Be My Elton (not like that)

Bernie Taupin and Elton John are a tremendously successful songwriting team, though they work in a rather unorthodox manner. Bernie writes the lyrics, then sends them to Elton who puts them to music. The two never interact.

I’d like to try a similar arrangement. I’ll post some lyrics here on this blog, and you to set them to music. Anyone and everyone is welcome. In fact, I can’t think of any reason why there can’t be multiple musical versions of the same lyrics (if there actually is some reason this can’t happen, please let me know).

I’m going to start with the lyrics to two songs (I’ll post more in the future). Feel free to take minor liberties with them to make them work melodically. Once you’ve got something, let me know either by leaving a comment here, or emailing me at hankstewart@gmail.com. Feel free to pass this link on to any of your musically oriented friends–the more, the merrier!

Taupin and John. Rogers and Hammerstein. Loesser and Lowe. Jagger and Richards. McCartney and Lennon. You and me? Hey, you never know.

Here are the first two songs:

“Degree of Finish”

lyrics by Hank Stewart
© 2007

What happens when the varnish wears thin?
How does it feel when the rust creeps in?
I’m seeing through your thin veneer,
And the message is clear,
Our degree of finish is drawing near.

Your polish and sophistication,
No longer tools of bright flirtation.
The sheen no longer holds its gloss,
Reflecting only pain and loss.
Our degree of finish extracts its final cost.

CHORUS:
It was only superficial,
The pledge you made to me.
A coffee table book of love,
Strictly meant for company.

Our love was only skin deep.
Not a difficult promise to keep.
Scratch the surface, and get only a splinter.
The emotional stamina of a sprinter.
A few days of fall before a cold, dark winter.

CHORUS:
It was only superficial,
The pledge you made to me.
A coffee table book of love,
Strictly meant for company.

————————————————————————————-

“Wireless Puppet”

lyrics by Hank Stewart
© 2007

You’re a prisoner of your own mobility.
Can’t break away from your cell.
An exercise in futility,
And those who wish you well.

CHORUS:
Wireless puppet,
Dancing without a string.
Wireless puppet.
Always the latest thing.

Downtown cabs and crosstown buses.
Laughter all around the town.
Spilled martinis and big hair musses.
A smoker’s voice that sounds profound.

CHORUS:
Wireless puppet,
Dancing without a string.
Wireless puppet.
Always waiting for a ring.

Another coat check, another smile.
Lipstick smeared across the miles.
Conversation turns hard and terse.
Can you throw this thing into reverse?

One more call to find salvation.
Before the dawn finds you alone.
Voicemails open to interpretation.
A China doll saved by the ringtone.

CHORUS:
Wireless puppet,
Dancing without a string.
Wireless puppet.
The play is not the thing.

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