The episode: “The Screaming Skull,” ep. 912
The riff: Mentioned by Tom in the tail end of a conversation with Mike where he explains what happened to the butterfly wings he possessed only moments before. (He lost them.)
The explanation: He’s quoting excerpted lyrics from Elton John’s hit 1975 single “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” in the end of the refrain. Apparently, as the story goes, the song is about John and his lyricist, Bernie Taupin, in their early careers. It refers to a time in 1969 when John was engaged to his girlfriend Linda Woodrow, but unhappy. The “someone” of the title was John’s friend Long John Baldry, who convinced him to break off the engagement and return to music full time. He is also the “Sugar Bear” referenced in the lyrics.
Novelty factor: I knew he was quoting song lyrics, and of course I know “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” but I have to admit it is difficult to pick what song lyrics are from if they’re not being sung. I didn’t get this one.