Blue Moves

Blue Moves is the eleventh studio album by English singer-songwriter Elton John. It was released in October 1976. It was John's second double album (after Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) and the first to be released by his own label, Rocket Records Ltd. The album reached number 3 in the US charts, ending a long streak of chart-topping albums for John that began with Honky Château in 1972.

Blue Moves
Elton John - Blue Moves.jpg
Studio album by
Released22 October 1976
RecordedMarch 1976
StudioEastern Sound, Toronto; Abbey Road, London; Sunset Sound, Los Angeles; Brother, Santa Monica; remixed at Marquee, London[1]
GenreRock, pop rock, soft rock, progressive rock
LabelMCA / Rocket (US)
Rocket (UK)
ProducerGus Dudgeon
Elton John chronology
Here and There
Blue Moves
Greatest Hits Volume II
Singles from Blue Moves
  1. "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"
    Released: 1 November 1976
  2. "Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!)"
    Released: 31 January 1977
  3. "Crazy Water"
    Released: 4 February 1977 (UK)


Having completed what he described as a "gruelling American tour",[2] John only gave a handful of performances at the time of release, and later announced (during a charity concert at Wembley Arena the following year), "I haven't been touring for a long time. It's been a painful decision, whether to come back on the road or not... I've made a decision tonight – this is going to be the last show... There's a lot more to me than playing on the road."[3] He accordingly left the touring/live performing scene for a brief period. Kenny Passarelli, Caleb Quaye, James Newton Howard and Roger Pope played their last shows together as part of the Elton John Band during John's seven-night engagement at Madison Square Garden at the conclusion of the Louder Than Concorde Tour, and formally were let go from the band after the album's release. The shows were the last time Pope, Passarelli, Quaye and John played together. Howard would briefly rejoin John's touring band in 1980, and work with him on the 1986 Tour De Force (tour) shows in Australia and New Zealand. Only Davey Johnstone and Ray Cooper returned for roles on John's next album, A Single Man and beyond.

John has stated that Blue Moves is one of his favourites of the albums he has recorded.[4] It was the last album Gus Dudgeon produced with John for almost a decade. The cover art is from a painting by British artist Patrick Procktor, called "The Guardian Readers". In the U.S., it was certified gold in October and platinum in December 1976 by the RIAA.

"Cage the Songbird" was a tribute to legendary French songstress Edith Piaf, and a year or so later was covered by Kiki Dee on an unreleased Rocket album, which finally was issued in 2008. ("Songbird" originated as part of the Rock of the Westies sessions, but was not completed during them, probably because the song's acoustic, delicate sound did not fit with the more rock 'n' roll approach of the rest of the songs that made the Westies final track list.) The Beach Boys turned down "Chameleon" (which was written two years prior to the album's release), but Bruce Johnston, a former Beach Boy, performed backing vocals on John's version along with Toni Tennille. John also performed the song at Wembley Stadium in 1975, where he also performed the Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy album in its entirety. An excerpt from "Out of the Blue" was used for the closing titles on Top Gear until the end of that Top Gear format (in 2001). This was one of two albums in which Davey Johnstone does not provide backing vocals; 1997's The Big Picture would be the other.

Basic tracks for Blue Moves were recorded at Eastern Sound in Toronto, Ontario. Additional overdubs were done at EMI Studios, Abbey Road in London, Brother Studio in Santa Monica, California and Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, California. The album was mixed at Marquee Studios in London.

John has played several songs from Blue Moves live: "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word", "Bite Your Lip", "One Horse Town", "Tonight", "Idol" and "Crazy Water" have been played during various concert appearances through the years.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [5]
Christgau's Record GuideC[6]
Rolling Stone(not rated)[7]
Sputnik Music     [8]

Blue Moves has received mixed reviews since its release. A contemporary review for Rolling Stone said the album "contains nowhere near enough good songs to justify the extended length" and that the interludes and instrumentals were done "to the exclusion of sense."[7] Village Voice critic Robert Christgau described it as "impossibly weepy" and "excessive".[6] Lindsay Planer of Allmusic later said the album showed the "inevitable fatigue" of John's "immense creativity" that had helped create the previous albums of his career.[5]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, except where noted.

Side one
1."Your Starter For..."Caleb Quaye1:23
2."Tonight" 7:52
3."One Horse Town"John, James Newton Howard, Taupin5:56
4."Chameleon" 5:27
Side two
5."Boogie Pilgrim"John, Davey Johnstone, Quaye, Taupin6:05
6."Cage the Songbird"John, Johnstone, Taupin3:52
7."Crazy Water" 5:42
8."Shoulder Holster" 5:10
Side three
9."Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" 3:48
10."Out of the Blue" 6:14
11."Between Seventeen and Twenty" 5:17
12."The Wide Eyed and Laughing"John, Johnstone, Howard, Quaye, Taupin3:27
13."Someone's Final Song" 4:10
Side four
14."Where's the Shoorah?" 4:09
15."If There's a God in Heaven (What's He Waiting For?)"John, Johnstone, Taupin4:25
16."Idol" 4:08
17."Theme From a Non-Existent TV Series" 1:19
18."Bite Your Lip (Get Up and Dance!)" 6:43
Total length:84:40


  • Initial CD versions of the album maintain the same running order, but omit the following tracks: Shoulder Holster, The Wide Eyed and Laughing, Out of the Blue, and Where's the Shoorah?. It has since been remastered and re-released as a 2-CD set retaining the original LP track listing.


Track numbering refers to the 2-CD and digital releases of the album.


  • Producer, Liner NotesGus Dudgeon
  • Engineers – Arun Chakraverty, Gus Dudgeon, Mark Howlett, John Kurlander, Earle Mankey and John Stewart.
  • Mixing – Phil Dunne
  • Remixing – Gus Dudgeon and Phil Dunne
  • Cutting Engineer – Arun Chakraverty
  • Art Direction and Coordination – David Costa
  • Photography – David Nutter
  • Painting – Patrick Procktor
  • Management – John Reid



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[29] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[30] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[32] Gold 157,000[31]
United Kingdom (BPI)[33] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[34] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Blue Moves". albumlinernotes. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  2. ^ Video on YouTube
  3. ^ Video on YouTube
  4. ^ Elton John: Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, 1987.
  5. ^ a b Planer, Lindsay. "Blue Moves – Elton John". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  6. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: J". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 27 February 2019 – via
  7. ^ a b "Blue Moves Album Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Elton John - Blue Moves (album review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  10. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Archived 15 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 29 February 2012
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  12. ^ " Elton John – Blue Moves" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  13. ^ source: Pennanen, Timo: Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972. Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava, 2006. ISBN 9789511210535. page: 280
  14. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Elton John" (in French). Archived from the original (PHP) on 10 September 2013. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1977" (in Italian). Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  16. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  17. ^ " Elton John – Blue Moves" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  18. ^ " Elton John – Blue Moves" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  19. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  20. ^ " Elton John – Blue Moves" (ASP). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  21. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Elton John – Blue Moves" (PHP). Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  22. ^ "allmusic ((( Blue Moves > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  23. ^ "Album Search: Elton John – Blue Moves" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  24. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1976". RPM. Archived from the original on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  25. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1977". Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  26. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1976 par InfoDisc" (in French). Archived from the original (PHP) on 21 May 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  27. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1977". RPM. 31 December 1977. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  28. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1977". Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  29. ^ "Blue Moves to Platinum" (PDF). Cash Box. Vol. 38 no. 29. 4 December 1976. p. 50. Retrieved 15 August 2020 – via World Radio History.
  30. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Elton John – Blue Moves". Music Canada.
  31. ^ "Les Albums Or". SNEP. Archived from the original on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  32. ^ "French album certifications – Elton John – Blue Moves" (in French). InfoDisc. Select ELTON JOHN and click OK. 
  33. ^ "British album certifications – Elton John – Blue Moves". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Blue Moves in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  34. ^ "American album certifications – Elton John – Blue Moves". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.