilst the rest of the tune is boring and plotting.
52) So Sad The Renegade
“So Sad The Renegade” is an unfortunate victim of choice. Written for the “Peachtree Road” album, “Renegade” never got an official release. It was leaked out by hardcore fans. What was found was a great country song, both lyrically and musically.
51) Have Mercy On The Criminal
A broad orchestral arrangement brings this song from “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player” to life. Elton’s young voice is tested in this particular chorus.
50) Blues for Baby and Me
A great example of what Elton John does best. Create lovely ballads that evoke imagery and imagination. This catchy ballad comes from “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player,” which also includes the epic “High Flying Bird.”
49) Island Girl
A number one hit for Sir Elton. A song like this wouldn’t even be promoted today. The song makes constant references to “Black Boy” and “the white mans world.” Funky and hip for its time. Doesn’t really hold much weight today.
48) Skyline Pigeon
Elton John has gone on the record stating this is the first “good” song he ever wrote. Originally written for the Empty Sky album, John later re-recorded the song. It is a huge hit in Brazil.
47) When Love is Dying
The only true love ballad from “The Union,” and its typical overblown Elton John. But its not bad, especially since its the only type of song from that specific album. Sometimes, one takes comfort in hearing Elton strain “ooooh.”
46) Pinball Wizard
If anybody could do a The Who song better than The Who, it would be Elton. Elton john performed “Pinball Wizard” for the rock opera Tommy, and later released his version of “Pinball Wizard,” which became a Billboard hit.
45) Mona Lisas and Madhatters
Elton John’s ode to New York was featured in the movie “Almost Famous” and was also dedicated to the men and women of New York City, at the Concert for New York in 2001.
An eight minute movie rolled into the lyrics of Bernie Taupin and Elton John’s piano and string arrangement. Though written in 1974, the song remains relevent even today. The song tells a story similar to that of Columbine and Virginia Tech.
Perhaps Elton John’s greatest song of the 1990s is “Believe.” Strong, poignant, and extremely meaningful. “Believe” has everything a good pop song needs. The ultimate 90s power ballad with memorable chorus and inspired Bernie Taupin lyrics.
42) This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore
The epitome of what a closing album track should be. Powerful, strong, and dull of emotion. But best of all, it keeps the listener wanting more. The song gives the album a sense of completion, but keeps the customer hooked. In one word: Tremendous.
41) Crocodile Rock
Elton has admitted that “Crocodile Rock” was kind of a cartoonish tongue in cheek song. And in some interviews, he claimed he wished he never wrote the song. Its a fun and fast goof, but carries a great 50s Spector-like flair to it. The extremely popular hit is a great road sing along.
40) Holiday Inn
A nice mid tempo tune about a musicians home away from home, the Holiday Inn. Nothing too spectacular about this song. It’s just a good Elton John song and up to par with all of his early 70s work.
39) Gone To Shiloh
Elton John’s collaboration with Leon Russell resulted in several incredible pieces of work. That includes “Gone To Shiloh.” Think of Billy Joel’s “Goodnight Saigon,” but without the nifty helicopter sound. The song also includes vocals from Neil Young.
38) Blue Eyes
One of Elton’s more famous 80s songs. Its very Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin like. Crooning Elton John at his best. The song fits well into his more coarse voice of today.
37) Bitter Fingers
The jittery “Bitter Fingers” comes off the “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” album. The song is about Elton John’s time when he was a pub singer in England. The song contains some fun pub style piano riffs.
36) The Best Part of the Day
the opening lines to “The Best Part of the Day” gives me goose bumps. It’s one of the most incredible opening lines in music history. “I hear him singing, I shall be released. Like a chainsaw cutting, through a masterpiece.” Incredible imagery mixed with legendary talent. The best song on the album “The Union.”
35) High Flying Bird
A nice upbeat country love song from “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player.” Great swinging chorus and lovely backing vocals from his Elton John Band.
34) Bennie and the Jets
I dare you to try and not tap your feet, clap your hands or sway your head to the beat of this mega hit for the piano prodigy. A number one hit on the R&B charts, the surprise hit single launched Elton John even further into the stratosphere of pop music. One of his most famous songs of all time.
33) Border Song
Once covered by Aretha Franklin, “Border Song” comes from the self titled “Elton John” album. This gospel tinged song was regularly played on radio and featured on television talk shows. It helped gain attention to the rising star.
32) Burn Down The Mission
The last track from the critically acclaimed “Tumbleweed Connection.” Arguably the best track off the awesome album. Still remains on Elton John’s concert set list, despite being written in 1971 and never having been a single.
31) Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
From the opening acoustic notes, “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” is a long journey through the musical life of Elton John and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. Despite the lyrics being unrelatable because its autobiographical, the song rolls smoothly and is easy to understand.
30) Grey Seal
Despite not being released as a single, “Grey Seal” was a funky album track that was played on several radio stations throughout the 70s. Its one of Elton’s best known album tracks. Bernie has admitted the lyrics don’t have any meaning and it was just a fun lyric that drooled from his head.
29) Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Although written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, Elton John covered this song in the mid 70s. And oddly enough, accomplished something The Beatles weren’t. He took “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” to number one on the Billboard charts.
28) Little Jeannie
A surprise hit in 1980. Little Jeannie is one of those popular songs for its time, but doesn’t last for a great period. Sounds like it could’ve been written for someone like Andy Gibb.
27) Someones Final Song
A dark depressing tune. Suitably coming from the “Blues Moves” album, “Someones Final Song” is great, but the subject matter and the manner in which Elton sings it, makes you want to slice your wrists. Very sad and depressing tune.
A fun and funky rock and roll song. The last track on the 1972 Honky Chateau album. Recently returned to Elton John’s live concert set list after several years on the shelf.
25) Better Off Dead
From the autobiographical “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” album. Despite being short on time, the song packs quite a punch. Turn up the bass on this song.
24) Honky Cat
A hit single for Elton John in the early 70s. The catchy chorus is infectious and the listener will find themselves singing along to the ditty.
23) I’m Still Standing
I always describe “I’m Still Standing” as a pack of the candy pop rocks, being poured into your mouth all at once. It pops. It bounces up and down. Its fun for three minutes. But you can’t eat pop rocks all the time.
A bluesy romantic love letter. Mellow is rich with emotion and Elton’s piano is at the forefront. An underrated love song by Elton and Bernie Taupin.
21) Hey Ahab
Whether it was Leon Russell or T-Bone Burnett who inspired Elton John, but whoever it was, Thank you. “Hey Ahab” is the kind of funky countrified rock songs Elton John was putting out in the early 70s. A true return to form.
20) Madman Across the Water
“Madman Across the Water” is a dark song. The piano and strings lurk, while Elton sings Bernie’s shadowy lyrics.
19) Something About the Way You Look Tonight
Some people might forget, but “Something About The Way You Look Tonight” was once the most popular song in the world. At least, according to Billboard charts. The pop love song was one of Elton better compositions of the 90s. The single was released with “Candle in the Wind 97,” which is why it was the largest selling song of all time.
18) I Should Have Sent Roses
Although not written by Elton John, he did participate in the song as part of his collaboration with Leon Russell. And quite honestly, it’s one of the best songs on the album. Russell proved to be just as competent writer as Elton John.
17) I Think I’m Gonna Kill Myself
A jaunty tune that is completely opposite the depressingly sad title. Reminiscent of a pub song, with a great sing a long chorus. Kudos to tap dancing solo. Makes a world of difference.
16) Tiny Dancer
Although this song remains one of Elton John’s greatest hits of all-time, the over-played anthem has gotten old. The song was much better preserved as a gem to hardcore Elton John fans. Now the song can be heard on local car dealership commercial spot. Regardless of its lost luster, the song keeps new fans discovering the rocket man.
15) Take Me To the Pilot
The piano pounding in “Take Me to the Pilot” would make any rock star blush. The album track pales in comparison to the live version. Even better, a solo version that Elton does live in concert.
The famous upbeat Elton John tune released in 1972. The radio hit single has long been discussed as controversial lyric. Taupin claims the song wasn’t inspired by anything in particular, just a headline he read in the newspaper.
A little known gem from the “Blue Moves” album. In the same vein as “Funeral For A Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding,” in that the song is heavy on a musical performance. The song comes in at just under eight minutes long. Its a sweet serenade that many married couples could probably relate to.
12) Rocket Man
The epic ode to space discovery. On the same level as David Bowie and Captain Tom. The songs lyrics are brilliantly obtuse, allowing the listener to make this song about anything they wish.
11) Indian Sunset
This song would have been an epic hit if it weren’t so long. The song is a story rolled into six minutes of bliss. Based on the plight of Native Americans, Elton John’s young voice soars through the lines with peak perfection. “Indian Sunset” is a personal favorite. If you never heard it, download it immediately.
10) The Greatest Discovery
Lyrically, the song is about the birth of Bernie Taupin;s younger brother. Its sweeping string arrangement by Paul Buckmaster is one of the most beautiful moments in music history.
9) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Regarded as one of Elton John’s most unique songs. Incredibly original for its time. The song is complete with one of the most revered chorus’s in music history. Also, unlike many of todays artists who depend on studio tricks, the chorus was never sped up on Elton’s chorus. He sung it the way it sounds on tape.
8) I Want Love
Perhaps Elton John’s greatest musical achievement of the 21st century is the amazing ode to The Beatles, “I Want Love.” At a time when his popularity was low, Elton regained exposure by releasing a powerful and popular love ballad. The song was a hit with the MTV generation, and the video was on constant rotation at the music channel.
7) Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
One of Elton John’s most recognized and beloved songs. An incredible song that has been covered by many artists. But nobody has ever sung it with as much raw emotion as Elton. It’s like a breathe of fresh air the minute those opening notes touch the ear.
6) I Guess Thats Why They Call It The Blues
One of Elton John’s biggest hits and rightfully so. “I Guess Thats Why They Call It The Blues” is everything that is right with pop music. The song is catchy, not bloated and easy on the ears. Easily it the top of Elton John’s greatest hits of all time.
5) Funeral For A Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding
Unbelievable. The most epic masterpiece Elton John has ever written. A joyous 11 minute music track that takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. Too long to be a hit a radio single, the song has gone on to become a popular staple in concert.
A true undercover gem from the classic album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Despite never being released as a single, the song remains one of Elton John’s most popular catalog titles. Elton has stated a number of times that if the song had been released it certainly would’ve been a number one hit. Easily one of Elton’s greatest songs from the 70s.
3) Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Arguably one of the greatest songs of all time. The song is autobiographical and pertains to Elton’s marriage and subsequent failed suicide attempt. The chorus was sampled by Kanye West for his song “Good Morning.”
2) Candle In The Wind
The quintessential Elton John song. It will be the tune that the rocket man is most remembered for. It is quite possibly the most perfect song Elton has ever written. This refers to the 1973 and 1988 versions. The 1997 version was a mega hit, but that was not because of the song.
1) Your Song
The quintessential Elton John song. Quiet. Simple. Loving. Elton John’s voice is so young and tender, and full of pureness. There are not many ways to describe the soothing mood “Your Song” creates.