21 at 33

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21 at 33
Album 21 at 33.jpg
Studio album by Elton John
Released 13 May 1980 (1980-05-13)
Recorded August 1979, January – March 1980
Genre Soft rock, pop, post-disco
Length 42:51
Label MCA, Rocket
Producer Elton John, Clive Franks
Elton John chronology
Lady Samantha
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
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone Unrated[2]
Smash Hits 7/10[3]

21 at 33, released May 1980, is an album by Elton John. It is his fourteenth studio album. Including other releases (three compilation albums, two live albums, one film soundtrack and one EP) it is the 21st official release, and was released when Elton John was 33 years old; hence the title.[4][5]

It was recorded at Super Bear Studios, Nice, France, in August 1979, and Rumbo Recorders and Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, California between January to March 1980.

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


The two other founding members of the original Elton John Band (active 1969-1975), drummer Nigel Olsson and bass player Dee Murray, reunited with him for one song. His backup 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.

The title comes from the fact that this was John'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 Friends soundtrack, the three-song, 12-inch EP The Thom Bell Sessions and the UK-only "rarities" collection Lady Samantha.

John has not played any of the material in concert since touring in 1980, with the exception of "Little Jeannie", "White Lady White Powder" and "Sartorial Eloquence". Even "Little Jeannie", which was a huge North American hit (#3 Pop and #1 Adult Contemporary in the United States, and #1 in Canada) has never been performed since 1980, although it was included in the two One Night Only concerts in 2000, and the warm up gig for the 2 Madison Square Garden shows in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.[7]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Chasing the Crown" Elton John, Bernie Taupin 5:38
2. "Little Jeannie" John, Gary Osborne 5:21
3. "Sartorial Eloquence" John, Tom Robinson 4:42
4. "Two Rooms at the End of the World" John, Taupin 5:39

Side two[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "White Lady White Powder" John, Taupin 4:35
6. "Dear God" John, Osborne 3:45
7. "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" John, Robinson 4:07
8. "Take Me Back" John, Osborne 3:52
9. "Give Me the Love" John, Judie Tzuke 5:23
  • Five more songs, excluding the B-sides, were recorded during these sessions: "Heart in the Right Place", "Carla/Etude", "Fanfare", "Chloe" and "Elton's Song". They would appear on John's next release, The Fox.
  • The Yugoslavian release, released one year later in 1981, did not include "White Lady White Powder" and "Dear God". These were replaced with "Conquer the Sun" and "White Man Danger", otherwise only available as 7" B-sides to "Little Jeannie" and "Sartorial Eloquence", respectively. This pressing is their only availability on 33 RPM.[8]

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


Song Format
"Conquer the Sun" "Little Jeannie" 7" (US/UK)
"Cartier" "Sartorial Eloquence" 7" (US/UK)
"White Man Danger" "Sartorial Eloquence" 7" (US/UK)
"Tactics" "Dear God" 7" (UK)
"Steal Away Child" "Dear God" 7" (double) (UK)
"Love So Cold" "Dear God" 7" (double) (UK)



  • Produced by Clive Franks and Elton John
  • Engineers: Clive Franks, David Burgess, Steve Desper, Patrick Jaunead, 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 Coordinatior: Adrian Collee
  • Art Direction: George Osaki
  • Photography: Jim Shea
  • Management: John Reid Management, LTD.


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[9] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[10] Gold 175,500[11]
United States (RIAA)[12] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone



  1. ^ 21 at 33 Elton John Allmusic.com Lindsay Planer
  2. ^ "21 at 33". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2015-02-12. 
  3. ^ Cranna, Ian. "Albums". Smash Hits (June 12–25, 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. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Elton-John-21-At-33/release/3365202
  9. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Elton John – 21 at 33". Music Canada. 
  10. ^ "French album certifications – Elton John – 21 at 33" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select ELTON JOHN and click OK
  11. ^ "Les Albums Or". infodisc.fr. SNEP. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  12. ^ "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
  13. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  14. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2012-02-29
  15. ^ "Elton John - 21 at 33". Dutch Charts (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  16. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Elton John" (PHP) (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 2012-02-29.  Note: user must select 'Elton JOHN' from drop-down
  17. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1980" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  18. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  19. ^ "charts.org.nz Elton John – 21 at 33" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  20. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Elton John – 21 at 33" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  21. ^ "swedishcharts.com Elton John – 21 at 33" (ASP). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  22. ^ "Chart Stats - Elton John – 21 at 33" (PHP). UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  23. ^ "allmusic ((( 21 at 33 > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  24. ^ "Album Search: Elton John – 21 at 33" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  25. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1980". RPM. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  26. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1980 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 2012-02-24.