Tiny Dancer
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Tiny Dancer

"Tiny Dancer"
Elton John Tiny Dancer.jpg
Single by Elton John
from the album Madman Across the Water
"Razor Face"
Released7 February 1972 (1972-02-07)
Format7-inch single
Recorded9 August 1971
StudioTrident Studios, London
GenreSoft rock, pop
  • Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Gus Dudgeon
Elton John singles chronology
"Tiny Dancer"
"Rocket Man"
Music video
"Tiny Dancer" on YouTube

"Tiny Dancer" is a song by Elton John with lyrics by Bernie Taupin. It appears on John's fourth album, Madman Across the Water, and was released as a single in 1972. In the U.S. it was certified Gold on 19 May 2005, and Platinum on 19 August 2011, and 3x Platinum on 26 April 2018 by the Recording Industry Association of America.[1] In the UK, "Tiny Dancer" has been certified Gold on 17 August 2018 by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales of 400,000 copies. On 2 August 2019 it was certified Platinum for sales of 600,000 despite never being released as an official single. Back-up vocals are provided by Tony Burrows.[2]

Background and writing

With lyrics written by Bernie Taupin, the song was first featured as the opening track to John's 1971 album, Madman Across the Water. The song's lyrics were inspired by Taupin's first visit to the US in 1970, and were intended to capture the spirit of California, where he found the women he met highly contrasted with those who he had known in his home country of England.[3][4][3][5][6] Taupin stated in a 1973 interview in Rolling Stone that the song is about Maxine Feibelman, his wife at the time.[7]


The song features piano-based accompaniment during verses. The arrangement start features pedal steel guitar played by English guitarist BJ Cole, light percussion, Paul Buckmaster's strings and a very quiet choir.

Due to the song's lengthy run time[3] and lack of a hook, "Tiny Dancer" was initially a non-starter as a single in the US, reaching only #41 on the U.S. pop chart, and was not even released as a single in the UK. The song fared better in Canada, where John had much of his early commercial breakthrough success, peaking at #19. It was also a hit in Australia, peaking at #13. Eventually, the song slowly became one of John's most popular songs even in the territories that initially failed to embrace it, and the full-length version is now a fixture on North American, UK and Australian adult contemporary and rock radio stations. The song also received a boost of popularity after having been prominently featured in the 2000 film Almost Famous.[3]

It was ranked No. 397 on the 2010 list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[8]

Music video

In May 2017, an official music video for "Tiny Dancer" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival as a winner of Elton John: The Cut, a competition organized in partnership with AKQA, Pulse Films, and YouTube in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of his songwriting relationship with Bernie Taupin. The competition called upon independent filmmakers to submit treatments for music videos for one of three Elton John songs from the 1970s, with each song falling within a specific concept category. "Tiny Dancer" was designated for the live-action category, with the competition won by Max Welland. The video was filmed in Los Angeles, and features scenes of various residents driving around the city,[9][10] including musician Marilyn Manson.[11]


Chart (1972) Peak
Australia 13
Canadian RPM Top Singles[12] 19
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary[13] 20
UK Singles Chart 70
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 41
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary[14] 35
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[15] 29

Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[16] 3x Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

In 2002, Ben Folds covered "Tiny Dancer" for his live album, Ben Folds Live. The song was later released as a promo single.

Country music artist Tim McGraw covered the song on his 2002 album Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors. McGraw also performed the song, with Elton John, at the American Music Awards.

In 2009, DJ Ironik and Chipmunk created a remix of the song, featuring John singing the chorus, which peaked at No.3 in the UK Singles Chart.[17]

A version featuring Mary Black, Paddy Casey and Declan O'Rourke was recorded in Galway, Ireland in 2012 as a charity single. This version reached number one on the Irish Singles Chart.[18][19]

Florence and the Machine covered the song on the 2018 tribute album Revamp: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.[20]

In popular culture

In the 1975 film Aloha Bobby and Rose, an American road drama film written and directed by Floyd Mutrux, the song features amongst other Elton John songs in the soundtrack as part of a radio station's Elton John feature weekend. The film starred Paul Le Mat (American Graffiti) and Dianne Hull in addition to Robert Carradine in an early role.

In 1980, Season 2 Episode 17 of WKRP in Cincinnati, Russian defector Ivan Popasonaviski says to Bailey Quarters and then later to Les Nessman, "Hold me closer, tiny dancer". At the end of the episode, the song is briefly heard.

In the 1996 Friends episode "The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy", Phoebe refers to the song as "...the one Elton John wrote about that guy from "Who's the Boss". She then sings the words, "Hold me close, young Tony Danza..."

In the 2005 The Office episode "The Dundies", the song is featured when Michael Scott is singing a parody of it edited for the Dundie awards until he is interrupted and is played again at the end of the episode.

In 1971, Elton John performed the song on the first series of The Old Grey Whistle Test. The performance has been released as part of The Old Grey Whistle Test - Volumes 1-3 Box Set.[21]

It features in the rock film Almost Famous (2000), set in the year 1973, where the main characters sing the song while driving on a bus.[6]

Joseph Gordon-Levitt performed the song in a lip-syncing competition against Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Merchant on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show.[22]

A brief parody version of the song was broadcast on Saturday Night Live (Season 39, Episode 17, 5 April 2014), in which Kate McKinnon appeared as Angela Merkel and sang, to the tune of "Tiny Dancer", "Hold me closer, German Chancellor".[23]

The UK-based department store chain John Lewis, used the song on their August 2015 insurance advert.[24]

Donald Trump has used the song during his 2016 presidential rallies as his entrance and exit song.[25]

In his 2017 single, "Castle on the Hill", Ed Sheeran references the song.[26]

On her 2017 studio album Lust for Life, Lana Del Rey referenced the song on her track "Tomorrow Never Came" featuring Sean Ono Lennon.

On his 2018 single "Don't Leave Me Alone" (feat. Anne-Marie), David Guetta referenced the song.[27]

In 2019, Welsh actor Taron Egerton sang this song in the biographical film Rocketman. [28][29]

On the October 15, 2019, episode of reality television singing competition show The Voice, Team (John) Legend members Destiny Rayne of Nashville, Tennessee, and Katherine "Katie" Kadan of Chicago, Illinois, performed an arrangement of the song in a Battle round. Coaches Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani both preferred Kadan's vocal performance, while coach Kelly Clarkson abstained from naming her preference, instead just telling both singers that she hoped that they both survived the round. In the end, Legend opted to agree with Shelton and Stefani and named Kadan the winner of the Battle, advancing her to the Knockout rounds. Soon after, both Shelton and Stefani attempted to steal Rayne onto their teams, and after both pleaded their cases to her, she ultimately opted to join Team Gwen, advancing to the Knockouts rounds on Stefani's team. [30]


  1. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA: Elton John". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ Tony Burrows: A Six-Time One-Hit Wonder
  3. ^ a b c d "Readers' Poll: Best Elton John Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ Singh, Anvita (25 March 2018). "Why Elton John's Tiny Dancer's oft-misread lyrics doesn't stop it from being a favourite". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ "Bernie Taupin :: Discography". berniejtaupin.com. Archived from the original on 21 December 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Tiny Dancer by Elton John". Songfacts. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ Gambaccini, Paul (16 August 1973). "Elton John: The Rolling Stone Interview He and Bernie Taupin talk about the ups, downs and in-betweens". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 4 July 2011. Archived from the original on 29 April 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  9. ^ "WATCH: Elton John and Bernie Taupin's 'Tiny Dancer,' 'Rocket Man' and 'Bennie and the Jets' Just Got New Music Videos". People.com. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "Elton John Premieres Three Music Videos for His '70s Classics". Out Magazine. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ "Behind the Scenes of the New 'Tiny Dancer' Video". EltonJohn.com.
  12. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 16 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 16 February 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-1993. Record Research. p. 122.
  15. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 4/08/72". tropicalglen.com. Archived from the original on 26 May 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ "American single certifications - Elton John - Tiny Dancer". Recording Industry Association of America.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.
  17. ^ McAlpine, Fraser (24 April 2009). "DJ Ironik ft. Chipmunk & Elton John - 'Tiny Dancer'". BBC Online. Retrieved 2018.
  18. ^ "Video: Elton heads galaxy of stars backing Lily-Mae's cancer fight". Independent.ie. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ "Tiny Dancer - A Song for Lily-Mae" Archived 27 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, November 2012
  20. ^ Variety Staff (15 March 2018). "Two Elton John Tribute Albums -- With Mary J. Blige, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, More -- Coming in April". Variety. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ The Old Grey Whistle Test (DVD). Warner Home Video. 2003.
  22. ^ "Lip Sync Battle with Joseph Gordon Levitt, Stephen Merchant and Jimmy Fallon" on YouTube, 24 September 2013
  23. ^ Kate McKinnon and Colin Jost (5 April 2014). Weekend Update: Angela Merkel on being the Peace Keeper. NBC. Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ "Elton's 'Tiny Dancer' Used in Advert for John Lewis Home Insurance". The Official Site of Elton John. 24 August 2015. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ Millward, David (27 April 2016). "Trump wants Elton John to perform at his inauguration". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ "Ed Sheeran - Castle On The Hill". Genius. Retrieved 2017.
  27. ^ "David Guetta ft Anne-Marie - Don't Leave Me Alone (Lyric Video)". 26 July 2018. Retrieved 2018 – via YouTube.
  28. ^ https://mashable.com/video/elton-john-taron-egerton-tiny-dancer-academy-awards/
  29. ^ https://hugogloss.uol.com.br/filmes/rocketman-taron-egerton-canta-a-classica-tiny-dancer-em-novo-video-da-cinebiografia-de-elton-john-assista
  30. ^ https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/tv/2019/10/15/the-voice-blake-shelton-gwen-stefani-battle-over-double-steal/3991522002/

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes