For My Sunday Song #56, I have gone with one of the greatest John Lennon tribute songs ever written or performed…”Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny)” By Elton John. The song was released in 1982 which was about 18 months after Lennon’s death. It is off the album ‘Jump Up!’ and was not one of his best albums, but this was the best song on it. It was a minor hit and only reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
However, for me it resonated as such a beautifully written song. Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics (as he did for all of Elton’s songs) and Elton did the music. The lyrics tell such a touching story and the metaphor of an empty garden fort he absence of Lennon is brilliant. Put that along with the beautiful piano and Elton’s vocals and you have a song that can touch you on so many levels. Knowing that Elton John was such good friends with Lennon (including being Sean Lennon’s godfather), you could feel Elton’s true feelings of how much he missed his friend and that even adds more to the song.
In researching the song (wikipedia mostly had the better information), I found that the “Garden” was also a reference to John Lennon’s last performance which was at Madison Square Garden in 1974 with Elton John. The line “Can’t You Come Out to Play” is a reference to the Beatles’ song “Dear Prudence” which is cool. I love finding those things out as I never made that connection so now it adds to the song for me.