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Elton John — Where To Now St. Peter
Album: Tumbleweed Connection
Avg rating:
7.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1760









Released: 1970
Length: 4:09
Plays (last 30 days): 1
I took myself a blue canoe
And I floated like a leaf
Dazzling, dancing, half enchanted
In my Merlin sleep

Crazy was the feeling
Restless were my eyes
Insane they took the paddles
My arms they paralyzed

So where to now, St. Peter?
If it's true, I'm in your hands
I may not be a Christian,
But I've done all one man can
I understand I'm on the road
Where all that was is gone
So where to now, St. Peter?
Show me which road I'm on
Which road I'm on...

It took a sweet young foreign gun
This lazy life is short
Something for nothing, always ending
With a bad report

Dirty was the daybreak
Sudden was the change
In such a silent place as this
Beyond the rifle range

So where to now, St. Peter?
If it's true, I'm in your hands
I may not be a Christian,
But I've done all one man can
I understand I'm on the road
Where all that was is gone
So where to now, St. Peter?
Show me which road I'm on
Which road I'm on...

I took myself a blue canoe...
Comments (278)add comment
Love this album.  Love the EJ deep tracks.  
We need a double shot with this song and flash in the pans, hey st Peter!
So many of his songs are overplayed This is my favorite to cover and it feels like a B side no one knows.
 LinThizzy wrote:

rotovibe?
 
Sounds like they're running the guitar through a Leslie speaker, typically used for  organ.


7 ->   8 - Most Excellent
 unclehud wrote:
Guitar has a tasty phased and panned tone here.  THANKS for the old Elton.  He and Bernie were the bomb.
 
rotovibe?
At 15, was blown away.
At 63, am blown away.
Thanks RP!
Image result for blue canoe
 rpdevotee wrote:
Just watched a documentary about Elton John (Reginald White)...He was a child prodigy, basically, admitted to the royal Academy of Music in London, after which he made his professional debut and the rest is history.  Amazing talent and one of the best live concerts I've ever seen.

 
That's "Dwight" not White.
Just watched a documentary about Elton John (Reginald White)...He was a child prodigy, basically, admitted to the royal Academy of Music in London, after which he made his professional debut and the rest is history.  Amazing talent and one of the best live concerts I've ever seen.
Elton John means a lot to me.

Late May 1971, I rode silver cigar tube from Nam to States after 14 months.
Landed at Travis near Frisco. ETS'd about two days later.
Government gave a parting ticket to Louisville, via Atlanta.
Rode a a giant 747 and guess what - Elton Johns first two album were in the play list.
What a beautiful music to come home too.
Then about 1 or 2 months later, I got to see him in Louisville for $12 along with only 40 other people.

again Elton, thank you.

you touched my soul.
Great mix of music tonight.
Jose Gonzales-Stay Alive then this great Elton John track.
Thanks Bill & Rebecca.
 nagsheadlocal wrote:
I didn't start listening to EJ until "Madman Across the Water" which came out my senior year in high school. In college the next year, a woman of my acquaintance introduced me to "Tumbleweed Connection" and I was amazed at how good it was. We became close friends and remained so for 40+ years.

Over the last couple of years, whenever RP would play something from Tumbleweed I'd text her to let her know I still appreciated the tip. She always laughed and texted me back. Modern romance, of sorts.

She passed away two weeks ago, breast cancer. When this came on I automatically picked up my phone, then had a sad comedown.
 
Great story ... so sad for her and for you. Very poignant. 
Elton John (and Bernie Taupin) at the height of his powers.
Go Reg, you mad old queen!
 Thnagsheadlocal wrote:
I didn't start listening to EJ until "Madman Across the Water" which came out my senior year in high school. In college the next year, a woman of my acquaintance introduced me to "Tumbleweed Connection" and I was amazed at how good it was. We became close friends and remained so for 40+ years.

Over the last couple of years, whenever RP would play something from Tumbleweed I'd text her to let her know I still appreciated the tip. She always laughed and texted me back. Modern romance, of sorts.

She passed away two weeks ago, breast cancer. When this came on I automatically picked up my phone, then had a sad comedown.

 
Thank you for sharing. Elton's music has an elegiac feel - when listening and whenever some of his songs do come on, I think of someone who is no longer around. Funeral For A friend, Song for Guy, Empty Garden... In the case of your friend, she'll want you to never stop listening.
I didn't start listening to EJ until "Madman Across the Water" which came out my senior year in high school. In college the next year, a woman of my acquaintance introduced me to "Tumbleweed Connection" and I was amazed at how good it was. We became close friends and remained so for 40+ years.

Over the last couple of years, whenever RP would play something from Tumbleweed I'd text her to let her know I still appreciated the tip. She always laughed and texted me back. Modern romance, of sorts.

She passed away two weeks ago, breast cancer. When this came on I automatically picked up my phone, then had a sad comedown.


 dboseman wrote:
Sublime.  I'm still 14 in my bedroom listening to this with my Koss headphones cranked up.

 
I think I was 15 at the time with the same scenario...
.... and BAM! ..... I'm back in high school, lounging on the lawn at lunch.
 NorthernLad wrote:
Elton's best album

https://www.classicrockguitars.nl/media/catalog/product/cache/1/thumbnail/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/8/7/873_-_elton_john_-_tumbleweed_connection_-_cover_inside_6.jpg

 
I agree, "Madman" being a very close second
Elton's best album

https://www.classicrockguitars.nl/media/catalog/product/cache/1/thumbnail/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/8/7/873_-_elton_john_-_tumbleweed_connection_-_cover_inside_6.jpg
What a cool song! Have never heard that before. Elton John's range is truly amazing!
Sublime.  I'm still 14 in my bedroom listening to this with my Koss headphones cranked up.
his early stuff is sooo good, this included
fresh, clean, timeless
 IndyDoug wrote:
My favorite EJ song by far. Brilliant melody.

 
Ditto. Grand album. Superb song. 
 IndyDoug wrote:
My favorite EJ song by far. Brilliant melody.

 
Early Elton is awfully good
Lovely transition from Jose Gonzales Stay Alive into this.
Yes, this is my most memorable era of Elton John too.  Now and then this funky, heartfelt slice of pie shows up in his music still. 
listening at low volume, I had an optional delusion that I was hearing Eddie Vedder at 1st ... need coffee
My favorite EJ song by far. Brilliant melody.
The piano riff presages Funeral For a Friend - cool.
Always appreciated, if not liked good old Elton.  This track now makes me confused.  Very good track.  Thank you Bill, you know always know the best ones on any album.
https://16thletter.s3.amazonaws.com/files/2008/02/number-10.jpg
My favorite album PERIOD
 Skydog wrote:
Bill keeps pulling aces out of his sleeve

 

Bill is aces. {#Wink}
Bill keeps pulling aces out of his sleeve
Like many of the good folk here, I love this album 
 mfcrowe wrote:
an awesome album from another era, often shared with a truly beautiful woman from that time that i should have married - great memories, excellent music! 

Bernie and Elton created some amazing music 

 
Ain't it the truth. The one that got away.
 grahamdillabough wrote:
Wonderful song, Brilliant album.  One of my desert island disks.  Elton and Bernie at the top of their game.

 
Amen.
an awesome album from another era, often shared with a truly beautiful woman from that time that i should have married - great memories, excellent music! 

Bernie and Elton created some amazing music 
The wah-wah put through some other phasing.........amazing guitar work
blue canoe = death 
When Elton was good ........{#Bananapiano}
 coloradojohn wrote:
A fabulous, amazing, staggering song, utterly sublime in its brilliance and power. Songs like this hold the fabric of my world together...

 
wish I had said what Coloradojohn said

{#Bananajumprope}

San Diego 1970.  Love it.  was in the Navy in those days just before I got married. 


A fabulous, amazing, staggering song, utterly sublime in its brilliance and power. Songs like this hold the fabric of my world together...
Wonderful song, Brilliant album.  One of my desert island disks.  Elton and Bernie at the top of their game.
the memories this brings back is not only happy but hurtful.my late teens. New love and lost l I guess that age ages me.
>> the Rock of the Westies Tour

the age of Island Girl? Really? I think you are at least a few years past the prime at that point.
 macedon wrote:
Elton and Bernie during their halcyon years - never tire of listening to this era of their music.

 
Agree. Saw him in 74 for the Rock of the Westies Tour. That album and all prior (maybe half of Blue Moves too) were his and Taupin's best. I suppose he had a few good tunes since then but very sporadic. 
 Grammarcop wrote:
I knew I should have turned left at Albuquerque.

 

 
Excellent use of a Bugs Bunny quote!
Elton and Bernie during their halcyon years - never tire of listening to this era of their music.
I never quite realized that this was from one of Elton's very early works. It's truly timeless in its sound. Lyrics are awesome. 
Stuns me every time, how great these early works of his were... Their beautiful depths may have eluded me as a kid, but not anymore. 
Elton John deep dive. Liking it.
Elton used the same melody later in "Too Many Tears". It's hard to say if it was the intention.{#Umbrella}
Elton with Bernie = the best
 dirtbagpook wrote:
A wonderful album. I nearly played this thing to death, that my older brother didn't appreciate as my cheap record player was not the best thing to play records on…
Thanks Steve! 

 
Time to upgrade.  
 https://www.amazon.com/Tumbleweed-Connection-Elton-John/dp/B00064X3EA/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

An absolutely fantastic presentation of this album.

The normal click through link from RP does not show this as an option, but you can find it.  Superb! 
 Lrobby99 wrote:
Too frequent for me. 

 
4 times this year til now... not that frequent.
And that of Bernie Taupin.

helenofjoy wrote:
No doubt about his genius!

 

Too frequent for me. 
So where to now St. Peter? Can't believe RP played this, so excellent!
When Elton was awesome.
 rdo wrote:
I cannot believe I rated a song by Elton John an 8.  {#Eyes}

 
I agree.  This should be at least a 9!
A wonderful album. I nearly played this thing to death, that my older brother didn't appreciate as my cheap record player was not the best thing to play records on…
Thanks Steve! 
I cannot believe I rated a song by Elton John an 8.  {#Eyes}
No doubt about his genius!
Strongly agreed. The best music is written with individual emotional inspiration behind the lyrics and musicianship and lacking an overarching plan for commercial pop success of singles to spring forth. His first LP and Tumbleweed fall into that category.

Rooney wrote:


Don't agree.  IMO, his first and this album, Tumbleweed, were among his least "commercial" sounding albums.  After "Bennie and the Jets", he lost me.  I stopped listening, as a fan, after Yellowbrick Road.

 


 somli wrote:
Early EJ is the best EJ.

 
Agreed.  

Tumblweed -> Madman -> Honky is as great a trilogy as any.  I know some prefer Dont Shoot Me and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road... but that early stuff is more soulful, righteous even....
Guitar has a tasty phased and panned tone here.  THANKS for the old Elton.  He and Bernie were the bomb.
Early EJ is the best EJ.
 ScottN wrote:
 cc_rider wrote:
It's funny how an artist can have such a distinctive sound, especially on a relatively 'neutral' instrument like piano. Sure, SRV, Clapton, Jimi, Eddie, George Benson, etc. etc. etc. make their sounds completely unique. Stevie Wonder's harmonica is another example. Practically all horn players. But the piano?

As others have mentioned though, his 'attack' is anything but subtle, maybe that's it. Regardless, it's funny how a handful of notes immediately identify him.
I take your point on the piano seeming to be a neutral instrument.  But, really it is far from it.  You can tell by ear and style, say,  Herbie Hancock from Chick Corea just as easily as you can with other instruments and musicians you named. 
 
Oh, I agree with you, piano players are just as distinctive as the others. The biggest difference in my opinion is the amount of 'mechanization', for lack of a better term, in a piano versus a wind or string instrument. You'd think the mechanism of the piano would 'dull' the personality of the player, but it doesn't.
Arrrr memories...{#Bananapiano}this is me and him: .......in my mind
 cc_rider wrote:
It's funny how an artist can have such a distinctive sound, especially on a relatively 'neutral' instrument like piano. Sure, SRV, Clapton, Jimi, Eddie, George Benson, etc. etc. etc. make their sounds completely unique. Stevie Wonder's harmonica is another example. Practically all horn players. But the piano?

As others have mentioned though, his 'attack' is anything but subtle, maybe that's it. Regardless, it's funny how a handful of notes immediately identify him.
I take your point on the piano seeming to be a neutral instrument.  But, really it is far from it.  You can tell by ear and style, say,  Herbie Hancock from Chick Corea just as easily as you can with other instruments and musicians you named. 



I knew I should have turned left at Albuquerque.

 
Let's follow this one with Death Cab for Cutie's "St. Peter's Cathedral"!
My older brother had this album.  I played it quite often in my youth.

Great album, even better memories...
 Cynaera wrote:
This song was the beginning of an odyssey for me.  I learned it on guitar, I had a friend who played it on piano, and we had a guy in common who now sings tenor in major operas here and overseas... We hung out together, and Elton John was our common bond. This song has been my mantra. "Where to now, St. Peter?"  Love it.
 

Miss you so much, Cynaera...

love this song...
 
 kingart wrote:
Elton's not a great (or even a particularly good) piano player, not a great singer — but his early work is, somehow, fabulous. It's in the addictive melodies. 
 
The first album I ever bought was Captain Fantastic.  I think he is extremely underrated as a piano player, which is partly due to his own outrageous behavior that defined him in the 70s'.  I saw him in Chicago in 76, Orange County in the early 90's, and San Diego a few years ago.  The Orange County show was sub par for him, but he blew my mind in San Diego - just burned the house down.  I don't know how his hands weren't bloody stumps when he was finished.  No opening act, almost 3 hours of non stop energy.  He connects with a live audience the way few artists can.

He will always be one of my favorites and I hope he is around for a long long time.
 Antigone wrote:
Knew it was EJ just by the first few piano notes.
  It's funny how an artist can have such a distinctive sound, especially on a relatively 'neutral' instrument like piano. Sure, SRV, Clapton, Jimi, Eddie, George Benson, etc. etc. etc. make their sounds completely unique. Stevie Wonder's harmonica is another example. Practically all horn players. But the piano?

As others have mentioned though, his 'attack' is anything but subtle, maybe that's it. Regardless, it's funny how a handful of notes immediately identify him.


 kaybee wrote:

No..he's talking about the afterlife, the canoe alludes to the River Styx (which I guess doesn't really fit with St. Peter as it's Greek Myth,) but anyway, the song is about a soldier dying and realizing his life was wasted in a meaningless war.

 
I just wish the message was outdated, y'know? But this song is always timely, sadly. Damn.

But yeah, Bernie didn't usually write very linearly. More like a collage than a portrait.
 Jeffrey wrote:


As did I. . .
 


Me too

All of us of a certain age know the great consistent albums of the classic period through the mid 70s - I consider Captain Fantastic and Rock of the Westies as great and really strong respectively.  In the many years since, he has put out some very very good songs, when he works with Bernie for the most part. 

As for the more recent albums, I really like Peachtree Road and Songs from the West Coast have some great tunes.


Elton's not a great (or even a particularly good) piano player, not a great singer — but his early work is, somehow, fabulous. It's in the addictive melodies. 
This guy has had a monstrous career falling off. I love this early stuff, even up to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. (And I wrote this without reading the previous postings!)
 Rooney wrote:


 I stopped listening, as a fan, after Yellowbrick Road.
 

As did I. . .
 agkagk wrote:
The best Elton John album (perhaps tied with Madman).
 
No argument here. Two fantastic albums (sadly not indicative of future work).
The only problem with hearing these is it's a sad reminder of where he's gone to now...St. Elton...

miss it....
never get tired of this one - maybe my fave EJ song... takes me back - good memories... crank it
I sure love his early work.
 agkagk wrote:
The best Elton John album (perhaps tied with Madman).
 
Indeed....  Cool
It just doesn't get much better than this.  Thank you Bill and Rebecca!
{#Music} Hell yeah!

 
cc_rider wrote:
Cranked up in the 'phones. Work is just gonna have to wait.

edit: and when I get home tonight I'm cranking this album up in the workshop.

 


One of the coolest songs ever written.
Cranked up in the 'phones. Work is just gonna have to wait.

edit: and when I get home tonight I'm cranking this album up in the workshop.

The best Elton John album (perhaps tied with Madman).
The album was too different at the time it was released and didn't get a lot of airplay at the north Florida stations I worked (DJ and Music Director) but I kept it in my personal collection until it got stolen.  It was a harbringer of things to come from this talented young artist.
You WILL be receiving my support! Thanks much for ALL the GREAT music! Robby in Paonia, CO
I was too young to have appreciated his less commercial stuff, as it didnt get the airplay or I wasnt listening in the right places. I bought this album after hearing a couple of tracks here and now I understand all of the praise. What an amazing artist.  

 trissi wrote:
It's songs like this that really make me wonder where did Elton John go. How could the same musician who did this song, do Candle In The Wind {#Puke} and other, more recent stuff? It's not possible.
 
"Candle In The Wind" was from 1973 - but I guess you're referring to the new versions with the Princess Diana tributes.

I wanna go backkkkkkkkkkkkk...all this stuff was friggin' sublime!
One of my favorite EJ songs.
It's songs like this that really make me wonder where did Elton John go. How could the same musician who did this song, do Candle In The Wind {#Puke} and other, more recent stuff? It's not possible.
 EssexTex wrote:
"I took myself a small blue canoe"...I assume he means pill.....boy he really was off his tit's back then.

Love the song.

 
No..he's talking about the afterlife, the canoe alludes to the River Styx (which I guess doesn't really fit with St. Peter as it's Greek Myth,) but anyway, the song is about a soldier dying and realizing his life was wasted in a meaningless war.

 unclehud wrote:
Arguably, Honky Chateau was his best ... but who's arguing?  His early LPs were the product of sing-along music, insightful lyrics, and talented musicians.  Deadly combination.

Sir Elton's work spans several decades, and it's interesting to see how it has morphed.  Don't go saying he "sold out," because there are scores of other hard rockers who have mellowed over the years and received more commercial success as they mellowed.  And I'd "sell out" in a New York minute if it brought me tens of millions of pounds Sterling.
 

Don't agree.  IMO, his first and this album, Tumbleweed, were among his least "commercial" sounding albums.  After "Bennie and the Jets", he lost me.  I stopped listening, as a fan, after Yellowbrick Road.
Arguably, Honky Chateau was his best ... but who's arguing?  His early LPs were the product of sing-along music, insightful lyrics, and talented musicians.  Deadly combination.

Sir Elton's work spans several decades, and it's interesting to see how it has morphed.  Don't go saying he "sold out," because there are scores of other hard rockers who have mellowed over the years and received more commercial success as they mellowed.  And I'd "sell out" in a New York minute if it brought me tens of millions of pounds Sterling.


Arguably, the best album of his career - but there are a number of them to choose from.
Knew it was EJ just by the first few piano notes.
 michaelc wrote:

Because many don't understand.
  If your paid $1,000,000.00 for crap or $1,000.00 for art what will you create ?

 
Both. Art to get their attention. Crap to make the money to create more art. Ideal? No. Practical? Yes.

 Carl_LaFong wrote:


Don't know if it's him on this cut, but Caleb Quaye was the primary guitarist on Tumbleweed...
 
Quaye is the only electric guitarist credited in the liner notes.

 bindi wrote:

agreed - yet he was paid more and more.  This is a continuing conversation I have with some friends - why do artist lose their "art" when they become a success? 

 
Because many don't understand.
  If your paid $1,000,000.00 for crap or $1,000.00 for art what will you create ?

 SpamNRice wrote:
So easy to forget how amazing Elton was... ...and how far he slipped... 
 
agreed - yet he was paid more and more.  This is a continuing conversation I have with some friends - why do artist lose their "art" when they become a success? 

 SpamNRice wrote:
So easy to forget how amazing Elton was... ...
 
No, never...

This song was the beginning of an odyssey for me.  I learned it on guitar, I had a friend who played it on piano, and we had a guy in common who now sings tenor in major operas here and overseas... We hung out together, and Elton John was our common bond. This song has been my mantra. "Where to now, St. Peter?"  Love it.
Fat, talented little bloke in those days.
Great, great song from a marvelous album. Elton at his best with Bernie and the rest of the band.
 At least Elton has eschewed radical plastic surgery to this point. When he was in that hot pants and boots phase it got a bit grotesque, however.

mpatnode wrote:
Can't believe he dis'd EJ like that.    It's not like he's playing the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.    He still sells out a stadium.    I think Michael Jackson fell a little further...
 


 papaman wrote:
This has somewhat of a Jethro Tull feel to it.  Maybe it's just me.

 

I agree. A bit like Benefit, but still distinctly Elton John  They were both released in 1970.
Just a great musician,
imagine he were good looking!
A remarkable song, a remarkable album, particularly given that Elton and Bernie are English, in the early 70s and to evoke such a haunting, deeply western USA mood, with serious mystical-like references throughout the album—such a stunning, on-point stretch and achievement. That was a fantastic teaming of talent that was teeming of talent for several albums during their collaboration. Lucky all us.