Remember “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”

The year is 1974. In the United Kingdom, a young singer called Elton John is recording the song “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”. As had happen with all songs from the album “Caribou”, this song was written by Elton John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin during a ten-day period in January 1974. Today, it’s very likely that you’ve already heard the song, even if you don’t recognize it by its name.

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” is one of the most famous songs in the world, perhaps because the metaphor of the sun to describe a love relationship is a universal image that creates empathy in listeners. It also became an international slogan for everyone that wants the world to go solar.

However, you must know beforehand that recording “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was not an easy task. Testimonies from those days in the studio reveal that Elton John was not satisfied with any of his vocal takes and that the producer Gus Dudgeon had fits trying to mix all the voices and instruments.

The recording was really dramatic. On some takes, Elton John even screamed, on others, he mumbled it or just stood staring at the control room. When all hope was lost, the artist took off his headphones and said he would like to hear what they had recorded. He described it has “a load of crap”. On that, he was quite wrong.

The Later Success of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”

dont-let-the-sun-go-down-on-meDon’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was a hit and became so popular that years later, in 1985, George Michael and Elton John met during the Live Aid concert and sung this incredible hit together. The duet, however, was not released on any record.

The same didn’t happen in 1991, when George Michael, during his concert in London, introduced Elton John, and together they reprised the duet on stage.

This time “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was not only recorded, it also turned out to be a massive hit in the United States and Europe, reaching number one on the UK singles chart for two weeks in December.

Listening to the song, we quickly deduce that the lyrics are directed to someone the singer has helped and from whom he is now experiencing rejection. In the first lines, we understand that the singer is “growing tired” and that he is giving up on “lighting the darkness” for that other person.

The feeling of rejection comes up when he admits to himself that “It’s much too late to save myself from falling”, meaning that he has jeopardized his own life for another and is doomed to fall. What is sad is that the other person, his lover, is incapable to return the same kind of sacrifice.

In the iconic chorus, we are finally introduced to the very words that give the name to the song. Here, when the singer says “Don’t let the sun go down on me”, he is asking not to be left alone. The idea of losing his lover’s companionship is “like the sun going down”, turning everything to darkness and taking away happiness once and for all.

Here are the lyrics of the chorus:

” Don’t let the sun go down on me

Although I search myself, it’s always someone else I see

I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free

But losing everything is like the sun going down on me”

The Singers Behind “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”

Sir Elton John was born on the 25th of March of 1947. This English singer, songwriter and composer has been working with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967. Together they have written the greatest hits of Elton’s repertoire. In his career of more than 50 years he sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world.

George Michael was born on the 25th of June of 1963, in England. During the 1980s, he started his career as a singer and songwriter of the band Wham, conquering success with a very characteristic style post-disco and dance-pop. Up until today, George Michael has sold more than 100 million records all around the world.


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Gayrajan Kohli
Gayrajan Kohli
Gayrajan is a staunch solar promoter, serial entrepreneur & management consultant. He has a decade of experience in solar PV, disruptive technologies and political consultancy in USA and India. He believes that development of solar and other renewable technologies is critical to India's energy security. Gayrajan holds a Masters and a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from USA. Follow him on Twitter to gain daily industry insights.
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