Elton John – ‘Tiny Dancer’
  • Writers: Elton John (music) and Bernie Taupin (lyrics)
  • Producer: Gus Dudgeon
  • Recorded: August 9th, 1971, at Trident Studios, London, England
  • Released: February 1972 (single)
  • Players:
    Elton John–vocals, piano
    Caleb Quaye–electric guitar
    B.J. Cole–steel guitar
    Davey Johnstone–acoustic guitar
    David Glover–bass
    Roger Pope–drums
    Leslie Duncan, Sue & Sunny, Barry St. John, Liza Strike, Roger Cook, Tony Burrows, Terry Steel, Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson–backing vocals
  • Album: Madman Across The Water (Uni, 1971)
  • Also On:
    Greatest Hits, Volume 2 (MCA, 1986)
    Live In Australia (With The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) (MCA, 1987)
    To Be Continued… (MCA, 1990)
    Greatest Hits 1970-2002 (Island, 2002)
  • “Tiny Dancer” is dedicated to Maxine Feibelman Taupin, lyricist Bernie Taupin‘s first wife.
  • The record’s six-minute length kept it from being a big chart hit — it was never released as a single in the U.K., and it didn’t even crack the top 40 in the U.S.
  • The string arrangements were by Paul Buckmaster, who has collaborated intermittently with Elton John over the years.
  • At the time, John was touring with two side musicians, but their playing isn’t featured on the song. Still, bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson sang backup for “Tiny Dancer.”


  • Bassist Dee Murray died of a stroke on January 14th, 1992.
  • Dudgeon and his wife were killed in a car accident July 21st, 2002.
  • Guitarist Davey Johnstone has remained a constant presence in John’s band, while drummer Nigel Olsson rejoined John for his 2001-2002 concert dates.
  • Despite periodic highly publicized “retirements,” John has continued to record and perform.
  • He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
  • Since coming out as gay, John has become increasingly active in promoting AIDS research and tolerance for AIDS sufferers, including an annual post-Oscar party to raise money for his own foundation.
  • He’s branched out into film and theater work, including soundtracks and scores for successes including The Lion King, The Road To El Dorado, and Aida, as well as Lestat, which closed after dismal reviews. In fact, John and lyricist Tim Rice won an Oscar in 1995 for Best Original Song for The Lion King‘s “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.”
  • His reworked version of his hit “Candle In The Wind,” in memory of the late Princess Diana, was recorded to raise money for the Princess Diana Of Wales Foundation.
  • John received the Grammy Legend Award at the 2000 ceremony and courted controversy at the 2001 ceremony by performing with rapper Eminem.
  • John celebrated his 50th birthday on March 25th, 1997, and Britain’s Royal Academy Of Music named John an honorary member — the 175-year-old school’s top honor. John studied piano at the Royal Academy in the ’60s, when he was considering a career in classical music. The Academy termed John a “prodigiously gifted child” who would have progressed to the senior level had he continued.
  • John has taken the British government to task for its record in AIDS prevention and awareness. He told the Sky News service that he’s “disgusted with the way the health service in England is operating. We (in Britain) had a great record on AIDS when we started, but that record is now not as good as it was under the (conservative Margaret) Thatcher government. You should be ashamed of yourselves — you’re socialists, or supposed to be. For God’s sake, we live in the 21st century — the trains don’t work, the health service doesn’t work, people are dying from AIDS, what are you doing? Get your act together, it’s a disgrace.”
  • In 2004, John launched a long-running show called The Red Piano in Las Vegas.
  • John played the Live 8 show in London on July 2nd, 2005, then flew to Philadelphia to headline the Philadelphia Freedom Concert And Ball two days later to raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Philadelphia-area HIV/AIDS provider organizations.
  • John and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin released a sequel to Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy in 2006, titled The Captain & The Kid.

“Tiny Dancer” is featured prominently in the film Almost Famous.