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Too Low for Zero
Studio album by Elton John
Released June 1983
Recorded September 1982
Genre Pop, Rock
Length 44:06
Label Geffen (U.S.)
Rocket (UK)
Producer Chris Thomas
Professional reviews
Elton John chronology
Jump Up!
Too Low For Zero
Breaking Hearts

Too Low for Zero is the seventeenth studio album by British singer/songwriter Elton John, released in 1983. For the first time since Blue Moves in 1976, all lyrics were written by Bernie Taupin, who has continued in this role to the present day. At the insistence of Taupin, Elton decided to go back to basics and returned to working with Taupin full time. Elton also reunited with the core of his backing band of the early 70s: Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson and Davey Johnstone as well as Ray Cooper, Kiki Dee and Skaila Kanga (who played harp on Elton John's Self-titled album). The album was produced by Chris Thomas and recorded at Air Studios in Montserrat (the same studio for Jump Up!) and Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood. The original LP issue of the album featured a die-cut cover with a special inner sleeve. The four shapes shown on the cover were cut out, with the colours (shown as ink smears on the inner sleeve) showing through the holes. No CD release to date has duplicated these die-cuts. For the first time since Empty Sky, Elton plays all the keyboards on this album and he would do the same on Breaking Hearts.

All b-sides released on US singles from this time originate from the 1980 21 at 33 sessions. They were also previously released on European singles.


Track listing

All songs by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, except where noted

Side one

  1. "Cold as Christmas (In the Middle of the Year)" – 4:19
  2. "I'm Still Standing" – 3:02
  3. "Too Low for Zero" – 5:46
  4. "Religion" – 4:05
  5. "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" (Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Davey Johnstone) – 4:41

Side two

  1. "Crystal" – 5:05
  2. "Kiss the Bride" – 4:22
  3. "Whipping Boy" – 3:43
  4. "Saint" – 5:17
  5. "One More Arrow" – 3:34

Bonus tracks (1998 Geffen reissue)

  1. "Earn While You Learn" (Lord Choc Ice (Elton John)) – 6:46
    • B-side of "I'm Still Standing" recorded in 1978 and redrawn as a 12" picture disc-single.
  2. "Dreamboat" – 7:34
    • B-side also recorded in 1978. Lyrics by Gary Osborne though not credited.
  3. "The Retreat" – 4:46
    • UK b-side from 1982 recorded during the sessions for The Fox
Song Format
"Choc Ice Goes Mental" I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues 7" (UK) / Kiss the Bride 7" (US)
"The Retreat" I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues 7" (US)
"Love So Cold" I'm Still Standing 7" (US)
"Earn While You Learn" I'm Still Standing 7" / 12" (UK)
"Dreamboat" Kiss the Bride 7" (edited version) / 12" (full version) (UK)
"I'm Still Standing" (extended version) I'm Still Standing 12" (UK)
"Je Veux De La Tendresse" (French version of "Nobody Wins") Cold as Christmas 12" (UK)


  • Elton John - keyboards, lead vocals
  • Davey Johnstone - guitars, vocals
  • Dee Murray - bass, vocals
  • Nigel Olsson - drums, vocals
  • Ray Cooper - percussion on "Cold as Christmas (In the Middle of the Year)", "Earn While You Learn" and "Dreamboat"
  • Skaila Kanga - harp on "Cold as Christmas (In the Middle of the Year)"
  • Kiki Dee - vocals on "Cold as Christmas (In the Middle of the Year)"
  • Stevie Wonder - harmonica on "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues"
  • James Newton-Howard - string arrangements on "One More Arrow"
  • Tim Renwick - guitars on "Earn While You Learn" and "Dreamboat"
  • Steve Holly - drums
  • Clive Franks - bass
  • Steve Lukather - guitar on "The Retreat"
  • Reggie McBride - bass on "The Retreat"
  • Alvin Taylor - drums on "The Retreat"
  • David Paich - organ on "The Retreat"


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