"Daniel" is a major hit song and ballad by Elton John. It appeared on the 1973 album Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player. It was written by John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin. In the United States the song reached No. 2 on the pop charts and No. 1 on the adult contemporary charts for two weeks in the spring of 1973. In the United States, it was certified Gold on 13 September 1995 by the RIAA. In Canada, it became his second No. 1 single, following "Crocodile Rock" earlier in the year, holding the position for two weeks in the RPM 100 national singles chart. In the United Kingdom, it made the top 5.
Bernie Taupin wrote "Daniel" while inspired by the events of the Vietnam War. The lyrics (including a verse in the original draft that was cut from the final version) describe a fictional veteran who was blinded as a result of the war ("your eyes have died"/"but you see more than I") and travels to Spain to escape those around him back home ("do you still feel the pain"/"of the scars that won't heal?"), including his brother, from whose point of view the story is told.
"'Daniel' had been the most misinterpreted song that we'd ever written," explained Taupin, in the Two Rooms tribute project. "The story was about a guy that went back to a small town in Texas, returning from the Vietnam War. They'd lauded him when he came home and treated him like a hero. But, he just wanted to go home, go back to the farm, and try to get back to the life that he'd led before. I wanted to write something that was sympathetic to the people that came home."
- Elton John – electric piano, "flute" Mellotron, vocals
- Davey Johnstone – acoustic guitar, banjo
- Dee Murray – bass
- Nigel Olsson – drums, maracas
- Ken Scott – ARP synthesizer
|Canadian RPM 100 National Top Singles Chart||1|
|Dutch Top 40||14|
|GfK Dutch Charts Singles Top 100||15|
|German Singles Chart||27|
|Irish Singles Chart||4|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||2|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||8|
|Swiss Singles Chart||5|
|UK Singles Chart||4|
|US Billboard Hot 100||2|
|US BillboardEasy Listening||1|
"Daniel" was covered on the 1991 album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin by Wilson Phillips. It reached number seven on the US Adult Contemporary chart as an album cut. "Daniel" was covered on the 2005 album The Brave and the Bold by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & Tortoise.