Nikita (song)

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"Nikita"
Nikita45.jpg
Single by Elton John
from the album Ice on Fire
B-side "The Man Who Never Died" (U.K.)
"Restless" (U.S.)
Released 29 October 1985 (UK)
February 1986 (U.S.)
Format CD, vinyl record (7" and 12")
Recorded January 1985
Genre Pop rock, soft rock
Length 5:44 (album version)
4:54 (single version)
Label Rocket (UK), Geffen (U.S.)
Writer(s) Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Producer(s) Gus Dudgeon
Elton John singles chronology
"Act of War"
(1985)
"Nikita"
(1985)
"Wrap Her Up"
(1985)
Ice on Fire track listing
"Soul Glove"
(3)
"Nikita"
(4)
"Too Young"
(5)

"Nikita" is a song by English singer Elton John about the Cold War from his 1985 album Ice on Fire. Released late in the year, the song was successful in many countries and was a top ten hit in almost all of them.

Song synopsis[edit]

In the song, Elton John describes his crush on a person called Nikita, an East German border guard whom he cannot meet because he is not allowed into the country. It features George Michael and Nik Kershaw on backing vocals, and is notable for a distinctive synthesizer solo[not in citation given].[1] The song charted at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart,[2] and at number 7 in the US.[3]

Composition[edit]

The song is composed in the key of G major in 4/4 time. The song employs a verse-chorus-verse format, with the second chorus being shorter than the first, plus a mechanically-themed breakdown halfway through the second chorus.

Video settings and song information[edit]

The video for the song "Nikita", directed by Ken Russell, featured Anya Major in the role of Nikita and a cameo appearance by Justin Lewis.[citation needed] Elton John accepted the proposed script written by Russell which was a male-female love interpretation of the song, as indeed the depicted East German border guard in the video is a blonde woman with short hair. Scenes showing the two together in various happy situations, including wearing the colours of Watford FC of whom John is a supporter and former Chairman, were based in fantasy. In interviews, John has said that he was aware that Nikita was a male name in Russian.[citation needed]

The car featured in the video is a convertible Bentley Continental that John bought new in February 1985. The registration plate shown in the video, B120 WYM, is the car's original, before John changed the registration for a personalised plate.[4]

In 1986, in the wake of the song's success, video actress Anya Major recorded a spin-off song titled "Moscow Nights" which she released under the stage name "Anya".[5]

Allegation of plagiarism[edit]

Elton John, Bernie Taupin and Big Pig Music were accused of plagiarism by South African photographer and songwriter Guy Hobbs. Hobbs wrote a song in 1982 entitled "Natasha", about a Russian waitress on a cruise ship, who was never allowed to leave it. The song was copyrighted in 1983, and sent to Big Pig Music (John's publisher) for a possible publishing deal, but Hobbs never heard back from the publisher. In 2001, Hobbs came across the lyric book to "Nikita" and noticed similarities with his song. Despite repeated attempts by Guy to contact John over the issue, he never heard from him and so commenced legal action in 2012.[6][7] On 31 October 2012, a US federal judge granted John and Taupin's motion to dismiss, finding that the song did not infringe Hobbs' copyright because the only similar elements were generic images and themes that are not protected under copyright law.[8][9]

Track listings[edit]

7" single
  1. "Nikita" — 4:54
  2. "The Man Who Never Died" — 5:10
or "Restless" — 4:26
or "I'm Still Standing" — 3:03
or "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" — 6:12
12" maxi
  1. "Nikita" (album version) — 5:43
  2. "The Man Who Never Died" — 5:10
  3. "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" (live) — 3:26
  4. "I'm Still Standing (live) — 4:38

Personnel[edit]

Charts and sales[edit]

Chart successions[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
"The Power of Love" by Jennifer Rush
Irish IRMA number-one single
16 November 1985 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"A Good Heart" by Feargal Sharkey
Preceded by
"Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie
Dutch Single Top 100 number-one single
1 December 1985 –1 February 1986 (9 weeks)
Succeeded by
"When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going" by Billy Ocean
Preceded by
"Take On Me" by A-ha
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
7 December 1985 – 25 January 1986 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"A Good Heart" by Feargal Sharkey
Swiss number-one single
8 December 1985 – 29 December 1985 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie
German number-one single
13 December 1985 – 3 January 1986 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Jeanny" by Falco
Belgium Ultratop 50 (Flanders) number-one single
21 December 1985 – 8 February 1986 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"A Good Heart" by Feargal Sharkey
Belgium BRT Top 30 (Flanders) number-one single
21 December 1985 – 8 February 1986 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Baby Talk" by Alisha
Preceded by
"Room That Echoes" by Peking Man
New Zealand RIANZ number-one single
24 January 1986 – 7 February 1986 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"I'm Your Man" by Wham!
Preceded by
"Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie
South African Springbok Radio number-one single
16 February 1986 – 16 March 1986 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"We Built This City" by Starship
Preceded by
"Sara" by Starship
Canadian "RPM" Adult Contemporary number-one single
5 April 1986 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"These Dreams" by Heart

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Elton John Song Lyrics: Nikita". Retrieved 3 January 2007. 
  2. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 1985-11-09" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Elton John – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Elton John. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  4. ^ Parry, Hannah (13 January 2015). "Oh Nikita! Elton John's Bentley Continental which took starring role in 1985 Cold War hit up for sale for £70,000". Mail Online. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Anya (2) Discogs
  6. ^ Voelker, Daniel (26 April 2012). "Guy Hobbs (Plaintiff) versus Sir Elton Hercules John, Bernard John Taupin, & Big Pig Music (Defendants)" (PDF). Entertainment Law Digest. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Dadds, Kimberley (27 April 2012). "Elton John is sued by songwriter for allegedly stealing lyrics to Nikita". Mail Online. p. D01. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  8. ^ Heller, Matthew (31 October 2012). "Elton John Kicks Copyright Suit Over 'Nikita' Lyrics". Law360. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Sullivan, Shawn (3 November 2012). "Elton John's 'Nikita' Didn't Infringe Copyright In Earlier Cold War Love Song". SullivanLawNet. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  10. ^ bulion. "Forum - ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts - CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". ARIA. Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  11. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Elton John – Nikita" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be – Elton John – Nikita" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Radio 2 Top 30" (in Dutch). Top 30. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  14. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Elton John – Nikita". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  15. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Nikita". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  16. ^ "Hit Parade Italia". HitParadeItalia (in Italian). Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  17. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 49, 1985" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Elton John – Nikita" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  19. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Elton John – Nikita". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  20. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 9445." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0655." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  22. ^ CHART NUMBER 1528– Saturday, April 05, 1986 at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 November 2006) CHUM
  23. ^ "Lescharts.com – Elton John – Nikita" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  24. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Elton John – Nikita". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  25. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Elton John – Nikita". VG-lista. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  26. ^ "Lista Przebojów Programu 3" (in Polish). Lista Przebojów Programu Trzeciego. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  27. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1965 – 1989 Acts J". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  28. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Elton John – Nikita". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  29. ^ "Elton John – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Elton John. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  30. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending MARCH 29, 1986 at the Wayback Machine (archived 1 October 2012) Cash Box magazine
  31. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  32. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  33. ^ "Ultratop Jaaroverzichten 1985". Ultratop 50 (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  34. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - I singoli più venduti del 1985". FIMI (in Italian). Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  35. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1985". Dutch Top 40 (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  36. ^ "Dutch Charts Jaaroverzichten Single 1985". Single Top 100 (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  37. ^ 1985 in British music#Best-selling singles
  38. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1986". Ö3 Austria Top 40 (in German). Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  39. ^ "Ultratop Jaaroverzichten 1986". Ultratop 50 (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  40. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0760." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  41. ^ "Single-Jahrescharts 1986". GfK Entertainment Charts (in German). Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  42. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1986". Dutch Top 40 (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  43. ^ "Dutch Charts Jaaroverzichten Single 1986". Single Top 100 (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  44. ^ "The Official NZ Music Charts - End of Year Charts 1986". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  45. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1986". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  46. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1986". Swiss Singles Chart (in German). Retrieved 5 November 2016. 
  47. ^ "Top Pop Singles" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 98 no. 52. New York, NY, USA. 27 December 1986. p. Y-21. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  48. ^ "Top Adult Contemporary Singles" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 98 no. 52. New York, NY, USA. 27 December 1986. p. Y-27. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  49. ^ The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1986 at the Wayback Machine (archived 30 September 2012) Cash Box magazine
  50. ^ "French single certifications – Elton John – Nikita" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 22 November 2012.  Select ELTON JOHN and click OK
  51. ^ "British single certifications – Elton John – Nikita". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 22 November 2012.  Enter Nikita in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search

External links[edit]