Gulliver – Video 5 – Album “Empty Sky”

7 11 2009


We have reached the end of an album, or at least the end of the original release of the album.  Today’s video is Gulliver, the last track from the Empty Sky album.  I’ve elected to only cover the song Gulliver whereas the album features a medley of three songs: Gulliver, Hay Chewed and Reprise.  Hay Chewed is a jazzy instrumental that seems very out of place and Reprise is a medley of 15-20 second clips of each song from the album.  In my opinion these two elements bring the album to a close in poor fashion.  Gulliver in itself, however, is a brilliant Elton John song.

The lyric is about a farm dog who is sick and must be put down.  “Men came from the town” to shoot the animal.  It makes you wonder whether or not this was a first-hand experience for Bernie.  Musically, the song starts in a bluesy minor key building up to a driving major-key chorus.  The song is very simple melodically but it is a true sign of Elton’s song-writing talent.  He has always had a way of writing chord changes that are unbelieveably catchy. Also, I believe this is one of the songs where Elton did a great job of matching the melodic mood to the lyrical mood.  

I remember the first time I listened to this album, with the exception of maybe Skyline Pigeon, this was the song that stood out the most to me.  I just remember thinking it was different than anything I had ever heard, yet strangely easy to listen to.  I hope you enjoy my rendition of Elton John’s Gulliver.  Do not worry, this is not all the material from the Empty Sky era that I will be making videos for.  I will be covering the four bonus tracks from the 1995 re-release of Empty Sky in the next few days.   So look out for those, and as always thanks a lot for following!

Gulliver’s gone to the final command of his master
His watery eyes had washed all the hills with his laughter
And the seasons can change all the light from the grey to the dim
But the light in his eyes will see no more so bright
As the sheep that he locked in the pen

There’s four feet of ground in front of the barn
That’s sun baked and rain soaked and part of the farm
But now it lies empty so cold and so bare
Gulliver’s gone but his memory lies there

By passing the doors of his life was a stage I remember
And in later years he would cease to bare teeth to a stranger
For sentiment touched him as Cyclamen holds him
And later men came from the town
Who said clear the child this won’t take a while
And Gulliver’s gone with the dawn

© 1969 Dick James Music Limited




4 responses

26 02 2011

A longtime favorite on the Empty Sky album, I’m wondering if you’d be willing to share your sheet music for ‘Gulliver’ or let me know where I might find it? Thank you!

20 05 2012

Please can you tell me how to get a copy of this arrangement? I’ve been searching for the piano sheet music for years. Thank you.

22 05 2012

The sheet music I am using is in a book called “The Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin.” It covers songs from Empty Sky, Elton John and Tumbleweed Connection. Here is a link where it can be ordered from

Hope this helps!

7 06 2012

Yes this helps! Thank you very much.

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