Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Nikita" by Elton John

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2587
Date:  01/18/1986
Debut:  71
Peak:  7
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  John's nineteenth studio album Ice on Fire, started off on a bit of a weak note with its first single, the George Michael-assisted "Wrap Her Up," halting at the #20 spot. For a follow-up this ballad track was selected to be the next single. George Michael would once again make an appearance on backing vocals along with Nik Kershaw. The song slowly gained traction and did well enough to reach the Pop Top 10. It would also be a significant hit at AC getting to #3. Although the album would only peak at a minor #48 (his worst showing to this point for a studio album), this hit breathed enough life into sales of the LP to make it go gold.

ReduxReview:  John's Ice on Fire album ranks among his worst efforts, yet this song provided at least one good moment. Even though "Wrap Her Up" got to #20, it was basically a dud and could have easily sank the album. Luckily, this track was strong enough to overcome the bad start. It really should have been the LP's first single, but I'm assuming the label wanted an uptempo track to start things off and figured the George Michael connection would help sell it. In John's overall singles catalog, this one isn't necessarily a stand out, but it was a pretty good track that did its job in keeping John relevant in the 80s.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This Cold War tale written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin is about a Western man falling for a female East German border guard. The plot of the lyrics sounded awfully familiar to another songwriter named Guy Hobbs. Hobbs had written a song called "Natasha" in 1982 that was based on an experience he had while working as a photographer on a cruise ship. Hobbs ended up having a brief affair with another worker on the ship who was from Russian. Hobbs sent a demo of the song Elton John's publishers in hopes of maybe getting a deal, yet nothing came of it. Later on around 2001, Hobbs happened to read the lyrics to "Nikita" and since that song was written not long after he submitted his song, he figured they used his song as the basis for "Nikita" and decided to sue John and Taupin for plagiarism. In the end, John and Taupin won the lawsuit as the judge found that the ideas and similarities that Hobbs had pointed out between the songs did not fall under the rules for copyright protection.


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