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Recorded at the studios of Dick James Music on February 6, 1968, Watching The Planes Go By was one of the first numbers written by the Elton John/Bernie Taupin partnership. The song highlights the ache of a (possibly broken) long-distance relationship, with a hint of the wide-eyed wonder of Lincolnshire-based Bernie looking up at these far-off aeroplanes, years before foreign travel and international communications were commonplace: Elton, as always, captures the pathos: “Look up in the sky, there’s a speck that’s flying by, red lights and I don’t why.” With chiming lead guitar from Caleb Quaye and chorus backing vocals from Dee Murray, the incredibly strong song was chosen as the closing track on Elton’s never-released debut album, Regimental Sgt Zippo.
Watching The Planes Go By is taken from Elton: Jewel Box.

Elton: Jewel Box is out now: