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