With lyrics by Bernie Taupin, this song is directed at a former lover, as Elton sings about how he is still standing strong without this person. An uptempo song with some harsh lyrics ("You'll wind up like the wreck you hide behind that mask you use"), it conveys a universal theme of finding confidence after a difficult breakup. While the song is often seen as a statement of Elton's resilience, Taupin wrote it with a specific person in mind. Said the lyricist: "It's perhaps one more example of the original idea being interpreted by everyone into something quite different. I think people see it as an anthem based on Elton's strong sense of survival in the face of adversity. Which, believe me, is perfectly fine by me. In fact, it's probably infinitely more interesting, perhaps, than what it was initially written about. Which, if my memory serves me correctly, it was a sort of kiss off to an old girlfriend. You know the sort of thing, 'Don't you worry about me, I'll be perfectly fine.' Unlike George Jones' 'She Thinks I Still Care,' where, in fact, he really did, I really didn't."
The video went over very well on MTV, which helped propel the song up the charts and introduce Elton to a younger audience. With lots of scantily clad and painted people, the colorful video made "I'm Still Standing" Elton's first MTV hit and showed he was ready to embrace the format, something not every established star was willing to do. It helped that Elton is from England, where videos were popular long before MTV went on the air in 1981.
After being introduced by the comedian Billy Connolly, Elton opened his set at Live Aid with a performance of "I'm Still Standing." The charity concert was a massive undertaking, broadcast globally with coverage ping-ponging between two stages, Philadelphia and London (Elton played London). Queen's performance, re-created in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, is the most revered, but Elton also did a killer set that also included his hits "Rocket Man" and "Bennie And The Jets."
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