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English pop star Elton John acquired this vertical piano at some point in the early 1960s—using it exclusively as his songwriting instrument until 1972. Colloquially referred to as a birdcage piano, this style was especially popular with players lacking the means or space for a Steinway or Mason and Hamlin model. Working with lyricist Bernie Taupin, John used it to compose his first five albums, which include the hits “Your Song” and “Tiny Dancer.”
The fallboard of the piano was signed by John and Taupin in 1972, with John’s inscription reading: “to Bryan and Nanette, Sarah and Emma with Love Elton John May 31, 1971 original piano, lots of success with it,” and Taupin’s inscription reading: “Within this piano lays the ghost of a hundred songs, take care of them, they love you. God Bless from the one who writes the words, Bernie Taupin.”
In 1991, John revisited the piano, and gave another inscription on the face of the piano, which reads: “May 1991 – 19 years later – 3 children – 1 hysterectomy – 25 lawsuits – 1 Marriage – 751 cats and countless boyfriends is free – Send you both my Love, Elton John.”
To learn more about NMC’s collection, visit collections.nmc.ca.