Every once in awhile I read a Pitchfork interview. This is an instance in which I’m glad that I did.
– Pitchfork: You also cite Lou Reed and Elton John/Bernie Taupin as your songwriting heroes. What’s a song by each of those artists that you admire and why?
– S: [sings] “I’m waiting for my man/ 26 dollars in my hand.” I love the Velvet Underground, bro. You know what really made me fall in love with Lou Reed, though? His story. He said he didn’t know how to play guitar—somebody taught him some chords and he turned those chords into songs. “Sweet Jane” is my favorite song by Lou Reed the writer, at least the Velvet Underground Lou Reed. That shit blows me away. That is the epitome of songwriting. I didn’t name Billy Joel, but I think he’s a fucking brilliant writer, too: “If that’s movin’ up, then I’m movin’ out.”
For Elton John and Bernie Taupin, it’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”: “Where the dogs of society howl/ You can’t hide me in your penthouse!/ I’m going back to my plough/ Back to the howling old owls in the woods.” I love those kind of words. [sings] “I’m not a present for your friends to open/ This boy’s too young to be singing the blues!” It’s fucking so goddamn brilliant, man! Come on, dawg!
The complete interview: http://pitchfork.com/features/paper-trail/9644-definition-of-real-scarfaces-diary-of-a-madman/