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"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" is a song written by English singer Elton John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin. It was originally recorded in 1974 by Elton John for his studio album Caribou and was released as a single that peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and reached number 16 on the UK Singles Chart. The song found further success in 1991 in a live cover version recorded as a duet between John and George Michael, which reached number one in the UK and US.

"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me by Elton John UK vinyl Side-A.png
One of side-A labels of the original UK vinyl single
Single by Elton John
from the album Caribou
B-side"Sick City"
Released20 May 1974
Format
RecordedCaribou Ranch, January 1974
Length5:35
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)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)

Contents

Elton John versionEdit

 
Elton John in 1974

BackgroundEdit

"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" was co-written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin during a ten-day period in January 1974 along with the other songs for John's Caribou album. The song was released as the first single from the album in May 1974 in the United Kingdom, and on 10 June 1974 in the United States.

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

Lyrics and musicEdit

In the song, Elton John 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.
I'd just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
but losing everything is like the sun going down on me.

ReceptionEdit

"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" charted on 1 June 1974 in the UK, reaching number 16 on the UK Singles Chart. The song reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after four weeks, peaking at number two for two weeks from 27 July behind John Denver's "Annie's Song". In the US, the single was certified Gold on 6 September 1974 by the RIAA. In Canada, it reached number one, becoming his fifth chart topper in that country.[1]

Track listingsEdit

  • May 1974 US and UK 7" vinyl single
  1. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
  2. "Sick City"
  • February 1991 UK 7" vinyl single and cassette
  1. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
  2. "Song for Guy"
  • February 1991 UK 12" vinyl and CD single
  1. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
  2. "Song for Guy"
  3. "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"

PersonnelEdit

AccoladesEdit

Grammy AwardsEdit

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1975 "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" Record of the Year Nominated
Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male[3] Nominated

Chart performance and certificationsEdit

1986–87 live versionEdit

Elton John recorded a live version on 14 December 1986 that appears on the Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra album. An edited version of this recording was released as a single in 1987 and also appears in the To Be Continued... box set.

George Michael and Elton John versionEdit

"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
 
Single by George Michael and Elton John
B-side"I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)" (live)
Released25 November 1991
Format
RecordedWembley Arena, London, 23 March 1991
Length5:47
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)George Michael
George Michael singles chronology
"Cowboys and Angels"
(1991)
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
(1991)
"Too Funky"
(1992)
Elton John singles chronology
"Easier to Walk Away"
(1990)
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me"
(1991)
"The One"
(1992)

BackgroundEdit

In 1991, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" was covered in a live version as a duet by George Michael and Elton John. This version of the song had its greatest success. The pair first performed the song at the Live Aid concert in 1985 (with Michael singing and John playing). Six years later, George Michael's Cover to Cover tour regularly included the song, and for the final show at Wembley Arena, London on 23 March 1991, Michael brought out John as a surprise guest to sing it with him.

ReceptionEdit

The live recording of this song, released as a single later that year, became a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic. It reached number one on the UK Singles Chart for two weeks in December 1991 and for one week on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1992. The duet also spent two weeks at number one on the Adult Contemporary chart.[14]

This version of the song was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

It appears on John's Love Songs and Greatest Hits 1970–2002 compilations, as well as his 1993 Duets album. The proceeds from the single were divided among 10 different charities for children, AIDS and education.

Music videoEdit

The footage used for the single's music video (directed by Andy Morahan)[15] 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, California 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."[citation needed]

Track listingsEdit

  • US and UK 7" vinyl and cassette single
  1. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (duet with Elton John, live at Wembley Arena 23 Mar '91)
  2. "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" (live '91 - edit)
  • US and UK 12" vinyl single
  1. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (duet with Elton John, live at Wembley Arena 23 Mar '91)
  2. "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" (live '91)
  3. "Last Christmas" (performed by Wham!)
  • UK and Europe compact disc single (Epic 657656)[16]
  1. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (duet with Elton John, live at Wembley Arena 23 Mar '91)
  2. "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" (live '91)
  3. "If You Were My Woman" (live at Wembley Stadium, 11 Jun '88)
  4. "Fantasy"
  • US compact disc single (Columbia 44K-74240)[17]
  1. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (duet with Elton John, live at Wembley Arena 23 Mar '91)
  2. "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" (live '91)
  3. "Freedom" (Back to Reality Mix)
  4. "If You Were My Woman" (live at Wembley Stadium, 11 Jun '88)

All b-sides and additional tracks were performed solo by George Michael, except Last Christmas which is performed by Michael's duo Wham!
The live version of "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" had previously been issued as the lead track on a free promotional cassette given away at Michael's Wembley Arena gigs in March 1991. Therefore, it is likely to have been recorded at a venue earlier in the tour.

Charts and certificationsEdit

Other versionsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 18 March 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ "Planet Mellotron Album Reviews: Elton John".
  3. ^ "Grammy Awards: Best Pop Vocal Performance - Male". rockonthenet.com. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Elton John Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 17 August 1974. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  7. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  8. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  9. ^ "Elton John Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  10. ^ "Elton John Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  11. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly".
  12. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1974/Top 100 Songs of 1974".
  13. ^ "American single certifications – Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 169.
  15. ^ Garcia, Alex S. "mvdbase.com - George Michael - "Don't let the Sun go down on me"". Music Video DataBase. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  16. ^ "George Michael / Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me". Discogs.
  17. ^ https://www.discogs.com/George-Michael-Elton-John-Dont-Let-The-Sun-Go-Down-On-Me/release/1775434
  18. ^ "Australian-charts.com – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  19. ^ "Austriancharts.at – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  21. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2054." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2061." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Lescharts.com – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  24. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  25. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  26. ^ a b "I singoli più venduti del 1992". Hit Parade Italia (in Italian). Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  27. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 2, 1992" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  29. ^ "Charts.nz – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  30. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". VG-lista. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  31. ^ "Notowanie nr518" (in Polish). LP3. 24 January 1992. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  32. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  33. ^ "Swisscharts.com – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  34. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  35. ^ "George Michael Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  36. ^ "George Michael Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  37. ^ "1991 Top 100 Singles". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications: 20. 11 January 1992.
  38. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  39. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1992" (in German). Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  40. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1992" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  41. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1992" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 56 no. 25. 19 December 1992. p. 8. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  42. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Adult Contemporary tracks of 1992". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  43. ^ "Top 100 Singles - Jahrescharts 1992" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  44. ^ "Jaaroverzichten - Single 1992" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  45. ^ "End of Year Charts 1992". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  46. ^ "1992 Swiss Singles Chart" (in German). Swisscharts. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  47. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1992". Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  48. ^ "French single certifications – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  49. ^ "British single certifications – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  50. ^ "American single certifications – George Michael and Elton John – Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit