Elton John Sets George Orwell to Music

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If you were educated beyond an 8th grade level, you’ve probably read George Orwell’s Animal Farm. A grim allegory of the Stalin era prior to WWII, it nevertheless features a cast of anthropomorphic barnyard animals, which made it suitable material for a 1954 cartoon adaptation, as well as junior high reading lists everywhere. Now it seems Elton John wants in on the action. The Daily Mail is reporting that after two years of rights negotiations, John will be penning the music for a new stage version of the story. Expect it to be a little more downbeat than The Lion King.

John never writes his own lyrics, and this won’t be an exception. His latest collaborator is screenwriter Lee Hall, with whom John previously worked on the stage version of Billy Elliot. Hall told the Mail, “Having worked with him on Billy Elliot, I know that Elton likes to have the lyrics done and have them in front of him so I’ll work on a batch before I give him anything to look at. I would think it’s going to take about two years before it’s all ready to go.”

Two years? Really? How hard could it be? Classic lines from the book like “some animals are more equal than others” already sound like the titles of songs Bono might have written. Just add on some cheeky verses in between et voila!