As a piano playing singer and song writer, North Carolina’s Ben Folds is almost inevitably going to draw comparisons to Elton John, the godfather of piano pop. But the first single from Folds’ second solo album, 2005’s Songs For Silverman, is essentially an Elton John pastiche that remarkably measures up to John’s classic 1970s singles. There’s one person who was involved in both ‘Landed’ and Elton John’s 1970s singles – string arranger Paul Buckmaster, who passed away this week at the age of 71.
“The first time he arranged for me, on the song “Landed,” I was taken aback at his score. I felt he’d changed something about the song. He’d weighed in strong, almost intrusively I thought. There wasn’t enough time for what he’d done to sink in, and with release date on our tails, I made the decision to leave the strings out. MISTAKE! I regretted it before it hit the stores and made sure all subsequent versions of the song were released with strings.
As well as Elton John, Paul Buckmaster arranged the strings on impeccably classic rock songs like David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’, The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sway’, Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’, and Harry Nilsson’s ‘Without You’. He continued working, contributing to more recent projects by Taylor Swift, Guns ‘n’ Roses, and Michael Buble.