Elton John’s favourite song by The Beatles is an unlikely choice

Elton John’s favourite song by The Beatles is an unlikely choice

Elton John's favourite song from The Beatles is unexpected given their huge amount of hits.Elton John’s favourite song from The Beatles is unexpected given their huge amount of hits. Picture: Getty

It’s a fact: The Beatles paved the way for a generation of stars that followed them.

During their ten year tenure as a group, the Fab Four broke an insurmountable series of records and completely changed the landscape of pop and rock music.

They were the perfect package of charming personalities and songwriting chops that shifted ahead of the times, moulded popular music culture to their whim as they went.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon, together with the talents of George Harrison and Ringo Starr, also wrote an inexplicable number of enduring hits that remain as potent today as ever.

We surely all remember the first time we heard The Beatles and all have our favourite song of theirs – the band have provided the soundtrack to most of our lives.

But not everyone was completely enamoured by the Liverpudlians, including some of the most celebrated artists that followed in their footsteps.

At least they weren’t at first, namely Elton John, who remembered that it took him some convincing before admitting he was a fan.

In 2019, the ‘Rocket Man’ revealed which song changed his opinion and remains his favourite song of theirs to this day. The song? ‘We Can Work It Out’.

Elton John admitted it took him longer than most to warm to The Beatles. (Photo by Robert Altman/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)Elton John admitted it took him longer than most to warm to The Beatles. (Photo by Robert Altman/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Exposed to The Beatles by a school friend of his – who was also a member of their official fan group – Elton admitted that he didn’t warm to the legendary band immediately.

“I remember being at school and my friend Michael Johnson came with a 45 and said ‘I’ve just heard this band, they’re gonna be the biggest band in the world, and it was ‘Love Me Do’.”

“I’ve listened to and said, ‘It’s not bad, it’s not bad’. I couldn’t see that they would be the biggest band in the world, and he turned out to be right. I think he was number four in the fan club. So he spotted them a mile off.”

“Of course, what the 1950s did with rock ‘n’ roll, The Beatles were extraordinary”, Elton told broadcaster Ken Bruce.

“They revolutionised the way things were recorded, even though it was with quite simple equipment, they experimented, and they wrote fantastic songs”.

But his favourite song of the band’s, ‘We Can Work It Out’, didn’t even appear on an album of theirs, though it was released as a Double-A single in 1965 with ‘Day Tripper’.

The Beatles in 1965.

The Beatles in 1965. Picture: Getty

We Can Work It Out (Remastered 2015)

Talking about why ‘We Can Work It Out’ means so much to him, Elton said: “‘We Can Work It Out’ is such a wonderful song. Stevie Wonder did an amazing version of it.”

“I can’t even begin to think of how many people covered Beatles songs. There is so much I could have chosen.”

“I was amazed when I was at Sain-Tropez playing at the Papagayo Club with my band Bluesology, Revolver was out and it was a big part of my life. But I’ve chosen (‘We Can Work It Out’) because I just love the song.”

Though he confessed it took him much longer than most to become a full convert to The Beatles, Elton remains hugely grateful for their work and the deep influence it had on his decision to become a musician.

What must’ve been even stranger for Elton, was that he would later befriend one of the band’s key songwriters in John Lennon, and would even collaborate with him.

Elton became good friends with Lennon, who appeared on-stage together in what would be John's final ever live concert performance in 1974. (Photo by Steve Morley/Redferns)Elton became good friends with Lennon, who appeared on-stage together in what would be John’s final ever live concert performance in 1974. (Photo by Steve Morley/Redferns). Picture: Getty

During the celebrations of Lennon’s 80th birthday in 2020, Elton revealed to his son Sean Lennon the impact his father and his former band had on Elton’s musicianship.

He referred to the time they’d spent together in the 1970s when they collaborated on Lennon’s huge solo hit ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’.

Elton would provide harmonies and piano parts for the track which appeared on John’s fifth solo album Walls & Bridges in 1974.

“That was the kind of wonderful two or three-year whirlwind romance we had, and it was such an important thing in my life, Sean” he revealed.

‘It just really helped me. It gave me so much confidence. Your dad was as kind and as generous and sweet, and we just hit it off immediately.”

“We laughed so much because we talked about the 50s and 60s and where we grew up”, Elton said, revealing that his music world came full circle.

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