1982 Elton John – Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)
In 1974, Elton John and John Lennon agreed to guest star appearances on each other’s albums. Elton played on John’s single Whatever Gets You Thru the Night, and John agreed to play at one of Elton’s concerts if the record reached the top of the Hot 100. After the single reached the number one spot, John joined Elton at his Madison Square Garden concert in New York City on Thanksgiving Day for a few numbers.
In response to John’s assassination in December 1980, Elton recorded the instrumental The Man Who Never Died as a tribute. He also created a video for the song that featured Elton playing his piano in front of a copy of the apartment where John had been shot.
A different song captured Elton’s attention, and he shelved The Man Who Never Died until 1985, when it became the B-side of Nikita.
Elton did not intend to create a lyrical tribute, but that changed when Bernie Taupin brought Elton the lyrics for the song Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny). Elton added the music and recorded the song for his 1982 album Jump Up!
The song was issued as a single and reached #13 on the Hot 100 in 1982.
Elton has explained that he does not perform the song often in live shows because it is so painful for him.
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