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Elton John, the original piano man, never wrote his own lyrics. That was Bernie Taupin's job, and he wrote some humdingers: from "Sad Songs Say So Much" to the classic "Candle In The Wind", all of his words packed an emotional wallop.

At first listen, this song seems to be an exception. Filled with a gorgeous Imaj7-VIImaj7 chord progression that seems to keep the song in an endless rolling wave, Elton's electric piano solo on the song has enough elements of both blues and ragtime to suggest a grand old time is being had.

This song happens to be my mother's favorite song. Growing up, I heard it off and on constantly. When I learned to play the piano, this was one of the first songs I picked up by ear. I still had never really cared much for lyrics at that point, and even less so in the context of "this is some damn good music." Allegedly, the song was just a kissoff to Chrissie Hynde (In 1974? Yeah, right), but at the time I took that at face value, given the only lyrics I knew and my lack of history lessons.

So when I saw it hadn't been noded on E2 (heresy!) I decided to remedy that. I went and found the lyrics online, and .. I was shocked.

This song is a rebel's lovesong.

Reading the lyrics over and over makes me think of Elton's faux cameo in Almost Famous, waving to his fans. This song, like the man, is larger than life. It's so simple and sexy ("shake it loose together", yeah, you know what that means) and defiant and groovy ("fight our parents in the streets") that even thinking about it now gives me the willies.

Maybe it won't have the same impact on you: after all, this is the guy who wrote "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?", so I understand your raised eyebrow. But seriously, read these lyrics out loud, or sing it to the tune, or make up your own if you don't know it. Then go download the song or pop it on the hi-fi and give it another go, and see if you don't feel empowered by the power of music and la vie.

Bennie and The Jets
(Music by Dwight, Words by Taupin)

Hey kids, shake it loose together
The spotlight's hitting something
That has known to change the weather
We'll kill the fatted calf tonight, so stick around
You're gonna hear electric music
Solid walls of sound

Say, Candy and Ronnie have you seen them yet
Oh, but they're so spaced out
B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets
Oh but they're weird and they're wonderful
Oh Bennie she's really keen
She's got electric boots a mohair suit
You know I read it in a magazine, oh-ho
B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets

Hey kids, plug into the faithless
Maybe you're blinded
But Bennie makes them ageless
We shall survive, let us take ourselves along
Where we fight our parents out in the streets
To find who's right and who's wrong

Say, Candy and Ronnie have you seen them yet
Oh, but they're so spaced out
B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets
Oh but they're weird and they're wonderful
Oh Bennie she's really keen
She's got electric boots a mohair suit
You know I read it in a magazine, oh-ho
B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets
Take it away...

Say, Candy and Ronnie have you seen them yet
But they're so spaced out
B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets
Oh but they're weird and they're wonderful
Oh Bennie she's really keen
She's got electric boots a mohair suit
You know I read it in a magazine, oh-ho
B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets

For an excellent cover, see Biz Markie.