A Single Man (album)
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|A Single Man|
|Studio album by Elton John|
|Released||16 October 1978|
|Recorded||Autumn 1977, January – September 1978, The Mill, Cookham, Berks|
|Genre||Rock, pop, disco|
|Producer||Clive Franks, Elton John|
|Elton John chronology|
|Singles from A Single Man|
A Single Man is the first of John's albums to not feature long-time collaborators Bernie Taupin (lyricist) and Gus Dudgeon (producer). The only returning members of his band are percussionist Ray Cooper and guitarist Davey Johnstone; the latter only played on one song on the album. Paul Buckmaster would not appear on another Elton John album until Made in England. Unlike previous compositions in which lyrics came first, John began writing melodies at a piano and an album unintentionally became of it. This was John's first in which he started singing in a lower register. "Song for Guy" was written as a tribute to Guy Burchett, a young Rocket messenger who was killed in a motorcycle accident.
The album was recorded in Autumn 1977, and then from January to September 1978, at The Mill, Cookham, Berks.
The photo for the front cover was taken in the Long Walk, which is part of Windsor Great Park in Berkshire. The inside cover shows John in a Jaguar XK140 FHC.
The album was released on 16 October 1978 by MCA in America, and by Rocket in the UK. Singles from the album were "Part-Time Love", October 1978; "Song for Guy", November 1978; and "Return to Paradise", 1979. "Song for Guy" was a near-global success, charting high everywhere except the US and Canada, where John's label, MCA Records, didn't feel that it had hit potential, due to the recent success of the instrumental "Music Box Dancer".
A Single Man was John's first album ever to be officially released in the former USSR, though his previous releases had been smuggled into the country in various forms. It was released following the success of his A Single Man in Concert shows in Moscow and Leningrad, though it differed in two ways from its release elsewhere. Firstly, the album was re-titled Poyot Elton John ["Elton John sings" in Russian]. Secondly, on some prints, both "Big Dipper" and "Part-Time Love" were removed, due to the subject matter of the songs. Curiously, John had performed "Part-Time Love" at the USSR shows without objection from Soviet officials.
In the US, A Single Man was certified gold in October 1978 and platinum in November of the same year by the RIAA.
|Rolling Stone||(not rated)|
The 1998 reissue has five bonus tracks, the first two being the 1978 flop-single "Ego", and its B-side "Flinstone Boy". The next two tracks are the B-sides of "Part-Time Love" and "Song for Guy" ("I Cry at Night" and "Lovesick" respectively), and the last track, "Strangers", originally B-side of his 1979 disco-album title track, "Victim of Love". Some releases of his 1980 album, 21 at 33, also have "Strangers" as a bonus track.
Promotion and live performances
At the time of release, John performed some songs from the album on shows such as Bruce Forsyth's Big Night (performing "Part-Time Love"), Countdown (miming "Georgia" and "Madness"), The Old Grey Whistle Test (performing "Shooting Star" and "Song for Guy"), Parkinson (performing "Song for Guy"), Rockpop (miming "Return to Paradise" and "Part-Time Love") and Top of the Pops (miming "Part-Time Love" and performing "Song for Guy"). He performed two solo sets: one for MCA personnel at the Century Plaza Hotel on 14 October 1978 (performing "Shine on Through", "Return to Paradise" and "Song for Guy") and the other at a RTL studio on 20 October 1978 (performing "Part-Time Love", "Shooting Star" and "Song for Guy"). John's tour in 1979 included songs from the album ("Part-Time Love" and "Song for Guy").
Since that period, songs other than "Song for Guy" have not been performed.
- "Shine on Through" – 3:45
- "Return to Paradise" – 4:15
- "I Don't Care" – 4:23
- "Big Dipper" – 4:04
- "It Ain't Gonna Be Easy" – 8:27
- "Part-Time Love" – 3:16
- "Georgia" – 4:50
- "Shooting Star" – 2:44
- "Madness" – 5:53
- "Reverie" (John) – 0:53
- "Song for Guy" (John) – 6:35
Bonus tracks (1998 Mercury reissue)
- "Ego" (John, Bernie Taupin) – 4:00
- "Flinstone Boy" (John) – 4:13
- "I Cry at Night" (John, Taupin) – 3:16
- "Lovesick" (John, Taupin) – 3:59
- "Strangers" (John, Osborne) – 4:46
|"I Cry at Night"||"Part-Time Love" 7" (US/UK)|
|"Lovesick"||"Song for Guy" 7" (US/UK)|
- Elton John – piano, harmonium, church organ, lead and backing vocals, clavinet, mellotron, Polymoog, Solina String synthesizer
- Ray Cooper – congas, tambourine, tympani, vibraphone, shakers, wind chimes
- Vicki Brown – backing vocals
- Paul Buckmaster – orchestra arrangement, ARP, Fender Rhodes
- B.J. Cole – steel guitar
- John Crocker – clarinet, tenor saxophone
- Herbie Flowers – acoustic bass
- Clive Franks – bass guitar
- Rhythm Box – rhythm box
- Patrick Halcox – trumpet
- Steve Holley – drums
- Davey Johnstone – lead guitar, backing vocals
- Stevie Lange – backing vocals
- Henry Lowther – trumpet
- Gary Osborne – backing vocals
- Tim Renwick – acoustic guitar, mandolin, electric guitar, Leslie guitar
- Jim Shepherd – trombone
- Joanne Stone – backing vocals
- Chris Thompson – backing vocals
- Watford Football Club – backing vocals
- Producers: Clive Franks, Elton John
- Supervising producer: Mike Gill
- Engineers: Phil Dunne, Stuart Epps, Clive Franks, Peter Mew
- Mixing: Phil Dunne, Stuart Epps, Clive Franks
- Mastering: Ian Cooper
- Digital remastering: Gus Dudgeon
- Coordination: Alex Foster
- Arranger: Joanne Stone
- Orchestral arrangements: Paul Buckmaster
- Sleeve design: David Costa
- Graphic design: Mike Storey
- Liner editor: John Tobler
- Liner notes: Chris White
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- A Single Man (album) at AllMusic
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