The "mercurial brillance" of his lyrics lifted Elton John's melodies to treasured pop/rock classics

Browse Song Catalog: ASCAP

Bernie Taupin


Wrote lyrics for "Candle In the Wind" and "Daniel"

* Elton John and Bernie Taupin were also the 2013 recipients of The Johnny Mercer Award, the SHOF’s highest honor

When Liberty Records of the UK placed an innocuous ad seeking new songwriters, in England's music paper, The New Musical Express, amazing repercussions were soon to take place. It was 1967, four years after the arrival of The Beatles and two years before Woodstock, when a lyric writer, Bernie Taupin, then a teenager, answered the ad by submitting a bundle of his lyrics. At virtually the same moment, a composer and pianist, Reg Dwight, who would soon become Elton John also submitted samples of his work, and when a record executive hooked the two up, history was about to be made. With the advent of this new songwriting duo, an uninterrupted quarter century of creativity ensued with Taupin taking his place as one of the premier lyricists in the entire spectrum of rock and roll.

Born in 1950, Taupin grew up in the Lincolnshire region of the north of England. From early childhood, he developed a powerful interest in poetry and his parents nurtured his interest and love for words, by reading him the great epic poems. As he grew older, he became fascinated with the music of great American folk artists like Woody Guthrie, Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, all of whose lyrics amounted to narrative poetry.

In answer to the Liberty Records ad, the partnership with Dwight ensued as the pair was hired by Dick James Music to compose songs for other artists on its roster. Very few of these songs were recorded. The first collaboration by the new team was a song titled, "Lady Samantha," which followed Elton John's first recorded single, "I've Been Loving You," written solely by John. It has been noted in commentaries about Taupin, that the late '60s were a time of pretentiousness and general weirdness in lyrics, and Taupin has claimed that viewing those early lyrics from the vantage point of today, he understands less than 50 percent of his output. Nevertheless, a lasting friendship and working partnership was born and was to last at least a quarter of a century.

In 1991 the Elton John-Bernie Taupin celebrated their silver anniversary with the release of a special tribute album on Polydor Records, containing new versions of the duo's best-known songs by a host of recording stars, including Eric Clapton, Sting, The Who, The Beach Boys, Phil Collins, George Michael and Rod Stewart.

In addition to his collaborations with Elton John, Taupin has also completed his first book, the autobiographical, A Cradle of Halos, and a first collection of poetry, Devil at High Noon.

Honored with SHOF’s highest accolade, the Johnny Mercer Award, in 2013