Friday, September 13, 2013

1973: Daniel

I’m running little late for today’s second week feature from 1973. “Daniel,” the second of two Top 5 singles from “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player,” made it to #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts.

The song was written from the vantage point of a younger brother of a Vietnam vet who returned to Texas after losing his sight in the war. Unfortunately, some of this information is not presented in the version recorded by Elton John, as the verse that speaks of the war and the wounds was cut prior to the recording of the song.

Daniel, the older brother, escapes from his physical and personal pain by traveling to a place he loved to visit – Spain. Without the setup concerning his malady, “Daniel’s” meaning is often misunderstood. While John played all of the keyboards, the signature synthesizer parts on “Daniel” were played by recording engineer Ken Scott on an ARP synth.

I was always partial to ARPs, but I never owned one or even a Moog. When I was in the market for a synthesizer, ARP had gone out of business, so I decided to purchase a Micro Moog as it had a ribbon controller; however, the salesman talked me into a new model – a Sequential Circuits Pro One and I was a happy camper for buying this less expensive and easier to program synthesizer. I later got its big brother the Prophet 5.

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