Friday, April 19, 2024

Elton John and Kiki Dee top the charts in August 1976 with their Motown tribute “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”

Despite an already very successful career, it wasn’t up until 1976 that Elton got his first UK No. 1, but in the U.S was his sixth, peaking to the top of the Hot 100 on August 7 of that year

Elton John and Kiki Dee top the charts in August 1976 with their Motown tribute “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”

It may seem strange for some, but Elton John’s only scored his first No.1 in his native U.K in 1976, after years scoring several hits. The song that gave Elton John his first U.K No.1, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, a duet with British “blue eyed soul” singer Kiki Dee, was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin as most of his songs, but under the pseudonym “Ann Orson” and “Carte Blanche.” First released in England on June 21, 1976, and backed with “Snow Queen”, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” was composed as a tribute to Motown duets intended to act as an affectionate pastiche of the various duets recorded by Marvin Gaye and singers such as Tammi Terrell. The singer that was first chosen to share the mic with Elton was Dustin Springfield, who due to health reasons couldn’t do it and Kiki Dee, who sung backing vocals for Dusty during the 1960’s was chosen instead. Curiously, the singer was the first British woman to sign with Motown’s Tamla Records. The song was Kiki Dee’s biggest hit, and in the U.S, it became Elton’s sixth No.1, peaking to the top of Hot 100 on August 7, 1976 where it stayed for four weeks. The song remains one of Elton John’s most famous ones, he performed it with Kiki live in 1985 at the Wembley Stadium’s Live Aid event. In 1994 Elton John released a new, updated dance version of the song this time in duet with RuPaul, it became again a hit, being released in his album “Duets”, which also included another duet with Kiki Dee, this time Cole Porter’s “True Love”. One of the most memorable Elton John’s performances of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” was performed at The Muppet Show in 1977, together with Miss Piggy. Despite the success he always enjoyed throughout his career and a well succeeded 1980’s decade, oddly enough Elton only got back to the top of the British charts in 1990 with “Sacrifice”.

Look back at the 1976 music video “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee

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