1973 were considered to be a big year for Elton John. As the year began, he was in the middle of a streak of number one albums that began with 1972’s Honky Chateau. And in 1973, John would score two more.
John started the year with the release of his sixth album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player. It featured the singer’s first number one single “Crocodile Rock”, and the number two hit “Daniel”. Other tracks on the album include “Elderberry Wine (which featured horn arrangements by the album’s producer Gus Dudgeon, and was the B-side of “Crocodile Rock”), and “Midnight Creeper” (one of the songs inspired by John’s friend Marc Bolan of T-Rex).
According to John’s 1990 biography, the name of the album came when his friend comedian Groucho Marx jokingly pointed his fingers, as to point a gun. At which John, also jokingly, put his hands us and said “don’t shoot me, I’m only the piano player”, and that became the title of the album.
Don’t Shoot Me topped the album charts in both the U.S. and the U.K., and to date have sold more than 18 million copies worldwide. Critical response was mostly good, and the album would soon forecast the landmark album that would be released later in 1973, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Elton John, inducted in 1994.