By the time of Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player, Elton John was one of the biggest musical stars on the planet, his writing partnership with Bernie Taupin being one of the most fertile on the early 70s. They were adaptable too, being able to run the gamut from simple pop, ballads and piano-led rockers.
Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player was the moment were John and Taupin conquered the world and the confidence shows. Although “Daniel” was one of Elton’s weaker singles, the rollicking “Crocodile Rock” more than made up for it and tunes like “Elderberry Wine” and “I’m Going To Be A Teenage Idol” ensured that the rest of the album was hardly filler.
Okay, so it’s not as consistently brilliant as Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and a song like “Teacher I Need You” is certainly questionable, however the album as a whole was still a step up from the strong Honky Château and that was hardly a bad album. Perhaps Elton and his band could have made a bit more of an effort to rock out here and there, but Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player was the most mature Elton John album to date, so maybe the apparent restraint was deliberate.
Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player stands as Elton John’s finest albums, which is nothing to be sniffed at and is worth investigating if you are even vaguely interested in the artist formerly known as Reg.