21 at 33

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21 at 33
Album 21 at 33.jpg
Studio album by
Released13 May 1980 (1980-05-13)
RecordedSeptember 1979 – March 1980[1]
StudioSuper Bear, Nice, France; Sunset Sound Recorders & Rumbo, Los Angeles
LabelMCA, Rocket
ProducerElton John, Clive Franks
Elton John chronology
Victim of Love
21 at 33
The Fox
Singles from 21 at 33
  1. "Little Jeannie"
    Released: 1 May 1980
  2. "Sartorial Eloquence (Don't Ya Wanna Play This Game No More?)"
    Released: 5 August 1980
  3. "Dear God"
    Released: 14 November 1980
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]
Rolling StoneUnrated[2]
Smash Hits7/10[3]

21 at 33 is the fourteenth studio album by Elton John, and his 21st album in total, made when John was 33 years old, hence the title.[4][5]

21 at 33 was recorded at Super Bear Studios, Nice, France, in September 1979, and Rumbo Recorders and Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, California, from January to March 1980. Three singles were released from the album, including "Little Jeannie", his highest charting single in 5 years.

The album sold over 900,000 copies in the United States, missing a Platinum certification.[6]


The two other founding members of the original Elton John Band (active 1969–75), drummer Nigel Olsson and bass player Dee Murray, reunited with him for two songs. His keyboardist James Newton Howard returned and performed on almost every track, as was the case on Rock of the Westies and Blue Moves. Other musicians included members of the Eagles and Toto as well as Peter Noone from Herman's Hermits and Bill Champlin and Toni Tennille of Captain & Tennille fame.

The title comes from the fact that this was Elton's 21st album in total at the age of 33. According to the liner notes in the remastered edition of the album, the count includes all standard albums, two greatest hits compilations, two live albums, as well as the soundtrack release Friends, the three-song 12-inch EP The Thom Bell Sessions and the UK-only 'rarities' collection Lady Samantha.

Elton has not played any of the material in concert since touring in 1980, with the exception of "Little Jeannie", which, despite having been a huge North American hit (#3 Pop and #1 Adult Contemporary in the United States, and #1 in Canada), was included only in the two concerts from 2000 entitled One Night Only), and the warm up gig for the two Madison Square Garden concerts in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.[7]

Track Listing[edit]

Side One[edit]

1."Chasing the Crown"Elton John, Bernie Taupin5:36
2."Little Jeannie"John, Gary Osborne5:14
3."Sartorial Eloquence"John, Tom Robinson4:45
4."Two Rooms at the End of the World"John, Taupin5:40

Side Two[edit]

1."White Lady White Powder"John, Taupin4:34
2."Dear God"John, Osborne3:47
3."Never Gonna Fall in Love Again"John, Robinson4:09
4."Take Me Back"John, Osborne3:52
5."Give Me the Love"John, Judie Tzuke5:30
  • eleven more songs, excluding the B-sides, were recorded during these sessions: five of which were "Heart in the Right Place", "Carla/Etude", "Fanfare", "Chloe" and "Elton's Song"; these would appear on John's next release, The Fox. Two other songs recorded were French-language duets with France Gall, entitled "Les Aveux" and "Donner Pour Donner", which were respectively released in France as the A-side and B-side of a 7" single. One song was "The Retreat" which was the B-side of the single "Princess" in 1982 and was later included as a bonus track on remastered version of the album Too Low for Zero. The other three songs were the B-sides for singles released from The Fox in 1981.

In 2003, Mercury/Universal and The Rocket Record Company reissued the album on CD, remastered by Gary Moore; the new line-up contained no bonus tracks.


Song Format
"Conquer the Sun" – lyrics by Gary Osborne "Little Jeannie" 7" (US/UK)
"Cartier" – lyrics by Elton John and Gary Osborne "Sartorial Eloquence" 7" (US/UK)
"White Man Danger" – lyrics by Gary Osborne "Sartorial Eloquence" 7" (US/UK)
"Tactics" – instrumental performed by John "Dear God" 7" (UK)
"Steal Away Child" – lyrics by Gary Osborne "Dear God" 7" (double) (UK)
"Love So Cold" – lyrics by Bernie Taupin "Dear God" 7" (double) (UK)


Track numbering refers to CD and digital releases of the album.


  • Produced by Clive Franks and Elton John
  • Engineers – Clive Franks, Steve Desper (Track 6), Patrick Jaunead (Tracks 1–4, 6–9).
  • Second engineers – David Burgess (Tracks 1–4, 6–9), David Leonard, Peggy McCreary and Stephen McManus.
  • Recorded at Super Bear Studios (Berre-les-Alpes, France); Rumbo Recorders and Sunset Sound Recorders (Los Angeles, CA).
  • Mixed at Sunset Sound Recorders
  • Mastered by Bernie Grundman at A&M Mastering Studio (Los Angeles, CA).
  • Studio coordinator – Adrian Collee
  • Art direction – George Osaki
  • Design and concept – Norman Moore
  • Photography – Jim Shea
  • Management – John Reid Management, LTD.


Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1980) Position
Australian Albums Chart[8] 25
Canadian Albums Chart[20] 42
French Albums Chart[21] 58
Italian Albums Chart[12] 73


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[22] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[24] Gold 175,500[23]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[25] Gold 7,500^
United States (RIAA)[26] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b c 21 at 33 Elton John Allmusic.com Lindsay Planer
  2. ^ "21 at 33". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  3. ^ Cranna, Ian. "Albums". Smash Hits (12–25 June 1980): 31.
  4. ^ Judy Parkinson (2003). Elton Made in England. Michael O'Mara Books. p. 117.
  5. ^ Lindsay Planer. "AllMusic Review". AllMusic.
  6. ^ Liner notes to remastered 21 at 33 album
  7. ^ One Night Only: The Greatest Hits DVD, 2000.
  8. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  9. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Archived 15 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2012-02-29
  10. ^ "Elton John – 21 at 33". Dutch Charts (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  11. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Elton John" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on 10 September 2013. Retrieved 29 February 2012. Note: user must select 'Elton JOHN' from drop-down
  12. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1980" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  13. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  14. ^ "charts.nz Elton John – 21 at 33" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  15. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Elton John – 21 at 33" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  16. ^ "swedishcharts.com Elton John – 21 at 33" (ASP). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  17. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Elton John – 21 at 33" (PHP). Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  18. ^ "allmusic ((( 21 at 33 > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  19. ^ "Album Search: Elton John – 21 at 33" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  20. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1980". RPM. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  21. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1980 par InfoDisc" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  22. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Elton John – 21 at 33". Music Canada.
  23. ^ "Les Albums Or". infodisc.fr. SNEP. Archived from the original on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  24. ^ "French album certifications – Elton John – 21 at 33" (in French). InfoDisc. Select ELTON JOHN and click OK. 
  25. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Elton John – 21 at 33". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  26. ^ "American album certifications – Elton John – 21 at 33". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.