Elton John is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. The English singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer began his career in 1962 and has continued to have success in a career that spans seven decades. The music genres with which Elton John are usually associated include rock, pop-rock, glam-rock, and soft-rock. He is known for singing and playing the piano during his performances. Since 1967, John has collaborated with lyricist Bernie Taupin on more than 30 albums. John is an award-winning artist as he has won five Brit Awards, five Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, two Academy Awards, a Disney Legends Award, a Tony Award, and a Kennedy Center Honor. In 1992, John was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years later. During his extensive and successful career, Elton John has released 31 studio albums, 22 compilation albums, nine soundtrack albums, three tribute albums, four Eps, five live albums, 137 singles as the main artist, and 21 singles as a featured artist. Here are the 20 best Elton John songs of all time.
20. Crocodile Rock (1972)
‘Crocodile Rock’ pays homage to the rock and roll era that inspired Elton John. It was a number one hit in Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and Switzerland, and it was certified Platinum in the United States. This song was on the album ‘Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player.’
19. Tiny Dancer (1971)
When Elton John released Tiny Dancer in 1971, it was a flop. It had featured on John’s fourth studio album ‘Madman Across the Water.’ However, the song had a revival when it featured in the 2000 film ‘Almost Famous‘. The track’s use in this film gave it a place in popular culture, and it has since become one of John’s most beloved songs. Despite being released in 1972, the single was not certified Gold in the United States until 2011, and it was later certified Platinum in 2018.
18. Blue Eyes (1982)
‘Blue Eyes’ was a Grammy-nominated song that Elton John produced at the midpoint of his career. It topped the US Adult Contemporary chart and was a top ten hit in the UK, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, and Ireland. The song was the first of five singles released from the album’ Jump Up!’
17. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (1973)
Elton John is better known for his ballads, but he has also released some great rock songs, and ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’ is an excellent example. This rock song was one of the singles released from the 1973 album ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.’ It features an outstanding guitar riff by guitarist Davey Jones. This song was most successful in the UK, where it reached number seven on the charts.
16. Daniel (1973)
‘Daniel’ became one of Elton John’s ballads. It featured on the album ‘Don’t Shoot me I’m Only the Piano Player.’ It topped the US Adult Contemporary chart and was also a number one hit in Canada. ‘Daniel’ was also a top ten hit in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Norway, Switzerland, and New Zealand. The song was certified Platinum in the United States.
15. Rocket Man (1972)
The Guardian lists the 1972 single ‘Rocket Man’ as one of Elton John’s best songs of all time. Bernie Taupin was inspired to write the lyrics of this song when he saw something in the sky. One of the lines in the songs refers to getting high, which was prophetic of the drugs problem that John developed later in the 1970s. This song was also a turning point in John’s style, as he went from a plain, bespectacled singer to a vibrant pop singer that wore glam-rock-inspired outfits.
14. Circle of Life (1994)
Tim Rice and Elton John co-wrote ‘Circle of Life’ for the Disney animated film ‘The Lion King.’ It was certified Gold in the UK, the United States, and Germany. The song was most successful on the US Adult Contemporary chart, as it peaked at number two. ‘Circle of Life’ was also a top ten hit in Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, and Switzerland. It featured on the soundtrack from the movie.
13. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ was the title track from the 1973 album of the same name. It was inspired by Elton John’s obsession with the film ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ The lyrics refer to how he is disillusioned with life and dreams of enjoying the simpler things. It is a ballad that is a typical example of the musical style for which Elton John is best known.
12. Can You Feel the Love Tonight? (1994)
‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ was another song co-written by Elton John and Tim Rice for the film ‘The Lion King,’ and it featured on the soundtrack album from the movie. Initially, it was a humorous song that was sung by a warthog and a meerkat. However, John felt that the song deserved more than to simply become a comedy song. Not only was it one of the most memorable songs from the Disney animated film, but it also won a Grammy and an Oscar. It was certified Gold in Germany, the UK, and the United States.
11. Your Song (1970)
When ‘Your Song’ was released in 1970, it was originally a B-side track for the single ‘Take Me to the Pilot.’ However, radio stations and music critics preferred ‘Your Song,’ so the record was flipped to feature ‘Your Song’ on the A-side. It was a top ten hit in the United States, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, and Norway. The song was certified double-Platinum in both the UK and the United States. It featured on Elton John’s self-titled album, which was his second studio album. In 2002, John re-released ‘Your Song’ with Alessandro Safina for Sport Relief, and it peaked at number four on the UK chart.
10. Nikita (1985)
‘Nikita’ was one of John’s biggest hits of the mid-1980s. It is about a man’s unrequited love for a border security guard called Nikita. The song was a top ten hit in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland. It was also a hit in Poland, where it was certified Platinum.
9. I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blue (1983)
According to Louder Sound, one of the best Elton John songs of all time is ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues.’ John had very few hits in the early 1980s, and this single was something of a comeback for the artist. It featured Stevie Wonder playing the harmonica. It featured on the alum ‘Too Low for Zero,’ and it reached number two on the US Adult Contemporary chart.
8. I’m Still Standing (1983)
‘I’m Still Standing’ was one of Elton John’s biggest hits of the 1980s. It is about overcoming obstacles in life and has become a symbol of endurance. It was a number one hit in Canada and Switzerland and a top ten hit in the UK, Australia, Germany, and Ireland. This track, which was on the ‘Too Low for Zero’ album, was certified Platinum in the UK and double Platinum in Australia.
7. Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word (1976 and 2002)
Elton John collaborated on the lyrics of this song alongside long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin, and it is about a dying relationship. John originally released the single in 1976, and it topped the US Adult Contemporary chart. A version was then released by the boyband ‘Blue’ in 2002, and this featured Elton John. The later version topped the charts in the UK and the Netherlands, and it was a top ten hit in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Norway, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
6. Are You Ready for Love (1979 and 2003)
‘Are You Ready for Love’ is a single from the album ‘The Thom Bell Sessions,’ and it was originally released in 1979. Elton John then re-released the song in 2003, which was remixed by Ashley Beadle, and it reached number one on the charts in the UK. In the same year, The Spinners also released a cover version of the song.
5. Ghetto Gospel (2005)
Elton John is not usually associated with the hip-hop scene, yet he scored another hit when he collaborated with 2Pac on the single ‘Ghetto Gospel,’ which also featured on John’s album ‘Loyal to the Game.’ This collaboration topped the charts in the UK, Australia, and Ireland. It was also a top ten hit in Germany, Norway, and Switzerland.
4. I Don’t Feel Like Dancing (2006)
During the 2000s, Elton John had a run of successful singles with other artists, including ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancing.’ The song was an international success, as it topped the charts in Australia, the UK, Belgium, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland. The Scissor Sisters are a pop-rock band that was formed in 2001, and its members include Jake Shears, Ana Matronic, Randy Real, Del Marquis, and Babydaddy.
3. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (1976)
‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ was one of Elton John’s earlier collaborations as this song is a duet with female singer Kiki Dee. It was John’s first number one hit in the UK, and it also topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States. Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote this song choosing to use the pseudonyms Ann Orson and Carte Blanche.
2. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (1974 and 1991)
Some of Elton John’s biggest hits have been when he has collaborated on a track with another artist, and ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ is an excellent example. Originally, Elton John released the song as a solo single in 1974 and is featured on the album’ Caribou.’ It was then released as a duet by Elton John and George Michael in 1991. This track is a ballad about unrequited love. It was a number one hit in several countries, including the UK, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States. In the Netherlands, it was certified Platinum.
1. Candle in the Wind (1973 and 1997)
In terms of commercial success, ‘Candle in the Wind’ is one of the best Elton John songs. According to Undiscover Music, Elton John first released this song in 1973, and it was a tribute to Marilyn Monroe. Following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, Elton John released the song again with altered lyrics. It became the second-highest selling singles of all time and the highest-selling singles since the charts were introduced in the 1950s. The song was a number one hit in the UK, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland.