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A Single Man
Studio album by Elton John
Released October 16, 1978
Recorded January-September 1978
Genre Rock, pop
Length 48:46
Label MCA (US/Canada)
Rocket Records
Producer Clive Franks,
Elton John
Professional reviews
Elton John chronology
Greatest Hits Volume II
A Single Man
Victim of Love

A Single Man is the twelfth studio album by British singer/songwriter Elton John, released in 1978, 2 years after his intended last album Blue Moves, and 1 year after the release of Elton John's Greatest Hits Volume II. It is the first album John created without his longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin or his longtime Producer Gus Dudgeon. As Gary Osborne was an unknown at the time, many people have misinterpreted the album's title to imply that Elton wrote the entire album himself.

The hit "Song for Guy" was a tribute to Guy Burchett, a young Rocket Records messenger who was killed in a motorcycle accident. The song was a near-global success, charting high everywhere except the United States and Canada, where Elton's label, MCA Records, didn't feel that it had hit potential, due to the recent success of "The Music Box Dancer".

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. Paul Buckmaster would not appear on another Elton John Album until Made in England.

The photo for the front cover was taken in the Long Walk, which is part of Windsor Great Park in Berkshire.


Soviet Release

A Single Man was Elton'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. First, the album was re-titled Poyot Elton John ["Elton John sings" in Russian]. Second, both "Big Dipper" and "Part-Time Love" were removed, due to the subject matter of the songs. Curiously, Elton had performed "Part-Time Love" at the USSR shows without objection from Soviet officials.

Track listing

All songs by Elton John and Gary Osborne, except where noted.


Side one

  1. "Shine on Through" – 3:45
  2. "Return to Paradise" – 4:15
  3. "I Don't Care" – 4:23
  4. "Big Dipper" – 4:04
  5. "It Ain't Gonna Be Easy" – 8:27

Side two

  1. "Part-Time Love" – 3:16
  2. "Georgia" – 4:50
  3. "Shooting Star" – 2:44
  4. "Madness" – 5:53
  5. "Reverie" (John) – 0:53
  6. "Song for Guy" (John) – 6:35

Bonus tracks (1998 Polydor reissue)

  1. "Ego" (John, Bernie Taupin) – 4:00
  2. "Flinstone Boy" (John) – 4:13
  3. "I Cry at Night" (John, Taupin) – 3:16
  4. "Lovesick" (John, Taupin) – 3:59
  5. "Strangers" – 4:46


Song Format
"I Cry at Night" Part Time Love 7" (US/UK)
"Lovesick" Song for Guy 7" (US/UK)



  • 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


Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1978 Pop Albums 15

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1978 "Ego" Pop Singles 34
1978 "Part-Time Love" Pop Singles 21


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