Face to Face (Gary Barlow song)

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"Face to Face"
Single by Gary Barlow and Elton John
from the album Since I Saw You Last
Released 20 January 2014 (2014-01-20)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2013
Genre Pop
Length 3:34
Label Polydor
Writer(s) Gary Barlow, John Shanks
Producer(s) Steve Power
Gary Barlow chronology
"I Should've Followed You Home"
"Face to Face"
"Since I Saw You Last"
Elton John chronology
"Mexican Vacation (Kids in the Candlelight)"
"Face to Face"
"Can't Stay Alone Tonight"

"Face to Face" is a song by British singer-songwriter Gary Barlow featuring Sir Elton John. It was released in the United Kingdom on 20 January 2014 as the second single from his fourth solo album, Since I Saw You Last (2013). It was written by Barlow and John Shanks, and it was produced by Steve Power.


When writing Since I Saw You Last, Barlow came up with a song called "Face to Face", and knew straight away that he wanted to try and get his friend Sir Elton John to sing it with him. Barlow says: "I called him and said I am going to email you this song. Literally, within an hour he was back saying let’s book a studio, let’s get in there and do it."[1] They both met up in Abbey Road Studios and recorded the vocals to the song in 10 minutes.[2]

When speaking about the meaning behind the song, Barlow states that "Face to Face" is a thank-you note to Elton for sticking by him during his wilderness years and a pointed rejoinder to those who deserted him. "It’s a respect song" Barlow confirms. "I can count on the fingers of one hand the people who kept in touch with me when nobody else wanted to know me and he was one of them. I’ll never forget that."[3]

Music video[edit]

The video was filmed in Abbey Road Studios on the same day as both Barlow and Elton John recorded the vocals to the song. The video shows Barlow passing the lyrics to Elton with both singing the song to each other around a piano and in the vocal booths.

Track listing[edit]

  • CD promo single[4]
  1. "Face to Face" (album version) – 3:33
  2. "Face to Face" (instrumental version) – 3:34

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Gary Barlow – songwriter, vocals, piano, additional keyboards, backing vocals
  • John Shanks – songwriter, backing vocals
  • Elton John – vocals, piano
  • Steve Power – producer
  • Mark "Spike" Stent – mixer
  • Ryan Carline – engineer, additional keyboards, programming
  • Rohan Onraet – engineer, percussion, programming
  • Richard Lancaster – engineer
  • Tim van der Kuil – guitar
  • Dave Bronze – bass
  • Jeremy Stacey – drums
  • David Catlin-Birch – backing vocals
  • Nick Ingman – string arrangement
  • Perry Montague-Mason – string leader
  • Isobel Griffiths – musicians' contractor
  • Tony Cousins – mastering

Credits adapted from Since I Saw You Last liner notes.[5]


Chart (2014) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[6] 55
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[7] 14
Croatia (HRT)[8] 9
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 75
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[10] 69


  1. ^ http://metro.co.uk/2013/11/20/gary-barlow-left-in-awe-after-recording-elton-john-duet-in-10-minutes-4193141/ The Metro Gary Barlow left in ‘awe’ after recording Elton John duet in 10 minutes 20.11.13
  2. ^ http://www.contactmusic.com/article/gary-barlow-elton-john-face-to-face_3962882 Gary Barlow and Elton John Recorded 'Face to Face' In 10 Minutes Contact Music 20.11.13
  3. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/rockandpopfeatures/10468807/Gary-Barlow-interview-Nobody-wanted-to-know-me.html Gary Barlow interview: 'Nobody wanted to know me' The Telegraph 24.11.13
  4. ^ "The UK's Online Marketplace". eBay. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Since I Saw You Last (Media notes). Gary Barlow. Polydor Records. 2013. 375 715-5. 
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gary Barlow – Face To Face" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  7. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gary Barlow – Face to Face" (in French). Ultratip.
  8. ^ "HRT Croatian Airplay Chart - Face To Face". Croatian Radiotelevision. 12 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Chart Track: Week 51, 2013". Irish Singles Chart.
  10. ^ "May 2014/ Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart.