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"Part-Time Love"
Single by Elton John
from the album A Single Man
B-side "I Cry at Night"
Released October 4, 1978 (UK)
November 11, 1978 (U.S.)
Genre Pop, Rock, Disco
Length 3:16
Label MCA (US/Canada)
Rocket Records
Writer(s) Elton John, Gary Osborne
Elton John singles chronology
"Ego"
(1978)
"Part-Time Love"
(1978)
"Song for Guy"
(1978)
A Single Man track listing
"It Ain't Gonna Be Easy"
(5)
"Part-Time Love"
(6)
"Georgia"
(7)

"Part-Time Love" is a song written by Elton John with lyrics by Gary Osborne. It is the sixth track off his 1978 album, A Single Man. It is also the opening track of side two. It proved to be one of the most popular singles the couple wrote, along with 1982's "Blue Eyes". It was banned in the Soviet release of the album along with another song, "Big Dipper". The single reached #15 in the UK and peaked just outside the Top 20 in the U.S. at #21.

Musical structure

The song opens with a jaunty piano, and then goes into the main riff, an uptempo disco-flavered party song. The lead guitar played here is by John's long-time bandmate Davey Johnstone. The song features strings in such a way that it could easily be referred to as a disco anthem. Ray Cooper also appears on percussion that flows together with the drums and bass. The bridge in the song is very messy, fitting in with the lyric.

Lyrical meaning

It was banned by various radio stations and omitted from the Soviet Release of the album. It is obvious that the lyrics deal with adultery; the second verse goes:

"You've been seen running around, there's not much I don't hear of, and still you try telling me all the things I must stay clear of. Don't tell me what to do when you've been doing it too, because you, me and everybody's got a part-time love"

Due to the disco craze at the time, the song wasn't popular, and John only played it in his live sets of 1978 and 1979. It did however appear on his compilation The Very Best of Elton John in 1990. Interestingly, while the A-side was written by Gary Osborne, the B-side, "I Cry at Night" was written by Bernie Taupin. It is one of the few singles John released with different lyricists on each side.

Personnel

  • Elton John - piano, vocals
  • Tim Renwick - guitars
  • Clive Franks - bass
  • Steve Holly - drums
  • Ray Cooper - percussion
  • Vicki Brown - backing vocals
  • Joanne Stone - backing vocals
  • Stevie Lange - backing vocals
  • Gary Osborne - backing vocals
  • Chris Thompson - backing vocals
  • Davey Johnstone - backing vocals, lead guitar
  • Paul Buckmaster - orchestral arrangement
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