In Praise Of Electricity And Elton John

by Kevin Burton

   All right look, let’s get this out of the way up front. Deal with it however you want.

   Elton John, “Benny And The Jets?” It has to be “electric boobs,” period. 

   This is the ninth time I have written about a record that has influenced me.  It’s the album challenge. Not messing around today, talking Elton John’s Greatest Hits volumes one and two.

   So it wasn’t yesterday, but not that long ago that I found out the lyric in ”Benny and the Jets” is “electric boots” not “electric boobs.”  It was maybe five years ago. 

   When I found out, it wasn’t like, “oh how silly of me, I should have known this.” I was like, WHAT?

   I was mad.  Still am. Because this makes no sense to me whatsoever.  It’s an affront to rock and roll sensibilities.

   “Benny” is released and I am a pre-teen.  I don’t even like this song because it has no flow and I can’t figure out what he’s talking about. And the song is dirty, because the one thing I do know is that some girl has electric boobs.

   It was not a big deal because I love Elton John and he’s got so many other songs. This is not a thing.  I let it go.

   So fast forward. I can’t even remember why I was looking up these lyrics five years ago, but there it was, “electric boots.” 

    And I’m thinking you can NOT be serious. Electric boots….who cares?

   The man said he “read it in a magazine.” Who is trying to sell magazines by talking about somebody’s boots?

   Think of it. This is the kind of magazine you don’t even name, it’s just “a magazine.” 

   Man, I wouldn’t so much as break stride to see somebody’s electric boots, are you kidding me? 

   Made this protest to my wife because she was the only one around. She said “Oh that’s ridiculous, electric boobs, how would that even work?”

   That’s when I went all Stephen A Smith. “Well-I-do-not-know. That’s why I GOT-to- have this mag-a-zine. Because I am 11 years old and I need this in-for-ma-tion…” 

   Let’s say as a pre-teen I used scarce financial resources to buy a magazine with the lowdown on electric boobs and all I got was somebody’s shoes.

   I spent good money which could have gone to buy Doritos, to get information about those mysterious females and all I got was “Footware Weekly.”

   You want to talk about indignation!  And I was so good at indignation back then, before I read the fine print.

   So here’s the only thing that can save it, OK.  I need to read this somewhere:

   So maybe Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin took the song to the record company with electric boobs on it like they were supposed to and somebody at the label made them change it? Maybe to get it played on AM radio?  Or maybe the queen frowned on it or something. 

   Otherwise “electric boots” makes no sense. Sorry.

   How big was Elton John in the 70s and 80s?  I recently compiled a top ten list of his songs. The first thing I did was cheat. I took “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” but said it didn’t count as one of the ten because it is a duet with the underrated Kiki Dee.

   So here is what I excluded from my list. “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,” “Your Song,” “The Bitch Is Back” and “Island Girl.” Didn’t have room for those great, great songs.

   One song I did make room for is “Grow Some Funk of Your Own.”  Check that one out if you don’t know it. It’s a serious rocker, high quality.  It mentions Mexico, which would be important to me later in life.

   Bar fights, funk and English charm all on one track.  Sir Elton deserved to be knighted for that alone.

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