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"Ball and Chain"
Single by Elton John
from the album Jump Up!
B-side "The Retreat"
Released September, 1982
Genre Pop, rock
Length 3:27
Label Geffen (US/Canada)
Rocket Records
Writer(s) Elton John, Gary Osborne
Elton John singles chronology
"Blue Eyes"
"Ball and Chain"
Jump Up! track listing
"Spiteful Child"
"Ball and Chain"
"Legal Boys"

"Ball and Chain" is a song by Elton John with lyrics by Gary Osborne. It is the third track on his 1982 album "Jump Up!" and was released as a single in the U.S. in September that year. It features Pete Townshend of The Who on acoustic guitar. Townshend would play guitar on Town of plenty later.


Lyrical meaning

The song is basically about bad love, simply a relationship that is just not working. The woman is simply not giving her piece in the relationship. The man feels that he has "A ball and chain hanging around his heart". Osborne also added some French words into the song.

Musical structure

The song opens with Pete Townshend's percussive guitar playing, and subtle piano from Elton John. The song then builds to a climatic finish, placing the final verse one octave higher.



Country music artist Kathy Mattea covered the song on her 1985 album From My Heart.


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