The obvious keepers on Honky Chateau are ‘Honky Cat,’ ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.’ The latter two songs would be at or near the top if I were to rank the 37 songs I ended up with on my Elton John playlist.
I’ve always been fascinated by the writing arrangement between Elton John and Bernie Taupin, wherein John writes all the music and Taupin all the lyrics. It’s hard to imagine the lyrics of ‘Your Song’ or ‘Daniel’ being written completely unaware of the melodies that would one day support them. And it’s equally hard to imagine the music of ‘Levon’ or Tiny Dancer’ being written with no clue what words would fill their spaces.
But I suppose one of those cases must be true, because theirs is not an active collaboration. Their process takes place (as one tribute album alluded to in its title) in two rooms.