MCAD-31181 A Single Man
Produced by Elton John and Clive Franks
Released on October 1978
UK CHART POSITION #8 . . . US CHART POSITION #15 . . . PLATINUM RECORD
Find it at GEMM
MCAD-31181 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

K M 16.0: A STAR, OSBORNE. The first album without lyricist Bernie Taupin, the last Elton John album of any real rock merit. Disco was beginning to creep into the mix, evidenced on the hit “Part-Time Love,” but like the later (actually, earlier) “Mama Can’t Buy You Love” confirmed, it wasn’t such a bad milieu for the well-manored maestro. A Single Man could be seen as an extension of his second-phase 70s albums: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Captain Fantastic, Rock of the Westies. Those were better efforts, but audibly the work of the same artist. Here you have ballads (“Shine On Through”), faux island music (“Return To Paradise”), Kink-y humor (“Big Dipper”) and rock with strings (“I Don’t Care”). The epic “It Aint Gonna Be Easy” is another winner, the peak of intensity kept at a cool flame. New lyricist Gary Osborne isn’t a liability. Taupin’s dark character studies are missed, but as Blue Moves proved it took more than words to move the machine. Also featured here is a possible homage to David Bowie, “Shooting Star,” which sounds for the life of me like “Wild Is The Wind,” and his only instrumental hit, “Song For Guy.” That last track only features the words “Life / Isn’t death everything” sung quietly over an achingly sweet melody. While US audiences didn’t know what to make of it, our smarter UK cousins rightly appreciated it, vaunting it to #4. Perhaps it’s only fitting that the best song on an Elton John album without Bernie Taupin was an instrumental. I’d be leery of the albums after, but A Single Man successfully channels Elton’s star power for one more magical ride.

TRACK LISTING

  1. SHINE ON THROUGH    3:40
  2. RETURN TO PARADISE    4:12
  3. I DON'T CARE    4:20
  4. BIG DIPPER    4:00
  5. IT AIN'T GONNA BE EASY    8:23
  6. PART-TIME LOVE    3:12
  7. GEORGIA    4:47
  8. SHOOTING STAR    2:43
  9. MADNESS    5:23
  10. REVERIE    (Elton John)    0:52
  11. SONG FOR GUY    (Elton John)    6:34

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  12. EGO
  13. FLINTSTONE BOY
  14. I CRY AT NIGHT
  15. LOVESICK
  16. STRANGERS

    All selections written by Elton John & Gary Osborne unless noted

CREDITS

ELTON JOHN --
Phil Dunne -- engineer
Stuart Epps -- engineer
Clive Franks -- engineer

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK October 1978 Rocket LP TRAIN-1 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
US October 1978 MCA LP/8T MCA/MCAT-3065 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
US 1978 MCA LPPIC MCAP-14951 picture disc
ARG 1978 Rocket LP 9103500  
AUSL 1978 Rocket LP/CS 9103500/7131180 gatefold cover
JPN 1978 Rocket LP RJ-7540 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
MEX 1978 Rocket LP LPR-15171  
UK   Rocket LP PRICE-24  
US 1981 MCA CS MCAC-1615  
US   MCA CD MCAD-31181  
GER   Rocket CD 826 805-2  
US 1998 Island CDX 558474 w. bonus tracks

 

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