“Crocodile Rock” is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and recorded in summer 1972 at the Château d’Hérouville studio in France (it was listed as “Strawberry Studios” in the album’s credits), where John and his team had previously recorded the Honky Château album. It was released on 27 October 1972 in the UK and 20 November 1972 in the U.S., as a pre-release single from his forthcoming 1973 album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player, and became his first U.S. number-one single, reaching the top spot on 3 February 1973, and stayed there for three weeks. In the U.S., it was certified Gold on 5 February 1973 and Platinum on 13 September 1995 by the RIAA.
In Canada, it topped the chart as well, remaining at No.1 on the RPM 100 national singles chart for four weeks from 17 February – 10 March. It was the first song released as a single on the MCA label (catalogue #40000) after MCA dissolved its Uni, Decca, Kapp and Coral labels. (John had previously been with the Uni label). “Crocodile Rock” is dominated by a Farfisa organ, played by John. The lyrics take a nostalgic look at early rock ‘n’ roll, and dating and youthful independence of that era. Elton John band members, including Davey Johnstone on guitars, Dee Murray on bass and Nigel Olsson on drums, were also performers on the song. Elton John, however, did all the vocals, including the falsetto backing vocals.