Blue Moves

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Blue Moves
Elton John - Blue Moves.jpg
Studio album by Elton John
Released 22 October 1976
Recorded March 1976 at Eastern Sound, Toronto
Genre Rock
Length 84:47
Label MCA (US)
Rocket (UK)
Producer Gus Dudgeon
Elton John chronology
Here and There
Blue Moves
Greatest Hits Volume II
Singles from Blue Moves
  1. "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"
    Released: 1 November 1976
  2. "Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!)"
    Released: 31 January 1977
  3. "Crazy Water"
    Released: 4 February 1977

Blue Moves, released October 1976, is the eleventh official album release for Elton John. It was the second Elton John double album (after Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), and the first released by John's own Rocket Records Ltd. Despite the album's darker tone and experimental song line-up, it has held up well with critics and in its initial release made it to No. 3 on the album charts, partly on the strength of the album's biggest hit single "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word".


While giving a concert at Wembley Arena to promote the album, John spontaneously announced "I haven't been touring for a long time. It's been a painful decision, whether to come back on the road or not... I've made a decision tonight – this is going to be the last show... There's a lot more to me than playing on the road."[1] He didn't say for how long, but he was serious and temporarily left the touring/live performing scene. Kenny Passarelli, Caleb Quaye, James Newton-Howard and Roger Pope left the band after the album's release. Only Davey Johnstone and Ray Cooper returned in limited roles for John's next album, A Single Man.

John has stated that Blue Moves is one of his favourite albums he has ever recorded.[2] It was Gus Dudgeon's last album produced with John for almost a decade. The cover art for the album is from a painting by British artist Patrick Procktor. In the US, it was certified gold in October and platinum in December 1976 by the RIAA.

"Cage the Songbird" was a tribute to legendary French songstress Edith Piaf, and a year or so later was covered by Kiki Dee on an unreleased Rocket album, which finally was issued in 2008. ("Songbird" originated as part of the Rock of the Westies sessions, but wasn't completed during them, probably because the song's more acoustic, delicate sound didn't fit with the more rock 'n roll approach to the rest of the songs that made the Rock of the Westies final line-up.) The Beach Boys turned down "Chameleon" (which was originally written two years prior to the album's release), but Bruce Johnston, at the time a former Beach Boy, performed backing vocals on John's version along with Toni Tennille. John also performed the song at Wembley Stadium in 1975, where he also performed the Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy album in its entirety. An excerpt from "Out of the Blue" was used for the closing titles on Top Gear up until the end of that Top Gear format (in 2001). This was one of two albums in which Davey Johnstone does not provide backing vocals; 1997's The Big Picture would be the other.

John has played several songs from Blue Moves live. Versions of "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word", "Bite Your Lip", "One Horse Town", "Tonight", "Idol" and "Crazy Water" have surfaced in various concert appearances through the years.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau C[4]
Rolling Stone (not rated)[5]
Sputnik Music 3.5/5 stars[6]

Blue Moves has received mixed reviews since its release. A contemporary review for Rolling Stone said the album "contains nowhere near enough good songs to justify the extended length" and that the interludes and instrumentals were done "to the exclusion of sense."[5] Robert Christgau, writing for The Village Voice, giving the album a C rating, described it as "impossibly weepy" and "excessive".[4] Retrospectively, Lindsay Planer of Allmusic said the album showed the "inevitable fatigue" of John's "immense creativity" that had helped create his previous albums of his career.[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Your Starter for..." (Caleb Quaye) – 1:23
  2. "Tonight" – 7:52
  3. "One Horse Town" (John, James Newton-Howard, Taupin) – 5:56
  4. "Chameleon" – 5:27
Side two
  1. "Boogie Pilgrim" (John, Davey Johnstone, Quaye, Taupin) – 6:05
  2. "Cage the Songbird" (John, Johnstone, Taupin) – 3:25
  3. "Crazy Water" – 5:42
  4. "Shoulder Holster" – 5:10
Side three
  1. "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" – 3:48
  2. "Out of the Blue" – 6:14
  3. "Between Seventeen and Twenty" (John, Johnstone, Quaye, Taupin) – 5:17
  4. "The Wide-Eyed and Laughing" (John, Johnstone, Newton-Howard, Quaye, Taupin) – 3:27
  5. "Someone's Final Song" – 4:10
Side four
  1. "Where's the Shoorah?" – 4:09
  2. "If There's a God in Heaven (What's He Waiting For?)" (John, Johnstone, Taupin) – 4:25
  3. "Idol" – 4:08
  4. "Theme from a Non-Existent TV Series" – 1:19
  5. "Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!)" – 6:43

Initial CD versions of the album maintain the same running order, but omit the following tracks: "Cage the Songbird", "Shoulder Holster", "The Wide-Eyed and Laughing" and "Where's the Shoorah?" It has since been remastered and re-released as a 2-CD set retaining the original LP track listing.




Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[7] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[8] Gold 157,000[9]
United Kingdom (BPI)[10] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[11] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone



  1. ^ Video on YouTube
  2. ^ Elton John: Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, 1987.
  3. ^ a b Planer, Lindsay. "Blue Moves – Elton John". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "CG: elton john". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Blue Moves Album Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  6. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Elton John – Blue Moves". Music Canada. 
  8. ^ "French album certifications – Elton John – Blue Moves" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select ELTON JOHN and click OK
  9. ^ "Les Albums Or". SNEP. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "British album certifications – Elton John – Blue Moves". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Blue Moves in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  11. ^ "American album certifications – Elton John – Blue Moves". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  12. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  13. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 29 February 2012
  14. ^ " Elton John – Blue Moves" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  15. ^ source: Pennanen, Timo: Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972. Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava, 2006. ISBN 9789511210535. page: 280
  16. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Elton John" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1977" (in Italian). Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  18. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  19. ^ " Elton John – Blue Moves" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  20. ^ " Elton John – Blue Moves" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  21. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  22. ^ " Elton John – Blue Moves" (ASP). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  23. ^ "Chart Stats – Elton John – Blue Moves" (PHP). UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  24. ^ "allmusic ((( Blue Moves > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  25. ^ "Album Search: Elton John – Blue Moves" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  26. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1976". RPM. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  27. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1977". Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  28. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1976 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  29. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1977". RPM. 31 December 1977. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  30. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1977". Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2011.