Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player: The Album That Made Elton John a Superstar
Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player is the sixth studio album by English musician Elton John. Released in January 1973 by DJM Records, it was the first of two studio albums he released in 1973 (the second was Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, released nine months later), and was his second straight No. 1 album in the US and first No. 1 album in the UK. The lead single \"Crocodile Rock\" yielded John his first No. 1 single in both the US and Canada. \"Daniel\" was also a major hit from the album, giving him his second Canadian No. 1 single on the RPM Top Singles Chart and No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reaching No. 4 in the UK, one place higher than achieved by \"Crocodile Rock\".
In this article, we will explore the background, production, and reception of this classic album that cemented Elton John's status as one of the biggest stars of the 1970s.
The title of the album came from friend and actor/comedian Groucho Marx. Elton was playing the piano at a party at Groucho's home; Groucho, who referred to him as 'John Elton', held out his middle and index finger in the style of a pistol. Elton then raised his hands and said \"Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player\" at Marx's gun imitation.
The album was a result of Elton's desire to use his band more prominently and add guitarist Davey Johnstone to the lineup. He had felt bored and frustrated with his previous album Madman Across the Water, which featured only him on pianos and keyboards, Dee Murray on bass, and Nigel Olsson on drums. He wanted to create a more diverse and dynamic sound that would showcase his versatility as a songwriter and performer.
The album was recorded at the ChÃteau d'HÃrouville in France, also known as \"Strawberry Studios\", which was how the studio was credited in the album's sleeve; Honky ChÃteau, the previous Elton John album, had been recorded there as well. The album featured horns arranged by producer Gus Dudgeon on \"Elderberry Wine\" (the B-side to \"Crocodile Rock\"), \"Midnight Creeper\" and \"I'm Going to Be a Teenage Idol\", the latter of which was inspired by John's friend, T-Rex frontman Marc Bolan. Paul Buckmaster returned to add strings on \"Blues for Baby and Me\" and \"Have Mercy on the Criminal\".
The album showcased Elton's diverse influences and styles, ranging from rock and roll (\"Crocodile Rock\"), pop ballads (\"Daniel\"), country (\"Texan Love Song\"), blues (\"Blues for Baby and Me\"), gospel (\"High Flying Bird\"), and even French chanson (\"Teacher I Need You\"). The lyrics by Bernie Taupin were also varied, touching on themes such as nostalgia, love, crime, fame, and religion.
The album was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic, topping the UK and US album charts. It is one of only three albums to feature just the core band of John on pianos and keyboards, Davey Johnstone on guitars, Dee Murray bass and Nigel Olsson on drums, without percussionist Ray Cooper.
The album received mostly positive reviews from critics, who praised Elton's musical diversity and maturity. Rolling Stone called it \"a fine record that shows off every aspect of Elton's increasingly confident talent\". AllMusic gave it four stars out of five, saying that it \"illustrates what a skilled craftsman Elton John has become\". The Daily Vault gave it a B+, noting that it \"contains some of his most memorable songs\".
The album also spawned two of Elton's most enduring hits: \"Crocodile Rock\" and \"Daniel\". The former was a tribute to the early rock and roll era of the 1950s and 1960s, featuring a catchy chorus and a nostalgic piano riff. The latter was aa16f39245