Elton John – 21 at 33 Album

Side one

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. Chasing the Crown Elton John, Bernie Taupin 5:36
2. Little Jeannie John, Gary Osborne 5:14
3. Sartorial Eloquence John, Tom Robinson 4:45
4. Two Rooms at the End of the World John, Taupin 5:40

Side two

No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. White Lady White Powder John, Taupin 4:34
6. Dear God John, Osborne 3:47
7. Never Gonna Fall in Love Again John, Robinson 4:09
8. Take Me Back John, Osborne 3:52
9. Give Me the Love John, Judie Tzuke 5:30

21 at 33 (“21 with 33”) is the 14th studio album of the British singer and composer Elton John.

At the age of 33, John compiled his previous music albums: 13 long-playing records recorded in the studio, 2 live recordings, 3 compilation albums, 1 film score and 1 extended-play release, 20 in total. When the recordings from August 1979 to March 1980 came on sale, it was – apart from his singles – to his 21st record.

In the summer of 1979, John began recording for his new album at the Super Bear Studios in Berre-les-Alpes near Nice. For the time in the studio, he rented a house near Grasse and invited Bernie Taupin and his newly-married wife Toni Russo. Thus the artistic separation of John and Taupin ended as wordless as it had begun years before. Taupin wrote three lyrics for the new album, including his recollection of his exile in Acapulco’s Two Rooms at the End of the World.

Since A Single Man, John has collaborated with Gary Osborne. Osborn also contributed three lyrics. Among them was the later hit Little Jeannie. However, John also wanted to use contributions from a new generation of copywriters. In his record company The Rocket Record Company he had just signed the artist Judie Tzuke under contract. He also worked with Tom Robinson, who had a surprise win two years earlier with the single 2-4-6-8 Motorway in England. Robinson was known for his clear lyrics and as a composer for his strong rock. In addition to Taupin John also brought members of the original Elton John band and committed Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson as a musician.

After the poorly publicized releases of The Thom Bell Sessions and the Victim of Love, John tied this album to his successful mid-1970s period. Likewise, he went on tour after a long break. For a free concert in New York in Central Park on September 13, 1980 came 400,000 listeners. From 21 at 33 John presented three songs. He announced the cover version of John Lennon’s Imagine with the words, “This one’s by a friend of mine” with a view of the darkened domes of the Dakota Building. Apart from that, his temporary appearance in a Donald Duck costume attracted particular attention.

The Rolling Stone magazine spoke in 1980 of the fifth year in John’s crisis. His releases since Rock of the Westies, which was called his finest album, are confused, bitter and exhausted, and it would have taken him a few years to clear his mind. It was promising that he went on tour again, came to terms with Taupin and worked with new copywriters like Robinson. Nevertheless, it irritated that the second page of the long-playing record began thematically with cocaine, immediately followed by a song about the loving God. Although it was a good restart, there was still a long way to go before Elton John.