Elton John - A Single Man

Original 1978 LP Record on Black Vinyl, US Pressing

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A Single Man is the twelfth studio album by British singer-songwriter Elton John, released in October 1978 via MCA Records in North America and Rocket Records in the UK.

In Elton John's five-decade career he has recorded more than 30 studio albums, selling 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world, with over fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 US albums, 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10, four No. 2 and nine No. 1. For 31 consecutive years (1970–2000) he had at least one song in the Billboard Hot 100. His tribute single, re-penned in dedication to the late Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997" sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling single in the history of the UK and US singles charts.


In November 1977 whilst performing a concert at Wembley Stadium following the promotional tour for the album Blue Moves, Elton announced that he was retiring from the music business and touring.  After a string of massive hits and chart-topping albums and tours from 1970 to 1976, Elton John and Bernie Taupin were burnt out. Taupin began collaborating with other artists, most notably Alice Cooper.

Elton John continued producing music for Rocket Records artists together with his long-time sound engineer Clive Franks. Perhaps as a result of these sessions, Elton began to feel inspired to write songs again and teamed up with British lyricist Gary Osbourne to develop the lyrics for the album that would become A Single Man. The album was recorded from January to September 1978 in the UK, during a time when Elton was very much involved hands-on with his Football Club Watford as Chairman. Taupin was very much ensconced in the US.

A Single Man was self produced by Elton John and Clive Franks and the sound is very much stripped back to showcase the piano throughout. Paul Buckmaster who had provided the string arrangements for Elton's earlier albums returns on this record, and his distinctive arrangements are a standout. Also featured on the album is guitar work by Tim Renwick (who would later tour with both Roger Waters and Pink Floyd), with standout lead solos on Madness and It Ain't Gonna Be Easy which interplay with the string arrangements beautifully.

The Watford football team members and Rocket Record staff provide various "choral" backing vocals on tongue in cheek Big Dipper and Georgia. The opening song Shine On Through is one of "The Captain's" favourites from this album, and a version of this had originally been recorded during the incomplete Thom Bell sessions in 1977.

The biggest surprise hit single from this album was the final instrumental track Song For Guy that features Elton on piano and Ray Cooper on percussion, dedicated to the Rocket Records messenger boy Guy Burtchett who was killed in a motorcyle accident. This was released as the second single from the album and reached #4 in the UK and #14 on the Australian Singles charts.

The first single released before the album was Part Time Love and the only song on the album to feature Davey Johnstone, who plays the lead guitar solos on the track. Part Time Love reached #15 on the UK and #12 on the Australian Singles charts.

When this album was recorded and released, there was no official Elton John Band active at that time, but here are the core members of the studio musicians that recorded majority of songs on the album:

  • Ray Cooper - percussion
  • Tim Renwick - guitars
  • Steve Holly - drums
  • Clive Franks - bass
  • Paul Buckmaster - string arrangements
  • Gary Osbourne - lyrics
  • Chris Thompson - backing vocals
  • Herbie Flowers - bass

Elton John hit the road again in early 1979 with live performances supporting this album as a "single man" in a unique show with him on the piano, solo, and then joined by Ray Cooper on percussion for the second half of the show. This tour featured groundbreaking concerts in Israel and the then Soviet Union. The record was also the first ever of his albums to be officially released in the former USSR.

The photo for the front album cover was taken in the Long Walk, which is part of Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, and the inside cover shows John in a Jaguar XK140 FHC.

The album peaked at #8 on the UK albums chart and remained on the charts for six months, longer than any of his previous albums since his Greatest Hits package in 1974. The album also peaked at #15 in the US Billboard 200 Albums chart and remained on the charts for over four months. In Australia the album peaked at #8.

Three singles were released from the album: Part-Time Love, Song for Guy, and Return to Paradise. Also check out:  Shine On Through, It Ain't Gonna Be Easy and Madness.

This LP Record is on Black Vinyl housed in a Gatefold Sleeve with Printed Inner Sleeve, pressed in the US, an original 1978 pressing return copy with cut-out and sealed.







Sine On Through



Return To Paradise



I Don't Care



Big Dipper



It Ain't Gonna Be Easy



Part-Time Love






Shooting Star









Song For Guy




SKU 9990704024758
Record Label MCA Records
Label / Model # Universal
Catalogue Number MCA-3065
Country US - United States
Release Date (Year) 16 October 1978
Original Release Date (Year) 16 October 1978
Barcode # 9990704024758
Shipping Weight 0.3000kg
Shipping Width 0.007m
Shipping Height 0.314m
Shipping Length 0.314m
Shipping Cubic 0.000690000m3
Type New
Format Limited Edition LP Record, Black Vinyl, Gatefold Sleeve, Printed Inner Sleeve, Original 1978 US Pressing, Return Copy with Sleeve Cutout, Sealed
Vinyl Colour Black
Genre Rock
Genre Pop Rock
Genre Classic Rock

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