Skyline Pigeon – Video 4 – Album “Empty Sky”

3 11 2009

Elton-and-Bernie-Gallery-2-In concert Elton John often declares Skyline Pigeon to be the first song that he and Bernie ever wrote that they actually felt excited about.  Its strange beacuse this is the first video I’ve recorded for the blog that I really feel excited about.

Today’s post is Skyline Pigeon, track eight (or track four from side two) of the Empty Sky album.  I agree with Elton and think that this song is truly the first song with genuine credibility that Elton and Bernie wrote.  The melody is true Elton John style and moves beautifully through the chord changes.  The song is written like a hymn, which I mentioned before became a very signature Elton John style.  In the recording that is featured on Empty Sky, he chose to use the harpsichord again.  All instruments and vocals on the track are done by Elton (the only other instrument being an organ).  There is an echo on Elton’s vocal track providing even more hymnal quality to the song.  The song was again recorded in 1972 as a B-Side for the Daniel single.  On this version, Elton brought in the band and instead played the song on piano. 

Once again, I decided not to use the harpsichord sound in my version.  I kind of modeled my version after a few different versions of Elton’s recordings.  I used pieces of his version from the Here and There album in London, the Empty Sky album and the B-Side to Daniel.  This song lent itself very well to emotive playing.  Its a great song to vary volumes and intesities of playing. 

I also relate well to the lyric.  I think it could be intrepreted as breaking free from youth.  I think it can also be intrepreted as a song about death; it could be about someone who has struggled with an illness and is finally being released from their illness by death.  Elton played this song at the funeral of Ryan White in 1990.  As many of you know, in the late 1980’s Elton had befriended the young Indiana boy who had been infected with HIV by way of a blood transfusion.  Ryan dealt not only with the disease itself but also with a great deal of biggotry and hatred from the community around.  When Elton played this song for Ryan, I believe that is what he was describing as he sang the line “I want to hear the pealing bells of distant churches sing. But most of all please free me from this aching metal ring and open out this cage towards the sun.”

Enjoy my rendition of Skyline Pigeon, and please leave your feedback as you see fit.

Turn me loose from your hands
Let me fly to distant lands
Over green fields, trees and mountains
Flowers and forest fountains
Home along the lanes of the skyway

For this dark and lonely room
Projects a shadow cast in gloom
And my eyes are mirrors
Of the world outside
Thinking of the way
That the wind can turn the tide
And these shadows turn
From purple into grey

For just a Skyline Pigeon
Dreaming of the open
Waiting for the day
He can spread his wings
And fly away again
Fly away skyline pigeon fly
Towards the dreams
You’ve left so very far behind

Just let me wake up in the morning
To the smell of new mown hay
To laugh and cry, to live and die
In the brightness of my day

I want to hear the pealing bells
Of distant churches sing
But most of all please free me
From this aching metal ring
And open out this cage towards the sun

© 1969 Cookaway Music Limited

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One response

5 11 2009
Wembley75

Great job!! Loved it thanks

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