Elton John turns 74 Thursday, March 25th, and he’s marking the occasion by sharing six rare songs from his 2020 box set Elton: Jewel Box on streaming services for the first time. One of them is 1967’s “Scarecrow,” the first song he wrote with Bernie Taupin.
“Scarecrow’ will always have a very special place in my heart, and I know that Bernie feels the same way too,” John said in a statement. “It’s the song that started it all. This last year in lockdown has given us all time to look back and reflect — finding this song again when I put together the Jewel Box and thinking of everything that has happened in our careers and friendships that has sprouted from this one point is just remarkable.”
“Jewel Box contains the embryos of something special, and ‘Scarecrow’ goes right to the heart of that, naive compositions of a time and place that went on to become something very special indeed,” he continued. “What a wild ride it’s been so far, and how lucky we are to have found each other.”
He’s also shared “Holiday Inn,” “Keep It a Mystery,” “Smokestack Children,” “Two of a Kind,” and “Conquer the Sun.” Like nearly everything on the eight-disc Jewel Box, which came out in November, they are songs that have received little attention over the years, especially since John’s concerts focus largely on his hits.
“If you play concerts, and Mick Jagger will back me up on this, if you don’t play those songs, people will get pissed off,” John told Rolling Stone last year. “You put a couple of new songs in and people will take a toilet break, usually.”
But when the pandemic ends and John finishes his Farewell Yellow Brick World tour, he hopes to stage a special series of shows that will focus solely on his deep cuts. “I don’t want to sing ‘Crocodile Rock’ again and I don’t really want to sing ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’ again,” he said. “They are wonderful songs. They have done me very well. But there are other songs like ‘Original Sin’ and ‘American Triangle’ that I want to sing.”
John has been off the road since the pandemic hit in March 2020. He hopes to resume playing shows in October with a run of European arenas. North American dates are on the books in the early months of 2022, and he’s even mapped out a New Zealand tour in January 2023.