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A Single Man

Elton John

℗ 1978 MCA Records MCA 3065

Elton John • 1978 • A Single Man

After a dozen albums with lyrical collaborator Bernie Taupin, A Single Man (1978) represents Elton John's first full-length release away from their decade-long partnership. John's initial intent was to complete work on a Taupin-era remnant that had been on the back burner, titled Ego. However, he found himself with some interesting melodies and eventually teamed up with former Vigrass & Osborne member Gary Osborne. Also contributing to this album's different approach is producer Gus Dudgeon — who had worked with John as far back as his debut long-player, Empty Sky (1969). The infusion of new musical associates takes notable effect on songs such as the opener, "Shine on Through," which John had previously worked up during the Thom Bell Philly soul sessions that produced the hit "Mama Can't Buy You Love." (That version is available as one of three previously unissued sides on the Complete Thom Bell Sessions EP.) Among the other standouts are the gospel-tinged "Georgia," the lengthy blues-rocker "It Ain't Gonna Be Easy," and the ultra campy, if not lightweight, "Big Dipper." The single "Part-Time Love" only made a nominal chart impact despite its catchy and danceable melody. The 1998 CD remaster boasts five additional bonus tracks from a variety of 45s. These include the single-only cuts "Ego," "Flintstone Boy," "I Cry at Night," "Lovesick," and "Strangers." This final track would not be issued for almost a year as the B-side to the disco drivel "Victim of Love." — Lindsay Planer.

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