Song of the Day #4,273: ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues’ – Elton John

While the world has self-quarantined to stave off the dreaded coronavirus, I figured now is as good a time as any to immerse myself in the more innocent world of the early 1980s.

Yes, it’s the latest installment of my ‘Decades’ series, where I feature the albums from a certain year across four decades (70s to 00s). Last time out I explored 1973, which brings us to 1983. I was 11 years old and hadn’t started up much of a music collection myself, but so many of the artists I’ll write about were very familiar even then.

In fact, 1983 has proved to have such an embarrassment of riches that I am going to dedicate a full five weeks to it. I’ll first count down my favorite 15 ’83 albums, and then showcase 10 unfamiliar (to me) albums that achieved critical and/or commercial success.

My #15 album of 1983 is Elton John’s Too Low For Zero. I gave this record a full listen during my recent deep dive into John’s catalog and found it quite good.

The album was a hit for John after a series of disappointing releases. Not coincidentally, it was his first album in seven years written entirely with Bernie Taupin. The movie Rocketman dramatizes their falling out and the role this album played in John’s comeback.

Too Low For Zero features a number of great songs, including the title track and the hits ‘I’m Still Standing’ and ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues.’ Other worthy cuts include ‘Cold As Christmas (in the Middle of the Year),’ ‘Crystal’ and ‘One More Arrow.’

[Verse 1]
Don’t wish it away
Don’t look at it like it’s forever
Between you and me, I could honestly say
That things can only get better

[Pre-Chorus]
And while I’m away
Dust out the demons inside
And it won’t be long before you and me run
To the place in our hearts where we hide

[Chorus]
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues
Time on my hands could be time spent with you
Laughin’ like children, livin’ like lovers
Rollin’ like thunder under the covers
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues

[Verse 2]
Just stare into space
Picture my face in your hands
Live for each second without hesitation
And never forget I’m your man

[Pre-Chorus]
Wait on me, girl
Cry in the night if it helps
But more than ever, I simply love you
More than I love life itself

[Chorus]
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues
Time on my hands could be time spent with you
Laughin’ like children, livin’ like lovers
Rollin’ like thunder under the covers
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues

[Harmonica solo: Stevie Wonder]

[Pre-Chorus]
Wait on me, girl
Cry in the night if it helps
But more than ever, I simply love you
More than I love life itself

[Chorus]
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues
Time on my hands could be time spent with you
Laughin’ like children, livin’ like lovers
Rollin’ like thunder under the covers
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues

[Outro]
(Laughing like children, living like lovers)
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues
(Laughing like children, living like lovers)
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues
And I guess that’s why they call it the blues

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,273: ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues’ – Elton John

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Looking forward to spending the next 5 weeks in 1983 with you.

    I was 16 in 1983, a sophomore in high school and working at Vibrations Record Store at 147th street and Biscayne Boulevard. At the time, a new fangled thing called a compact disc was being introduced as an alternative to vinyl records or cassette tapes. As I recall, I had initially bought Too Low For Zero on vinyl, but loved it so much that I then bought the CD.

    In the movie Rocketman, it is suggested that this album was not just a commercial comeback, but also the beginning of John’s sobriety. I read, however, that he didn’t really get clean until around 1990. Regardless, this remains a great comeback album and “One More Arrow” still stands as one of the most beautiful poignant songs John has ever recorded.

  2. Peg says:

    I was 40 in 1983. Hard to believe. Not sure what music I was listening to other then our favorite artists (Sinatra etc.). I’m looking forward to being reminded 😊

  3. Amy says:

    1983 👍🏼💗 This will be a welcome distraction over the next several weeks of uncertainty. I’ve always loved today’s SOTD, though I never owned the album (on vinyl or that new-fangled CD 😜)

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