Lyric of the Month

Tiny Dancer

 

Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band
Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you'll marry a music man
Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand
And now she's in me, always with me, tiny dancer in my hand

Jesus freaks out in the street
Handing tickets out for God
Turning back she just laughs
The boulevard is not that bad
Piano man he makes his stand
In the auditorium
Looking on she sings the songs
The words she knows, the tune she hums

But oh how it feels so real
Lying here with no one near
Only you and you can hear me
When I say softly, slowly

Hold me closer, tiny dancer
Count the headlights on the highway
Lay me down in sheets of linen
You had a busy day today
Hold me closer, tiny dancer
Count the headlights on the highway
Lay me down in sheets of linen
You had a busy day today

Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band
Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you'll marry a music man
Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand
And now she's in me, always with me, tiny dancer in my hand

But oh how it feels so real
Lying here with no one near
Only you and you can hear me
When I say softly, slowly

Hold me closer, tiny dancer
Count the headlights on the highway
Lay me down in sheets of linen
You had a busy day today
Hold me closer, tiny dancer
Count the headlights on the highway
Lay me down in sheets of linen
You had a busy day today

This is my all-time favorite song for so many reasons. The lyrics are strung together seamlessly while Elton John’s vocals and accompaniment cradle the lyrics warmly into a timelessly catchy tune. When I listen to this song, or any song rather, I hardly ever think to ask the question, “What is the songwriter writing about?” or “About whom is this song about?” Upon researching the background of this song, I saw many comments arguing over who the real life Tiny Dancer is. Some say Bernie Taupin wrote it about his wife. He claims he wrote it about American girls. The fact of the matter is that it truly doesn’t matter. I want to know what the words mean. Who is this character in the song? I’m not worried about who the real life tiny dancer is.

 

With that being said, tiny dancer (let’s call her T) is someone I long to be. I hear this song and instantly think about Penny Lane from Almost Famous. They have so many similarities, and I admire both of them for being so free and alive. T wears blue jeans, so she’s casual. She sews, so she’s self-sustainable. She is pretty and happy. I bet she’s the kind of girl that goes to the farmer’s market every weekend and Betty who sells fresh fruit gives her a little extra just because T is always so kind to her and remembers to ask about her kids. I bet she looks effortlessly enchanting when she isn’t wearing a drop of makeup and has her thick hair in a messy bun. When Bernie says she’ll marry a music man, I think she’s already married to music. She’s too good for standard love. She doesn’t really want it anyway. T goes to the park and reads and talks to dogs and not their owners. She doesn’t get upset because there’s always a song to make her feel not alone. She’s a dancer. A ballerina. Maybe not professionally, but she flows with the breeze and lets the universe move her. When Elton sing, “You must have seen her dancing in the sand,” he paints a picture of a woman dancing in the summer evening breeze on a beach. I see her silhouette radiating pure joy just to be alive. Hell, that’s probably all she has! I’m sure she doesn’t have a six figure job. I bet she’s a painter, a real art-eest.

 

I love that the narrator makes her laugh at the Jesus freaks. This is probably my favorite line because a lot of us get engulfed in the rules and regulations of religion, that we forget to just live. This is coming from a born and raised Catholic with strict Catholic parents who sent me to Catholic school and somehow, I ended up actually still loving Catholicism. It’s a beautiful religion, honestly. I am weird, though, because I think lots of other non-Christian religions are just as beautiful. That’s an essay for a different time. I digress. Anyway, coming from a practicing Catholic, to give a gentle laugh at people so engulfed in religion is necessary. Yes, I go to Mass every Sunday that I don’t work. Yes, I pray as often as I can. I try to read the Bible. I go to confession. I do all the stuff. But at the end of the day, those aren’t getting me anywhere. I need to laugh at it. I need to just live. For me, living means being present in every moment and allowing God in every moment. Whether or not T believes in God isn’t relevant. She doesn’t believe in religion or rules. She sees all these people trying to look good on paper and “save” all these other people, but she is saved. She doesn’t need a church to tell her to be kind and good. She just is. I admire this about her. I think her sense of independence and inconformity is inspiring. No matter how many Masses I go to, I won’t get to Heaven if I am not a kind and good person. End of story.

 

This next scene paints a picture of T at a concert embracing the music, singing the songs she knows, humming the ones she doesn’t. She’s so, I’ll say it again, free! I am so reserved at concerts. I want to be like her and let loose. I mean – and granted this is just my imagination running wild with these lyrics – she’s just drowning in every song waving her hands, being completely there. She’s not worried about if she’s going to make rent or if she’s running out of groceries. She’s there in the moment letting life carry her gracefully through every lasting moment.

 

Tiny Dancer perfectly encapsulates the essence of living. I want to be Tiny Dancer. I strive to be her. When I listen to this song, I am reminded to focus on creating this sort of peace in my life that I feel every time I listen to this song.

 

So, put on Tiny Dancer right now with me, open some windows, and just dance around like you’re a ballerina even if you aren’t. I can’t dance worth a dime, but here I am in my little room drowning in the music of the soul.

©2020 by Amanda Lorraine.