| 16 October 1978|
16 October 1978
| January – September 1978, The Mill, Cookham, Berks|
Clive Franks, Elton John
The Thom Bell Sessions
Rock music, Pop music, Pop rock
Elton John albums, Rock music albums
A Single Man, released in 1978, is the twelfth official album release for Elton John. It is the first album where Gary Osborne replaced Bernie Taupin as lyricist.
A Single Man is the first of John's albums to not include long-time collaborators Bernie Taupin (lyricist) and Gus Dudgeon (producer). The 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 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, did not feel that it had hit potential, in spite of 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.
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.
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"), The Morecambe & Wise Show (performing "Shine on Through"), 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.
All songs by Elton John and Gary Osborne, except where noted.Elton John – piano, harmonium, church organ, Fender Rhodes, lead and backing vocals, clavinet, mellotron, Polymoog, Solina String synthesizer
Ray Cooper – congas, tambourine, tympani, vibraphone, shakers, wind chimes, rhythm box
Vicki Brown – backing vocals
Paul Buckmaster – orchestra arrangement, ARP synthesizer
B.J. Cole – steel guitar
John Crocker – clarinet, tenor saxophone
Herbie Flowers – acoustic bass
Clive Franks – bass guitar
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
1Shine on Through3:44A Single Man (album) Wikipedia
2Return to Paradise4:14
3I Don't Care4:19