Sir Elton John has released the first song he wrote with Bernie Taupin in celebration of his 74th birthday.
The track, Scarecrow, began his long partnership with the musician in 1967 and has been made available on streaming and digital formats for the first time, along with five other songs and b-sides.
The duo first met after both answering an advert in the NME looking for songwriters, when Sir Elton, then Reg Dwight, was 20 and Taupin was 17.
Taupin had already written the lyric but Scarecrow marks the first time Sir Elton put his music to Taupin’s words, marking the start of their long and fruitful collaboration.
It would later be referenced in Taupin’s lyrics to Curtains from the 1975 album Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy, which includes the line: “I used to know this old scarecrow, He was my song, My joy and sorrow.”
When Taupin sold his lyric manuscripts in 2018, Scarecrow was one of the only original sheets not up for auction.
The song is part of Elton: Jewel Box, a career-spanning collection of 148 songs from 1965 to 2019.
The release of the last six tracks from the boxset – Scarecrow, Holiday Inn, Keep It A Mystery, Smokestack Children, Two Of A Kind and Conquer The Sun, means the collection is now available in its entirety for the first time on digital formats.
Sir Elton said: “Scarecrow will always have a very special place in my heart, and I know that Bernie feels the same way too. It’s the song that started it all.
“This last year in lockdown has given us all time to look back and reflect – finding this song again when I put together the Jewel Box and thinking of everything that has happened in our careers and friendships that has sprouted from this one point is just remarkable.
“Jewel Box contains the embryos of something special, and Scarecrow goes right to the heart of that, naive compositions of a time and place that went on to become something very special indeed.
“What a wild ride it’s been so far and how lucky we are to have found each other.”
The pair were portrayed by Taron Egerton and Jamie Bell in the 2019 biopic Rocketman and they won their first Oscar together last year for their original song from the film, I’m Gonna Love Me Again.
Sir Elton previously won an Oscar with Sir Tim Rice for Can You Feel The Love Tonight from The Lion King.
In celebration of Sir Elton’s birthday, BBC Four will broadcast shows about him from the archive on March 26, including Elton John: Electric Prom, Elton John at the BBC and Elton John: Uncensored.