Elton John – A Single Man Album

Side one

  1. Shine on Through” – 3:45
  2. Return to Paradise” – 4:15
  3. I Don’t Care” – 4:23
  4. Big Dipper” – 4:04
  5. It Ain’t Gonna Be Easy” – 8:27

Side two

  1. Part-Time Love” – 3:16
  2. Georgia” – 4:50
  3. Shooting Star” – 2:44
  4. Madness” – 5:53
  5. “Reverie” (John) – 0:53
  6. Song for Guy” (John) – 6:35

A Single Man is the twelfth studio album by British singer and composer Elton John.

The title of his album was for John the program of the following year. The photos on the simple record cover also fit in with his transformation. Previously were opulent drawings, insert books and many pictures of him to find his copywriter Bernie Taupin and the members of the Elton John band, so this time was out of him no one on the recordings. The image of the front was taken on the so-called “Long Walk”, which belongs to the Windsor Great Park in Berkshire.

For almost a decade, John and Taupin rushed their music from one climax to the next. They filled the biggest stadiums in the world and their albums regularly stormed the charts. With the two long-playing records “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” and “Rock of the Westies” they succeeded what no artist had previously achieved: Because of the many pre-orders, they started at # 1 on the US album charts.

Now, the first signs of fatigue appeared in John and Taupin. It became clear that things would not always go on like this. John decided not to give any more concerts, and Taupin retreated to Acapulco with a new woman on the side.

Nothing happened between John and Taupin. There were no intentions to end the collaboration. But when John wanted to start a new album project, Taupin was not there and thousands of miles away from England. The ways of John and his previous long-term producers, Gus Dudgeon, parted.

John signed Kiki Dee in 1973 in his record label The Rocket Record Company. Gary Osborne translated the French song “Amoureuse” into English for her, the title became a hit in the UK. In 1977 John and Osbourne worked together for EP “The Thom Bell Sessions”. The originally composed title “Shine On Through” became the first song on the album “A Single Man”. John liked Osborne by his nature. He was someone with whom he could work well and with fun. So it just happened that Gary Osborne occupied Taupin’s place.

Following the release of “A Single Man,” The Rocket Records Company announced that John’s concert break had ended. His concert series “A Single Man in Concert”, which also took him to Russia, started in 1979. At the beginning of the concert only he was on stage at the piano. After an hour, Ray Cooper supported him with drums and percussion.

The most famous song, which got along without support from Osborne, became “Song for Guy”. A seventeen-year-old messenger named Guy Burchett, who worked at John’s The Rocket Record Company and whom he also knew and appreciated personally, was killed in a motorcycle accident. John composed the tune on the day of the accident. It was not until the following day that he learned of the accident.

Where Taupin’s lyrics were surprising, versatile, and brilliant, Osborne at best succeeded in producing solid craftsmanship. Where Osborne gave bread and butter, Taupin would have served his pastry.

Originally, John just wanted to complete the Taupin-titled “Ego” and related video. However, he found himself in a variety of interesting melodies, which were provided by Gary Osborne with lyrics. Yet John’s collaboration with Thom Bell, which had just ended, marked the Osborne-titled “Shine On Through,” which he sang on Bell’s advice in a lower pitch than usual.

On “A Single Man” musical diversity can be found, but no more than solid, decent compositions. Worth mentioning are “Georgia”, with a touch of gospel, “It’s not gonna be easy”, a longer blues rock track or the cheery, New Orleans jazzy “Big Dipper”. The only song that could achieve a – if only moderate – chart success was “Part-Time Love”, from the melody ago catchy and easily danceable by the rhythm.