21 at 33

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21 at 33
Studio album by
Released13 May 1980 (1980-05-13)
RecordedSeptember 1979 – March 1980[1]
  • Super Bear, Nice, France
  • Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California
  • Rumbo, Los Angeles, California
GenrePop rock[1]
LabelMCA (US)
Rocket (UK)
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
Rolling StoneUnrated[2]
Smash Hits7/10[3]

21 at 33 is the fourteenth studio album by English musician Elton John, released in 1980. It was his 21st album in total, made when John was 33 years old, hence the title.[4][5] Three singles were released from the album, including "Little Jeannie", his highest-charting U.S. single in 5 years. The album sold over 900,000 copies in the United States, missing a Platinum certification.[6]

The album was recorded at Super Bear Studios, Nice, France, in September 1979 and at Rumbo Recorders and Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, California, from January to March 1980.


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 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.

The title is derived from the fact that this was John's 21st album and was recorded at the age of 33. According to the liner notes in the remastered edition of the album, the count includes thirteen previous studio 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.

John 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 titled 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 on the US edition of the To Be Continued box set and 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.


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.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[22] Platinum 50,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[23] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[24] Gold 100,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[25] Gold 7,500^
United States (RIAA)[26] Gold 500,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ 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 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  9. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 01212a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  10. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Elton John – 21 at 33" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  11. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Elton John – 21 at 33" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  12. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e Dischi (in Italian). Retrieved 23 February 2022. Set "Tipo" on "Album". Then, in the "Artista" field, search "Elton John".
  13. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  14. ^ "Charts.nz – Elton John – 21 at 33". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  15. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Elton John – 21 at 33". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  16. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Elton John – 21 at 33". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  17. ^ "Elton John | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  18. ^ "Elton John Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 0275". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  20. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. 1980. Archived from the original on 21 October 2021. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  21. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1980 — The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Recorded Music New Zealand. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  22. ^ "Kent Music Report No 341 – 5 January 1981 > Platinum and Gold Albums 1980". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 26 December 2022 – via Imgur.com.
  23. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Elton John – 21 at 33". Music Canada.
  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.

External links[edit]