Don't Go Breaking My Heart

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"Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
Don't Go Breaking My Heart Single.jpeg
Single by Elton John and Kiki Dee
B-side"Snow Queen"
Released21 June 1976
Recorded27 March 1976[1]
Genre
Length4:28
LabelRocket (UK)
MCA (US)
Songwriter(s)Ann Orson (Elton John)
Carte Blanche (Bernie Taupin)
Producer(s)Gus Dudgeon
Elton John singles chronology
"Pinball Wizard"
(1976)
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
(1976)
"Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"
(1976)
Kiki Dee singles chronology
"Once a Fool"
(1975)
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
(1976)
"First Thing in the Morning"
(1977)
Music video
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" on YouTube

"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.[2]

Chart performance[edit]

Writers John and Taupin received the 1976 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.[3]

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[4] and number one in Iceland.[5]

"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.[6] Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1976, giving him his second consecutive appearance in the Billboard Year-end Top 3.[7] In the U.S., it has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[8] 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.

In June 2013, 37 years after its original release, the single reached one million sales in the UK.[9][10]

The B-side, "Snow Queen", remained unavailable on CD outside Australia until April 2019 when it was included as a bonus track on the reissue of Kiki Dee's Cage the Songbird album, included in the 5-CD box set The Rocket Years.[11] In May 2019 it was also included on the 3-CD box set Gold, a retrospective of Dee's career spanning various labels.[citation needed]

Personnel[edit]

Based on information on the Elton John official website.[1]

Charts[edit]

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[40][41] Gold 50,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[42] Platinum 150,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[43] Gold 45,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[44] Gold 1,000,000[10]
United States (RIAA)[45] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Elton John and RuPaul version[edit]

"Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
Elton John & Rupaul-Don't Go Breaking My Heart.jpg
Single by Elton John and RuPaul
from the album Duets
Released14 February 1994
Genre
Label
  • MCA Records
  • The Rocket Record Company
Songwriter(s)Ann Orson (Elton John)
Carte Blanche (Bernie Taupin)
Producer(s)Giorgio Moroder
Elton John singles chronology
"True Love"
(1993)
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
(1994)
"Shakey Ground"
(1994)
RuPaul singles chronology
"House of Love"
(1993)
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
(1994)
"Snapshot"
(1996)
Music video
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" on YouTube

In 1994, Elton John and American drag queen, actor, model, singer, songwriter, and television personality RuPaul released the song as a duet. It was released as the third single from the album, Duets and reached number 3 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs in the US. In Europe, the song peaked at number-one in Iceland and within the top 10 in Portugal and the UK, the top 20 in Denmark, Ireland and Italy, and the top 30 in Austria, France and Switzerland. On the Eurochart Hot 100, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" peaked at number 18 in March 1994. Outside Europe, the song reached number 39 in New Zealand, number 45 in Australia, and number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

Critical reception[edit]

AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine described the song as a "kitschy number" in his review of Duets.[46] Larry Flick from Billboard wrote that John "recreates his classic Kiki Dee duet with the world's favorite drag queen. Revamped quasi-rave/hi-NRG version of the track is way stronger than the less-than-pleasing mix on John's current collection, rendering it a formidable contender for action on both dancefloors and radio. Oodles of good fun."[47] Dave Sholin from Gavin Report commented, "Thanks to producer Giorgio Moroder, there's a few more beats per minute, as well as a hilarious video, and a super performance of a great tune."[48] John Kilgo from The Network Forty noted that this remake of the previous number-one smash "is for real..."[49]

Music video[edit]

A music video was made to accompany the song, featuring Elton John and RuPaul. It was directed by Randy Barbota.[50] The video was uploaded to YouTube in December 2016. As of August 2020, it has had more than 2 million views.[51]

Track listing[edit]

CD single, Europe (1994)
No.TitleLength
1."Don't Go Breaking My Heart"4:59
2."Donner Pour Donner"4:25
CD single, UK (1994)
No.TitleLength
1."Don't Go Breaking My Heart"4:59
2."Donner Pour Donner"4:24
3."A Woman's Needs"5:16
CD maxi, US (1994)
No.TitleLength
1."Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (Remix)6:56
2."Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (MK Mix)7:19
3."Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (Serious Rope 12")6:39
4."Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (Roger's Dub Mix)7:06

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "10 Fun Facts about 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart'". 7 August 2018. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  2. ^ Bartlett, Karen. Dusty – An Intimate Portrait of a Musical Legend.
  3. ^ Lister, David (28 May 1994). "Pop ballads bite back in lyrical fashion". The Independent. London, England: Newspaper Publishing.
  4. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100 27 February 1994 – 05 March 1994". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (10.–16.3. '94)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 10 March 1994. p. 20. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 128.
  7. ^ a b Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (25 December 1976). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 43.
  8. ^ "American certifications – Go Breaking My Heart". Recording Industry Association of America.
  9. ^ Pakinkis, Tom (28 June 2013). "Elton, Sheeran and Andre join million-sellers club in the UK". Music Week. London, England: Intent Media. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  10. ^ a b Lane, Daniel (27 June 2013). "Daft Punk's Get Lucky becomes one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  11. ^ Marchese, Joe (15 May 2019). "Edsel Collects Kiki Dee's "The Rocket Years" on New Box Set". The Second Disc. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  12. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales, Australia: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 978-0-646-11917-5.
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  14. ^ "Ultratop.be – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ * Lwin, Nanda Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide. Mississauga, ON: Music Data Canada, 2000
  16. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4289a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
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  18. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Irish Singles Chart.
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  21. ^ "Charts.nz – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Top 40 Singles.
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  25. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Swiss Singles Chart.
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  28. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 122.
  29. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  30. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 2 March 2020. To see peak chart position, click "TITEL VON Elton John & Kiki Dee"
  31. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on 19 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  32. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1976". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
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  36. ^ Hunter, Nigel, ed. (1977). "Top 100 Singles 1976". BPI YearBook 1977 (2nd ed.). British Phonographic Industry. pp. 216–18. ISBN 0-906154-00-6.
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  40. ^ "LOT 131 OF 817: BERNIE TAUPIN ELTON JOHN "DON'T GO BREAKING MY HEART" RECORD AWARD". Julien's Auctions. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  41. ^ "Blue Moves to Platinum" (PDF). Cash Box. Vol. 38 no. 29. 4 December 1976. p. 50. Retrieved 15 August 2020 – via World Radio History.
  42. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Elton John – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Music Canada. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  43. ^ "Danish single certifications – Elton John – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  44. ^ "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.
  45. ^ "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. 
  46. ^ "Elton John - Duets". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
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  50. ^ "elton john & ru paul - don't go breaking my heart ( viva tv )". YouTube. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  51. ^ "Elton John, RuPaul - Don't Go Breaking My Heart (with RuPaul)". YouTube. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  52. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Elton John & RuPaul – Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  53. ^ "Ultratop.be – Elton John & RuPaul – Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  54. ^ Danish Singles Chart 25 March 1994
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  57. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Elton John & RuPaul – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  58. ^ "Elton John & RuPaul - Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (in Dutch). top40.nl. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  59. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Elton John & RuPaul – Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  60. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Elton John & RuPaul – Don't Go Breaking My Heart". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  61. ^ "Árslistinn 1994". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 2 January 1995. p. 25. Retrieved 14 July 2020.

External links[edit]