Courtesy of REELZElton John has been writing songs with Bernie Taupin for 50 years, and the pop-rock legend has two words to describe his relationship with his longtime lyricist: “Quite amazing.”

In a clip from the new TV special Elton John: The Nation’s Favorite Song, which premieres Saturday, January 27, on REELZ, John discusses the somewhat unique way that he and Taupin go about collaborating on tunes.

“I have to say, as a songwriter I have it a little bit easier because I have the lyrics come to me first,” Elton explains, “and by some God-given gift, I’m very good at writing music to lyrics.”

The preview also features Taupin, Lionel Richie, Annie Lennox and Billy Joel commenting about the unusual method Bernie and Elton have always used to put their songs together.

“Well, the one thing that hasn’t changed and has remained the same since day one is, really, the way write,” notes Taupin. Enter Richie, who declares, “Elton and Bernie write backwards,” referring to the fact that Taupin writes the lyrics first and then John sets them to music.

Regarding the duo’s approach, Lennox gushes, “I mean, how beautiful is that?! How simple is that?”

Joel, no slouch in the songwriting department himself, then appears and admits, “I’ve tried to write [Elton’s] way, and I can’t do it. I can’t write to words. I have to write the music first.”

Elton John: The Nation’s Favorite Song features Elton telling the stories behind 20 of their biggest songs, as chosen by fans. In addition to Taupin, Richie, Lennox and Joel, there are interviews with such well-known music artists as Rod Stewart, Sting, Boy George, Coldplay‘s Chris Martin and Ed Sheeran, among others.

The 90-minute program premieres at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on REELZ.

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