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"Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"

Sleeve for 1986-87 live version charity single
Single by Elton John
from the album Caribou
B-side "Sick City"
Released May 20, 1974
Format 7-inch, audio cassette, compact disc
Recorded Caribou Ranch
Genre Rock
Length 5:35
Label MCA, DJM, Rocket/Phonogram
Writer(s) Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Producer Gus Dudgeon
Elton John singles chronology
"Bennie and the Jets"
(1974)
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
(1974)
"The Bitch is Back"
(1974)
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
Single by George Michael/Elton John
Released 1991
Format 7-inch, 12-inch, audio cassette, compact disc
Recorded Wembley Stadium
Genre Rock, piano rock
Length 5:47
Label Columbia, Epic
Writer(s) Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Producer George Michael
Certification Gold
George Michael/Elton John singles chronology
"Cowboys and Angels"
(1991)


"Easier to Walk Away"
(1990)
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
(1991)

"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
(1991)
"Too Funky"
(1992)



"The One"
(1992)
Twenty Five - (George Michael) track listing
"Heal the Pain"
(7)
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
(8)
"Jesus to a Child"
(9)

"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" is the first single from British musician Elton John's 1974 album Caribou; it was released that year during the latter half of May in the United Kingdom, and on June 10 in the United States.

Contents

Lyrics and music

In the song, Elton sings to someone he has helped and from whom he is now experiencing rejection:

I took a chance and changed your way of life
but you misread my meaning when I met you
closed the door and left me blinded by the light
don't let the sun go down on me
although I search myself, it's always someone else I see.

It was written with the other songs on the album during a ten day period in January 1974.

The chorus of the song is supported with a horn arrangement by Del Newman, and features backing vocals of the Beach Boys' Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston, and Toni Tennille. Also on the song are percussion accents provided by Ray Cooper and a mellotron played by Dave Hentschel.

1991 version

As successful as the 1974 record had been, it was as a duet with George Michael that "Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me" had its greatest success. The pair had performed the song at the Live Aid concert in 1985. Recorded live at a concert at Wembley Arena, London on March 25, 1991 when Elton John was a surprise guest of George Michael, the duet became a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic. It was released later that year and reached number one on the UK singles chart for two weeks in December 1991 and a single week on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1992.

The footage used for the music video of the song was taken from a "live" concert in Chicago with 70,000 fans. "The video was actually shot over several days," confirms Michael Pagnotta, George's publicist. "It was shot in an airline hangar in Burbank where George had been rehearsing; Elton came in for a night and they ran through the song a couple of times. Then the song was filmed in its entirety live in Chicago in the middle of October as part of that Cover to Cover tour, and when Elton came out from the wings, that place went crazy." It appears on John's Love Songs compilation. The proceeds from the single were divided among 10 different charities for children, AIDS and education.

Both John and Michael would perform at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert a year after the single's release.

Chart performances

"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" charted on June 1, 1974 in Great Britain, making it to number 16. In the United States, it was released while "Bennie and the Jets" was still in the Top 40, and reached the Top 10 after four weeks. On August 10, the song's two week stay at number 2 ended. It could not oust John Denver's "Annie's Song," Roberta Flack's "Feel Like Makin' Love" nor Paper Lace's "The Night Chicago Died" from the top spot. But a number 2 pinnacle guaranteed it further airplay. By September it would become Elton's fourth gold single.

Cover versions

"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" has been a popular song for other artists to perform or record as well. Jay Chattaway arranged this song into a jazz version, which Maynard Ferguson first performed in the 1970s show "The Mark of Jazz" with host Sid Mark.[1] This live version stems from around 1975; it was never recorded onto an album.

Joe Cocker recorded his version of the song on "The Best of Joe Cocker".

Roger Daltrey (who would also appear at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert) sang it for the 1987 soundtrack The Lost Boys.

African-American Gospel group The Winans released a version of the song on their album Decisions in 1987 [2]

Gloria Estefan recorded it in 1989.

Jazz singer Oleta Adams recorded it on the 1991 tribute album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin. Late 1990s punk cover specialty act Me First and the Gimme Gimmes also took it on. In December 2002 David Sneddon won the BBC's first Fame Academy show singing his version of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" and his own song "Stop Living The Lie". Sneddon also put his version of Elton's song on the B side, which was number one in the UK Singles Chart in January 2003.

In 2003, Vanessa Carlton performed the song during the Elton John Tribute Concert. Also in the 2000s, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" has become a frequent selection of reality television singing contestants. Most notably, Clay Aiken's performance of it in the semi-final wild-card round of the second season of American Idol propelled him into the finals and later a very successful recording career. "Don't Let" became one of Aiken's signature performances, and was reprised in the fifth season in a surprise appearance involving Michael Sandecki. David Archuleta's performance of it during the American Idol Season 7 Final received a lot of praise from all the Judges and even prompted Simon to proclaim it to be Archuleta's best performance on the show. Other such contestants who have performed it include American Idol's Justin Guarini, Jasmine Trias, Bo Bice, Jorge Nuñez, Canadian Idol's Tyler Hamilton, Australian Idol's Nathan Brake, New Zealand Idol's Clinton Randell, and The X Factor's Journey South and Joe McElderry, who received a standing ovation from all the judges, which was the first time in the series. Lately, it has become popular on Spanish show "Operación Triunfo", sung by Moritz. Forest Whitaker sang "Don't Let" in a comedy skit when he hosted the television show Saturday Night Live on February 10, 2007.

The song is covered by the company Wavegroup for the music video game Karaoke Revolution Presents:American Idol.

Track listings

  • May 1974 US/UK 7" vinyl single
  1. "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
  2. "Sick City"
  • February 1991 UK 7" vinyl single
  1. "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
  2. "Song for Guy"
  • February 1991 UK audio cassette single
  1. "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
  2. "Song for Guy"
  • February 1991 UK 12" vinyl single
  1. "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
  2. "Song for Guy"
  3. "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word"
  • February 1991 UK compact disc single
  1. "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
  2. "Song for Guy"
  3. "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word"
  • November 1991 US/UK 7" vinyl single
  1. (John & George Michael) "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
  2. (Michael) "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)"
  • November 1991 US/UK audio cassette single
  1. (John & George Michael) "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
  2. (Michael) "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)"
  • November 1991 US/UK 12 vinyl single
  1. (John & George Michael) "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
  2. (Michael) "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)"
  3. (Michael) "Last Christmas"
  • November 1991 US/UK compact disc single
  1. (John & George Michael) "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
  2. (Michael) "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)"
  3. (Michael) "If You Were My Woman"
  4. (Michael) "Fantasy"
  • November 1991 US/UK compact disc single
  1. (John & George Michael) "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"
  2. (Michael) "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)"
  3. (Michael) "Freedom (Back to Reality Mix)"
  4. (Michael) "If You Were My Woman"

Certifications

Country Certification Date Sales certified
France[3] Silver 1992 125,000
U.S.[4] Gold September 6, 1974 500,000
U.S.[4] Gold January 22, 1992 500,000

Charts

1974 version
Chart (1974) Peak
position
Dutch Mega Top 100[5] 30
Irish Singles Chart[6] 17
UK Singles Chart[7] 16
U.S. Billboard Pop Singles[8] 2
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary Tracks[8] 3
1991 duet version
Chart (1991/92) Peak
position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[9] 3
Austrian Singles Chart[9] 2
Dutch Mega Top 100[9] 1
French SNEP Singles Chart[9] 1
German Singles Chart[9] 4
Irish IRMA Singles Chart[6] 2
Italian Singles Chart 1
Norwegian Singles Chart[9] 1
Swedish Singles Chart[9] 2
Swiss Singles Chart[9] 1
UK Singles Chart[10] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary Tracks 1
U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40 1

1 Duet version

References

  1. ^ "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", Maynard Ferguson [1] (Retrieved March 2, 2009)
  2. ^ "The Winans - Decisions at DisCogs [2]
  3. ^ French certifications Chartsinfrance.net (Retrieved January 15, 2009)
  4. ^ a b U.S. certifications riaa.com (Retrieved January 15, 2009)
  5. ^ "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", Dutch Mega Top 100 Dutchcharts.nl (Retrieved January 15, 2009)
  6. ^ a b Irish Singles Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved January 15, 2009)
  7. ^ "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved January 15, 2009)
  8. ^ a b Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved January 15, 2009)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (duet version), in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved January 15, 2009)
  10. ^ "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (duet version), UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved January 15, 2009)
Preceded by
"Black Or White" by Michael Jackson
UK number one single
December 7, 1991 - December 14, 1991 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are the Days of Our Lives" by Queen
Norwegian VG-lista number one single
52/1991 - 5/1992 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"You" by Ten Sharp
Preceded by
"I Love Your Smile" by Shanice
Dutch Top 40 number one single
January 11, 1992 - February 29, 1992 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"I Can't Dance" by Genesis
Preceded by
"Let's Talk About Sex" by Salt-n-Pepa
Swiss number one single
January 26, 1992 - March 1, 1992 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Das Boot" by U96
Preceded by
"All 4 Love" by Color Me Badd
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
February 1, 1992 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred
Preceded by
"Qui a le droit... (live)" by Patrick Bruel
French SNEP number one single
February 22, 1992 - April 4, 1992 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"You" by Ten Sharp
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