“Daniel” is a track from Elton John, one of the world’s best-selling musical artists, and arguably one of the most well-known. Appearing in John’s 1973 album “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player”, “Daniel” is the first track from the record and is written by both John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin.
“Daniel’ had been the most misinterpreted song that we’d ever written”, Taupin explained in the tribute to his and John’s 1991 “Two Rooms” album, which was made up sixteen tracks that were all interpretations of songs they had previously written. Taupin explained the true meaning of the song: “The story was about a guy that went back to a small town in Texas, returning from the Vietnam War. They’d lauded him when he came home and treated him like a hero. But, he just wanted to go home, go back to the farm, and try to get back to the life that he’d led before. I wanted to write something that was sympathetic to the people that came home.” It is important to note that the track is written in the eyes of Daniel’s younger brother, who remains unnamed, and asks his brother about his experiences in the Vietnam War.
There is no official music video for the track, but a YouTube video uploaded by user “sunofsun23” has almost 14 million views since its upload in June 2008.
Release Date: 26th March 1973
Songwriter/s: Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Producer/s: Gus Dudgeon
Label/s: MCA (US), DJM (UK)
Chart Rankings, Certifications, Accolades & Awards: In its year of release, “Daniel” went to #1 & #2 in the Canadian charts, #14 in the Dutch Charts, #27 in Germany, #4 in Ireland, #2 in New Zealand, #8 in Norway, #7 in South Africa, #5 in Switzerland, #4 in the UK, #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, #1 on US Billboard Easy Listening chart, #2 on the US Cash Box Top 100, and lastly, #2 in Zimbabwe . In the US, “Daniel” received Gold certification in September 1995, and then Platinum in May 2018 by the RIAA. The track was nominated for a 1974 Grammy Award in “Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male”, but did not win. However, a year before both John and Taupin received the Ivor Novello Award for “Best Song Musically and Lyrically”.