“Honky Cat” is the opening track from Elton John’s fifth album “Honky Chateau”, which was released in May 1972.
The pop-rock-country song features electric piano and saxophones, and is one of John’s funkiest hits he’s ever released. Lyrically, the song sees John imagine a conversation between the people of a conservative small country town, and a young person desperate to get to the city and leave their small town. The people of the town insist that there is nothing in the town for him, and that living in a bustling city it would be akin to “trying to find gold in a silver mine” and “like trying to drink whisky from a bottle of wine”. The song’s lyrics probably stem from Bernie Taupin’s childhood, where he spent a lot of time in the countryside.
In 2018, Dave Simpson from The Guardian ranked the song #48 on his list of the 50 greatest Elton John songs, with Justin Kirkland of Esquire ranking it #27 of his list of the 30 best Elton John songs the following year.
In 2018, Lee Ann Womack covered the song on the 2018 tribute album “Restoration: Reimagining Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin”.
Read the lyrics to “Honky Cat” here.
*All information accurate at the time of publishing (29th June 2023).