Elton John Releases Videos of Early Hits

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Elton John in the ’70s

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of their songwriting partnership, Elton John and Bernie Taupin gave new filmmakers the chance to create the official music videos for three iconic John hits: “Rocket man, “Tiny Dancer” and “Benny and the Jets.” A panel of music industry judges, including John and lyricist Bernie Taupin, selected the three winning filmmakers who went on to receive support from YouTube and top production studios to bring their ideas to life.

The idea for “The Cut,” as John called the competition, came about last December because videos for these ’70s songs did not exist prior to the advent of MTV in 1981. John, in partnership with YouTube, called for what he described as “everyday creatives” to enter 90-second video treatments for the tracks. John set out the following rules: “Rocket Man” entries must use animation, “Tiny Dancer” treatments must be live-action and “Bennie and the Jets” clips must employ choreography.

Related: Elton John’s first U.S. concert, 1970

A screen shot from Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” video

The entries were reviewed by three prominent YouTube creators, whose choices were then viewed by the final judges. The winners were provided funding to create the videos, and use of the YouTube Space facilities. Pulse Films provided further support. The victors will be awarded $10,000 by YouTube for use on further video ventures.

The winners, and their videos, are as follows:

1972 VIDEO STYLE: ANIMATION
“Rocket Man”
Iranian filmmaker Majid Adin reimagines “Rocket Man” to tell a thought-provoking story of adventure, loneliness and hope.

Watch the winning video for “Rocket Man”

1971 VIDEO STYLE: LIVE ACTION
“Tiny Dancer”
Inspired by Elton and Bernie’s love of California, Max Weiland captures the free-spirited characters of LA in this sun-soaked homage to the Golden State.

Watch the winning video for “Tiny Dancer”

1973 VIDEO STYLE: CHOREOGRAPHY
“Bennie and the Jets”
Jack Whiteley and Laura Brownhill’s music video tells the story of the formation of Bennie and her Jets

Watch the winning video for “Bennie and the Jets”

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