Writer(s): Elton John, Bernie Taupin (see lyrics here)
Released: February 7, 1972
First Charted: March 4, 1972
Peak: 41 US, 29 CB, 32 HR, 35 AC, 1 CL, 19 CN, 13 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 1.2 UK, 4.69 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 201.37 video, 484.68 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Elton John’s breakthrough came in 1970 with “Your Song,” a top-10 hit in the United States and UK. He followed it up with a couple of U.S. top-40 hits (“Friends,” #34, and “Levon,” #24) in 1971. He then stalled at #41 with “Tiny Dancer,” the second single from the 1971 album Madman Across the Water. While such a downward trajectory might suggest one’s career had peaked, that was far from the case for Elton John, who went on to land six #1 songs during the 1970s and was named the #1 artist of the decade by Billboard magazine.
Despite its low peak in the U.S. and failure to even get a single release in the UK, “Tiny Dancer” has become one of Elton’s most iconic songs. Songfacts.com suggests, “part of the song’s enduring popularity owes to how it was never overplayed.” SF Perhaps not at the time, but it has amassed more than 2 million plays on radio over the years. It has also become one of his biggest sellers, ranking as one of his top 7 in the UK and top 3 in the United States. Rolling Stone ranked it as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time in 2003, ranking it as high as #47 on their 2021 update of the list.
The song was given a boost in 2000 because of its appearance in the movie Almost Famous, specifically a scene on a tour bus when everyone starts singing along to “Tiny Dancer.” Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg called Elton and said, “There’s a scene in the film which is going to make ‘Tiny Dancer’ a hit all over again.” SF Prior to that, Elton said the song didn’t always get a great reaction when he played it live, but after that it became a regular part of his setlists. SF
Bernie Taupin, who has written lyrics for most of Elton John’s hits through the years, wrote the song about Maxine Feibelman, his first wife. RS500 As she said, “I had been into ballet as a little girl and sewed patches on Elton’s jackets and jeans.” WK Regarding the latter, the song refers to her as the seamstress for the band. It also says she married a music man, which clearly refers to Taupin. Despite all that, Taupin has said the song isn’t about her but his reflection on his first visit to the United States and specifically the women he saw in California. SF
DJ Ironik reworked the song as “Tiny Dancer (Hold Me Closer)” in 2009 and took it to #3 in the UK. The song was revised again in 2022 as “Hold Me Closer.” An official video for the song was finally made in 2017. This time it was a duet between Elton John and Britney Spears. It reached #3 in the UK and #6 in the United States.
First posted 11/4/2022.