Meaning of “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” by Elton John

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” is a heartfelt exploration of love, longing, and the emotional rollercoaster that often accompanies deep connections. The song navigates through the highs and lows of a relationship, particularly focusing on the periods of separation and the intense emotions that can arise. With lyrics that convey both the sweetness of being in love and the pain of temporary separation, Elton John sends a message of enduring love and the strength it gives. The song is about holding onto hope and finding comfort in the memories and promises of love, even when faced with challenges. It emphasizes the idea that true love can withstand the tests of time and distance, making the tough times bearable – hence the reference to the blues, a genre deeply rooted in expressing emotional struggles.

Dive into the emotional depth of one of Elton John’s most beloved tracks and discover why it resonates with so many.

“I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” Lyrics Meaning

The song opens with a gentle reminder not to take the present hardships too seriously or consider them permanent. “Don’t wish it away / Don’t look at it like it’s forever” encourages a perspective of patience and hopefulness. This introduction sets the tone for a narrative about enduring love that can overcome temporary separations and challenges.

Elton John then moves to assure his loved one that “Things can only get better,” highlighting the optimism that underpins true love. This reassurance is not just about waiting for the return but also about self-improvement and facing one’s inner demons during their partner’s absence. It’s an acknowledgment that physical distance can lead to emotional growth and strengthening of the bond.

The chorus, “I guess that’s why they call it the blues,” is a powerful expression of longing and the bittersweet nature of love. The mention of “Time on my hands / Could be time spent with you” reflects on how precious time is and how it’s best spent with those we love. Elton John masterfully captures the essence of love’s joys and sorrows – “laughing like children, living like lovers, rolling like thunder under the covers” – using vivid imagery to describe the depth and dynamism of a romantic relationship.

“Stare into space / Picture my face in your hands” and “Live for each second / Without hesitation” emphasize the importance of cherishing memories and living in the moment, even when apart. It’s a call to maintain the emotional connection and keep the love alive through thoughts and memories until they can be together again.

In the lines “Wait on me girl / Cry in the night if it helps,” there’s an acknowledgment of the pain that comes with missing someone, but also a plea for faith and patience. The declaration “I simply love you / More than I love life itself” is a profound statement of commitment and the depth of his feelings, underscoring the idea that the essence of the blues comes from this deep emotional wellspring – where love is both a source of happiness and pain.

Why Was “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” Written?

This song, penned during a period of introspection and emotional depth in Elton John’s career, reflects not just personal experiences but a universal theme of love’s complexities. The state of mind of the writers, including Bernie Taupin, Elton’s long-time lyricist, was one of exploring the nuances of human relationships and the emotions they evoke. The song serves as a tribute to enduring love, acknowledging that while love can bring unparalleled joy, it also brings vulnerabilities and challenges that test the strength of the bond.

Written during a time when both Elton John and Bernie Taupin were maturing both personally and professionally, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” captures the essence of their growth and their reflections on love and life. It’s a piece that not only resonates with those who have experienced the pain and beauty of love but also serves as a reminder of the power of human emotions and the universal experience of navigating love’s complex landscapes.