Don't Go Breaking My Heart
|"Don't Go Breaking My Heart"|
|Single by Elton John and Kiki Dee|
|Released||21 June 1976|
|Recorded||27 March 1976|
|Songwriter(s)||Ann Orson (Elton John)|
Carte Blanche (Bernie Taupin)
|Elton John singles chronology|
|Kiki Dee singles chronology|
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" is a 1976 duet by Elton John and Kiki Dee. It was written by Elton John with Bernie Taupin under the pseudonyms "Ann Orson" and "Carte Blanche", respectively, and intended as an affectionate pastiche of the Motown style, notably the various duets recorded by Marvin Gaye and singers such as Tammi Terrell and Kim Weston. It should not be confused with the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song of the same title recorded in 1965 by Dionne Warwick for the album Here I Am.
John and Taupin originally intended to record the song with Dusty Springfield, but ultimately withdrew the offer; Springfield's partner Sue Cameron later said this was because she was too ill at the time.
In 2018, Q-Tip and Demi Lovato recorded a cover version for the tribute album Revamp: Reimagining the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin.
Unlike many of John's singles from the 1970s, it was never included on an original album (although it was recorded during the Blue Moves sessions), but was subsequently released as the third single on the album Duets, in early 1994. This version of the song was recorded with RuPaul and reached number seven on the UK Singles Chart and number one in Iceland.
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" was the first No. 1 single in the UK for both John and Kiki Dee, topping the chart for six weeks in mid 1976. John would not enjoy a solo British chart-topper until "Sacrifice" in 1990. It also became his sixth No. 1 single in the US, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks and spent one week on the Easy Listening chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1976, giving him his second consecutive appearance in the Billboard Year-end Top 3. In the U.S. it has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. After this duet with Dee, John failed to have another US solo number one single until "Candle in the Wind 1997". This 21-year period included two intervening number one hits in America with musical partners: "That's What Friends Are For" by Dionne & Friends in 1986, and a 1992 re-make of John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" with George Michael credited as a duet.
The B-side, "Snow Queen", was supposedly inspired by Cher, with John quoting past Sonny & Cher hits "I Got You Babe" and "The Beat Goes On", as well as the solo Cher song "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" during the fadeout of the song.
In 1977, John guest starred on The Muppet Show and performed the track with Miss Piggy. In 1985, John and Dee performed the track to the crowd at Wembley Stadium during John's set at Live Aid (where Dee sang backup). In 1987, John appeared with Minnie Mouse on the NBC series Totally Minnie miming to the track. He performed the track with Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) at the 2001 British Comedy awards. He also performed it with the Spice Girls on his ITV tribute programme An Audience with ... Elton John.
The song can be found on Elton John's Greatest Hits Volume II (1977) and Greatest Hits 1976–1986; the 1995 UK CD of Rock of the Westies includes it as a bonus track (the US edition did not, however). In 2002, it also appeared on John's 2-disc greatest hits album, Elton John's Greatest Hits 1970-2002. A demo version of the song was recorded by John as a solo artist. This version has not been released commercially. The B-side, "Snow Queen", has not seen any re-release since being issued on the single.
Based on information on the Elton John official website.
- Elton John – vocals, electric piano
- Kiki Dee – vocals
- James Newton Howard – acoustic piano, orchestral arrangements
- Caleb Quaye – electric guitars
- Davey Johnstone – electric guitars
- Kenny Passarelli – bass guitar
- Roger Pope – drums
- Ray Cooper – tambourine, congas, bongos
- Curt Boettcher, Cindy Bullens, Ken Gold, Jon Joyce – uncredited backing vocals
Charts and certifications
Weekly singles charts
Sales and certifications
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- * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
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- Hunter, Nigel, ed. (1977). "Top 100 Singles 1976". BPI YearBook 1977 (2nd ed.). British Phonographic Industry. pp. 216–18. ISBN 0-906154-00-6.
- Top 50 Adult Contemporary Hits of 1976
- "Canadian single certifications – Elton John – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Music Canada. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- "British single certifications – Elton John/Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 16 June 2014. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Don't Go Breaking My Heart in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "American single certifications – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 11 May 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.