The age old question of what comes first, lyrics or music gets answered here; for Sir Elton John, it’s clearly the lyrics – preferably from Bernie Taupin – that he needs to have first, so he can start working on music.
Genius Sir Elton John shows how he can set music to almost any lyrics
Sir Elton sings Peer Gynt like a champ
It doesn’t seem to be too complicated for him to put together a song over whatever kind of words hit him though.
What I personally like is the confidence and performing power he sings those random snippets of Peer Gynt with. And when I say performing power, I don’t just mean the performance of a musician, but an actor/comedian as well. Not sure if Ibsen wanted it to be a musical originally, but there ya go. If you want to be able to learn how to sing a book, watch the video below. But also check it out if you want to see and hear how composing music on the fly works. And it’s composition over an unknown text. As you can see, composition is actually a form of improvisation. Or is it the other way around? Is improvisation a way of composing music? That would be correct as well.