Bennie and the Jets
April 29, 2016 § Leave a comment
Sometimes, Elton John didn’t like his own songs. He couldn’t even get the name spelled right on this one. The track is spelled Benny on the sleeve of the single and in the track listing of the album, but Bennie on the album vinyl disc label. Makes no difference, I guess, but I prefer Bennie – just seems right. Besides, it’s such a fun song to perform, who cares how it’s spelled? Well, I kinda do…. but I’m way too anal.
Unlike most of Elton’s arrangements, this one is remarkable in its simplicity. We have piano, bass, one rhythm guitar, drums, and a sprinkling of organ at the very end. Those powerful G major piano chords at the beginning are just begging for more and seem lonely. In fact, after recording it, the band sat back in the studio and said “That’s really very odd”. Elton thought it was too empty and definitely didn’t want it released as a single. But, of course it was, and became one of his most popular hits.
Today, in concert, it’s like he doesn’t quite know what to do with the song. He might play it true to the original, simple and uncluttered. Or, if he’s feeling frisky, he’ll go on for 20 minutes improvising between two chords – GM7 and FM7. If you plan on performing it straight and true, my arrangement here will suit you just fine. However, if you’d like to jazz it up a bit, there’s LOTS of room for your keyboard acrobatics. But you’ll have to learn the song… imagine that.
Here’s Elton and his acrobatic piano: